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April 14, 2009

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Dictionary.com's iPhone and iPod App (and Cool Video)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ScrollMotion Bring Curious George to the iPhone and iPod Touch
Free Resources: Thinkfinity Literacy Network
BrainPOP Offers Free Financial Literacy Movies and Activities Throughout April
Alexander Street and A&E Television Networks Launch Online Collection American History in Video
Tween Publishing Launches Student Organizational Skills Podcast Program
Facts On File Announces Launch of U.S. Government Online
Alexander Street Launches 'Music Online' Database

Free Resources: Dictionary.com's iPhone and iPod App (and Cool Video)

The Dictionary.com site, an Ask.com service, is a free, quick reference site with access to a dictionary (of course), a daily crossword, word games, and more, plus links to other Ask.com services (a thesaurus, translation, …). Great, if you're sitting in front of a computer and are online. But now, in keeping with the spread of educational uses of the myriad connectable devices we and our students are using, Dictionary.com/Ask.com is offering a free Dictionary.com app for the iPod Touch. From the website:

 

The free Dictionary.com app delivers world-class reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com including more than 275,000 definitions and 80,000 synonyms. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and Dictionary.com's popular Word of the Day that is enjoyed by more than a million users.

 

And it even manages to make the concept "cool" for its intended student audience through a clever promotional video commercial. Very well done; brief; lots of fun. Worth viewing and passing on to your students.

 

Check out the app and the video HERE.

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ScrollMotion Bring Curious George to the iPhone and iPod Touch

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and ScrollMotion have announced the release of the newly published children's educational book Curious George's Dictionary as an Apple iPhone application. This announcement marks the first children's and educational ebook application for the iPhone for both companies.

 

The Curious George's Dictionary app brings "the world's most curious monkey" to life in this digital version of a picture dictionary. Developed in collaboration with educational consultants, the content concentrates on essential educational development material, including the alphabet, shapes, numbers, colors and the concept of opposites, such as big/small and tall/short, all through the antics of the character Curious George.

 

Specially designed for children in preschool through first grade and reflecting recent research into childhood literacy, the app allows parents to engage their children in an entertaining multimedia learning experience through ScrollMotion's technology, which includes color graphics and illustrations, audio, including read-along narration, and a tactile reading experience that allows users to move through the "pages" with a swipe of the finger. 

 

The Curious George's Dictionary iPhone application costs $9.99 and can be purchased via the iTunes App Store.

 

Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, www.hmhpub.com

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Free Resources: Thinkfinity Literacy Network

From the University of Wisconsin College of Letters and Sciences Internet Scout Project's April 10, 2009 Scout Report comes a tip about this great resource for language arts and literacy educators. From the Report:

 

Thinkfinity Literacy Network

The Verizon Foundation's easily navigable website of literacy resources is an invaluable tool for teachers, volunteers, adult learners, tutors, parents and students. The site is divided into the tabs "Teach," "Learn," "Manage," and "Volunteer." …

Click HERE to link to the full April 10 Scout Report description of the Thinkfinity Literacy Network, and HERE to link to the Network itself.

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BrainPOP Offers Free Financial Literacy Movies and Activities Throughout April

BrainPOP has announced that during April—Financial Literacy Month—the company will provide free access to Spotlight: Financial Literacy, a collection of its web-delivered animated movies, quizzes, and activities, covering such topics as the stock market, banking, and mortgages (grades 3 and up); and money, goods, and services (grades K-3). BrainPOP's Spotlight: Financial Literacy presents age-appropriate information in a voice children can relate to.

 

Spotlight: Financial Literacy (www.brainpop.com/spotlight/financialliteracy) is free through April 30. In addition, the company offers visitors the ability to easily embed the Spotlight's content on their own web sites and blogs.

Source: BrainPOP, www.brainpop.com

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Alexander Street and A&E Television Networks Launch Online Collection American History in Video

[Editor’s Note: We ran a quick reference about the launch of this collection on March 27 based on a ReferenceShelf item: www.mmischools.com/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=14459   Now here's the full announcement from the publisher, released today, April 9.]

 

Alexander Street Press and A&E Television Networks (AETN) have announced the release of American History in Video, an online resource designed to meet the needs of American history instructors and researchers with what will grow to be more than 5,000 cross-searchable titles in streaming video. The collection will include hundreds of documentaries from the HISTORY, BIO and A&E Network library, and will be the only online source for the complete series of both United News and Universal Newsreel. It will also contain a wide range of other rare archival and contemporaneous film

 

The collection's search and browse capabilities are driven by Alexander Street's Semantic Indexing, which uses extensive controlled vocabularies and more than 15 combinable search fields to help users find and analyze content. Search fields include historical event, era, date, place, historical figure, speaker, subject, video type, and years discussed.  Users can quickly compare, for example, Kennedy's rhetorical flair with Nixon's, or find all on-film occurrences of civil disobedience in the southern United States prior to 1968, or all footage of Depression-era soup lines. Users can also tap the expertise of others by searching shared clips and playlists within a secure environment.

