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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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March 31, 2009

Table of Contents

PBS KIDS GO! Adds In-Video Gaming on Its Educational Broadband Service
Rosetta Stone Classroom Language Learning Platform Expands to Levels 4 and 5
H.W. Wilson Expands Customization Options in "My WilsonWeb"
Free Database Trial: American History in Video
PLATO Learning Offers Rosetta Stone Version 3 to Customers
Web Wise Kids, WILL Interactive, Verizon, ESA Foundation Create Online Internet Safety Education Game
Free Resources: A NOAA Online Game that Encourages Students to Learn About Estuaries
Scientific Learning Announces Reading Assistant Expanded Edition
Knowledge Adventure Launches JumpStart.com Virtual World, Announces Adventure Land

PBS KIDS GO! Adds In-Video Gaming on Its Educational Broadband Service

PBS KIDS GO! has announced the expansion of its video player capabilities to include new in-video gaming on pbskidsgo.org. Embedded in PBS KIDS GO!'s curriculum-based series, the new games are designed to foster greater learning comprehension and enhance the digital experience for early elementary school children. Currently, the PBS KIDS GO! video player offers hundreds of video clips and dozens of full-length episodes.

 

The first series adding the game overlay to online videos include ARTHUR, FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN, CYBERCHASE and WORDGIRL. THE ELECTRIC COMPANY and other series will feature this new gaming option in the coming months.

 

With full screen, closed captioning, Spanish audio, and sharing and voting features, the PBS KIDS GO! video player showcases full episodes, sneak previews and clip highlights from PBS KIDS GO! broadcast properties primarily serving children ages 6 to 8. With fresh content added weekly, properties include ANIMALIA, ARTHUR, CYBERCHASE, DESIGN SQUAD, DRAGONFLYTV, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN, MARTHA SPEAKS, MAYA & MIGUEL, POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER, WISHBONE, WORDGIRL and ZOOM. Additionally, kids can browse by themes, such as "robots" and "Earth Day," and enjoy Web-exclusive content from pbskidsgo.org series including THE GREENS, KRATTS' CREATURES and KIDS WORLD SPORTS.

 

Available on both Macs and PCs, the PBS KIDS GO! video player is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and is available at www.pbskids.org/go/video. The video player is also available via websites of participating local PBS member stations.

Source: PBS, www.pbs.org

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Rosetta Stone Classroom Language Learning Platform Expands to Levels 4 and 5

Rosetta Stone Ltd. has announced that the company will enhance its Rosetta Stone Classroom language learning platform with the addition of Levels 4 and 5. These new levels, initially available in Spanish and English for K-12 and higher education, will include extended, more complex conversations and grammar, expanded vocabulary, and additional opportunities for speaking that prepare the learner for everyday interactions in their language of study. Rosetta Stone Classroom Levels 4 and 5 will deepen students’ understanding and command of the language as they strengthen the skills acquired in Levels 1–3.

 

Rosetta Stone Classroom Levels 4 and 5 will allow students of any age to seamlessly pick up their instruction from the Level 3 without a gap in their language-learning process, so they can continue to build upon their success. Additionally, Levels 4 and 5 integrate seamlessly with the proprietary management tool, Rosetta Stone Manager, so school administrators can measure and track students’ progress and results.

 

Rosetta Stone Classroom Version 3 is a learning tool that blends seamlessly into a teacher’s overall language learning curriculum. Features such as speech analysis tools, grammar and spelling components, and predefined course templates complement classroom teaching expertise. Rosetta Stone Manager is a built-in management tool that delivers real-time reporting capabilities, details on student progress, and user-friendly administrative functionalities. The software offers flexible license solutions that are tailored to meet a school’s specific needs, technology environments and requirements. Rosetta Stone Classroom is available in more than 30 languages.

Source: Rosetta Stone Ltd., www.rosettastone.com

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H.W. Wilson Expands Customization Options in "My WilsonWeb"

The H.W. Wilson Company has announced an expansion of "My WilsonWeb" customization options for individual WilsonWeb users. Searchers can now do more to create a personalized search environment, saving such settings as:

* The number of records per page of search results (10, 20, or 50).

* The language of main interface buttons and headings: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese.

* The interface color scheme: blue, red, green or orange.

* Results display format--"brief display" or "full display" (a more detailed list of records).

* Results sort order--by relevance (the default), or date, author, journal name, publication year, and more.

 

They can also save single records from search results into their private "My WilsonWeb" accounts--selecting useful articles, citations, or images for later access. A "Save to My WilsonWeb" link has been added to each record on all WilsonWeb databases, for one-click transmission to the custom account.

 

Users create their "My WilsonWeb" accounts from a link at the top of the WilsonWeb display. Custom settings take effect when they log into their accounts. Otherwise, their library's settings apply.

 

These new options build on earlier "My WilsonWeb" innovations. "My WilsonWeb" also allows users to save searches and configure email alerts and RSS feeds, to stay informed of new results as relevant records are added to the WilsonWeb databases.

 

More than 60 reference databases are available on the WilsonWeb service. Other WilsonWeb enhancements include ReadSpeaker--a "text to speech" converter for full-text articles--and electronic translation of articles into 10 major languages. For more on new WilsonWeb features, visit www.hwwilson.com.

Source: H.W. Wilson Company, www.hwwilson.com

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Free Database Trial: American History in Video

Gary Price's ResourceShelf, in a March 19, 2009 posting, tipped us off to a free trial, running through April 30, of Alexander Street Press's new database American History in Video. It is very much worth a look and a try. From the American History in Video website:

American History in Video provides the largest and richest online collection of video available for the study of American history—2,000 hours and more than 5,000 titles on completion. The collection's wealth of video and multiplicity of perspectives allow students and scholars to see, experience, and study American history in ways never before possible. A Critical Video Edition, American History in Video's suite of tools—searches and browses powered by Semantic Indexing and searchable transcripts synchronized to video—give the ability to drill down in seconds to find the footage of interest from thousands of hours of video. This collection is an exclusive collaboration with A&E Television Networks and features some of their most important documentaries and series from The History Channel, A&E Network, and Biography. Historical coverage ranges from the lost colony of Roanoke through the 1988 Vicennes Affair in the Persian Gulf; biographical coverage ranges from eighteenth century figures such as Benedict Arnold and Daniel Boone to modern day figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Helen Thomas.

Start HERE at the Alexander Street Press website to check out the collection. Quick! Before April 30.

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PLATO Learning Offers Rosetta Stone Version 3 to Customers

PLATO Learning, Inc. , has announced it now offers Rosetta Stone Classroom Version 3, delivered via online subscription , and available for immediate order. Rosetta Stone Classroom incorporates seamlessly into a teacher's overall language learning curriculum. PLATO Learning has distributed Rosetta Stone products since 2001.

 

Rosetta Stone Classroom expands PLATO Learning's content offering by including foreign and English language courses in an online subscription format. The product is designed particularly for English language learners (ELLs), as well as for supplemental world language learning.

  

The Rosetta Stone English as a Second Language (ESL) and ELL solutions are immersion-based and can be integrated into bilingual, dual immersion, or limited English proficiency programs. Rosetta Stone focuses on ESL/ESOL learners' innate strengths, using its proprietary "Dynamic Immersion" system to move students through a carefully structured sequence of pictures, encouraging them to associate images they understand with words that they are learning.

 

For foreign language learning, Rosetta Stone Classroom Version 3 offers more than 20 different languages and can be used to complement classroom teaching or to allow students to work independently. Rosetta Stone Classroom advances students to the next level only when they achieve a level of proficiency defined by the teacher. Features such as speech analysis tools, grammar and spelling components, and predefined course templates complement classroom teaching expertise.

Source: PLATO Learning, Inc., www.plato.com

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Web Wise Kids, WILL Interactive, Verizon, ESA Foundation Create Online Internet Safety Education Game

Web Wise Kids, WILL Interactive, Verizon, and the ESA Foundation have collaborated to develop "It's Your Call," a game for schools, law enforcement and community organizations to educate teens about "sexting," cyberbullying, academic cheating, and related issues. The game was recently launched in the Los Angeles Unified School District at Sepulveda Middle School in North Hills, Calif.

"It's Your Call" is an interactive game that allows users to play out difficult situations in the safety of cyberspace before they live them out in real life. The game offers teens guidance about responsible cell phone behaviors and how to use the devices to enhance their personal safety. Players become a live action character in an interactive movie and are presented with a series of difficult decisions in a slice-of-life context. The teens must make tough decisions and view the consequences of their actions in the video. Regardless of the outcome in the game, users learn important lessons about cell phone safety.

"It's Your Call" will be available through the Web Wise Kids and WILL Interactive web sites. It also will be incorporated into Web Wide Kids training programs offered through local schools, law enforcement agencies and community organizations.

Web Wise Kids, a national non-profit organization, is a provider of computer-based, interactive simulation games based on real-life situations for educating young people and their parents on safe internet practices. "It's Your Call" was produced by WILL Interactive using its Virtual Experience Immersive learning Simulation (VEILS) technology. Development of the mobile phone safety game was funded by grants from Verizon and the ESA Foundation in addition to a financial contribution from WILL Interactive. The grants also will help fund distribution of the game to Web Wise Kids partners around the country.

Source: Web Wise Kids, www.webwisekids.org

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Free Resources: A NOAA Online Game that Encourages Students to Learn About Estuaries

NOAA's National Ocean Service has launched a new educational online game called "WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea." It was announced at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association in New Orleans. Developed through a partnership with Montgomery (Md.) College's Computer Gaming and Simulation program and designed in cooperation with NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System for students at the fourth through seventh grade level, the web-based game provides science instruction through a series of challenges and animations.

 

The game occurs inside the ecosystem of an estuary on the West Coast of the United States. Following a young girl named Valerie, players interact with Oscar the sea otter, and the fictional Claminator, a geoduck clam. To succeed, players must learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans. Students recycle and clean up trash, remove obstructions in waterways, replant the habitat to bring back food webs, and battle pollution monsters to restore Oscar's home. The game is available online at http://games.noaa.gov/oscar/.

 

"WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea" is being launched in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association conference in New Orleans. NOAA's National Ocean Service is an active partner with NSTA in the development of teacher training materials using NOAA content. Montgomery College is a public open admissions community college with three campuses, plus workforce development and continuing education centers and off site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md.

Source: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), www.noaa.gov/

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Scientific Learning Announces Reading Assistant Expanded Edition

Scientific Learning has announced Reading Assistant Expanded Edition , featuring new content, reporting tools, and additional support for comprehension and English Language Learners. Designed to help struggling, self-conscious readers become successful readers, the Reading Assistant reading intervention software combines speech recognition technology with scientifically-based interventions to help elementary and secondary students strengthen their reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

 

With 450 fluency passages, Reading Assistant Expanded Edition will offer almost double the content of Reading Assistant v4. In addition, Reading Assistant Expanded Edition will now be sold in four grade bands--K-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12--to provide schools and districts with added flexibility. Each grade band includes passages across a variety of genre and a range of readability levels to address diverse student needs.

 

The program will be able to place students automatically into the appropriate reading level based on their performance on Reading Progress Indicator, a summative, normed assessment that is part of the Progress Tracker online data analysis and reporting tool

 

Reading Assistant reports will be accessible through Progress Tracker, the same online data analysis and reporting tool used by the Fast ForWord family of products. The new At-A-Glance report in the Reading Assistant Expanded Edition will provide teachers and administrators with key information on student performance.

 

Reading Assistant Expanded Edition is planned for release to customers this Fall. Promotional pricing is expected to be available through the end of 2009.

Source: Scientific Learning Corp., www.scientificlearning.com

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Knowledge Adventure Launches JumpStart.com Virtual World, Announces Adventure Land

Knowledge Adventure has announced the launch of the JumpStart Virtual World . The game, played online on both Macs and PCs, offers a safe and secure online environment where kids can interact, explore, and learn, the announcement states.

 

In addition to the live release of the JumpStart Virtual World, Knowledge Adventure has announced Adventure Land , its next immersive 3D virtual world and newest addition to JumpStart.com. Adventure Land is specifically designed for kids ages 5-8 and uses JumpStart's technology to engage players in adventure-based learning games, including multi-player games.

 

In Adventure Land, kids are invited to explore a mysterious lost island off the coast of JumpStart. After mastering the speed, skills, and moves needed to survive the mission on Training Island, players are whisked off to Lost Island. As kids explore mystical caverns, discover forgotten ruins, and test their smarts on a trek to the peak of Mystic Mountain, they’ll have the opportunity to compete in multi-player games in real time. With pesky trouble-makers known as Punk-Punks attempting to thwart kids' progress, it takes critical thinking skills, logic, and speed to succeed.

 

For a monthly fee of $7.99, parents can register their entire family at JumpStart.com to become members of the fully interactive 3D virtual world.

 

For more information on JumpStart.com or how to become a member, visit www.jumpstart.com.

Source: Knowledge Adventure, www.knowledgeadventure.com

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