 

Technical features built into American History in Video include synchronized, searchable transcripts for every minute of footage; visual tables of contents that let the user quickly scan the content of each video; clip-making and sharing tools; permanent URLs that let users cite and share video of any length down to a second; an embeddable video player that lets libraries and instructors deliver video content to other users on secure website pages or via classroom sites; and playlists that let users organize clips and include links to any content (video or text) anywhere on the web.

 

American History in Video is openly accessible on the Web through April 30th at http://ahivfree.alexanderstreet.com. After the open access period has ended, anyone may browse the collection for free, but accessing search or browse results will require authorization. Libraries or faculty needing trial access after the open access period may email sales@alexanderstreet.com.

 

Learn more about American History in Video at http://alexanderstreet.com/products/ahiv.htm.

 

Source: Alexander Street Press, http://alexanderstreet.com

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Tween Publishing Launches Student Organizational Skills Podcast Program

Tween Publishing has announced that it has launched its Student Organizational Skills (SOS) podcast program. Tween's SOS program addresses an increasing concern that many middle school students do not have the academic discipline—the work habits, and the time management and organizational skills—that they need to be successful in school. In a recent report by ACT Inc., "The Forgotten Middle," 8 in 10 middle school students were found to be lacking the academic discipline essential for being on track for college.

 

Tween's "edutainment" podcasts interact with its popular workbook The Middle School Student’s Guide to Ruling the World! The podcast program consists of ten 25-30 minute lessons that can be used by teachers to supplement Tween’s in-class SOS instruction, or utilized by at-home and independent learners to acquire these essential skills.

 

Tween's program is designed specifically for the sixth through eighth grade. Included are such skills as binder organization, using a planner, organizing a homework space, using a rubric, self-advocacy for middle school, remembering daily responsibilities, correcting poor homework habits, long term project management, and understanding grade averaging.

 

The SOS podcasts can be accessed from Tween's website at www.middleschoolguide.com. The podcasts are in MP3 format and can be downloaded to iPods or MP3 players.

 

Source: Tween Publishing, www.middleschoolguide.com

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Facts On File Announces Launch of U.S. Government Online

Facts On File has announced the launch of the new U.S. Government Online—a new reference site designed to facilitate the study of the structure and function of the U.S. government. Focused and thorough in its coverage, this resource provides students and researchers with tools to understand how the U.S. government works, who the key players are, and what its role is in the everyday lives of citizens. Targeted at civics and social studies classrooms and projects, the online resource features an easy-to-navigate interface, allowing students to fine-tune specific search topics for the core curriculum, the announcement states. 
 

Among the features of U.S. Government Online are the following:

* Gateway Pages: informative introductory pages featuring links to overview essays and key entries, tables and graphs, images, and more on various aspects of the government—as well as an original, focused video segment

* Essays: articles on a broad range of topics, from the political process to foreign policy to federal agencies

* Primary Sources: inaugural speeches, official party platforms, and more providing context for government procedure and events

* Images and Videos: images and videos with captions covering key topics about the U.S. government

* Tables, Charts, and Maps: charts, graphs, and maps, as well as informative tables illustrating everything from electoral college votes for all elections to congressional sessions and members of Congress

* News Articles: relevant, regularly updated news articles on a variety of topics dealing with government issues, searchable and also browsable by date or by subtopic

* Special Features: specially selected features highlighting important moments, themes, and concepts in the history and function of the American government. Rotating spotlights include the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth and a focus on women in Congress.

 

For ordering, pricing, or other information, contact the Online Sales Department at 800-322-8755 or at onlinesales@factsonfile.com.

 

Source: Facts on File, http://factsonfile.com

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Alexander Street Launches 'Music Online' Database

Electronic publisher Alexander Street Press has announced the launch of Music Online, a comprehensive resource for the study of classical, jazz, world, and American music. Unique to the resource is its ability to deliver audio recordings, video content, full-text reference materials, musical scores, liner notes, biographies, and images through a single interface, according to the announcement.

The culmination of a music publishing program that began with Alexander Street's purchase of Classical Music Library in 2002, Music Online has built on that collection's technical features and functionality by applying rich controlled vocabularies across all format types to achieve the search capabilities Alexander Street's Semantic Indexing makes possible.

The objects in the collection are indexed for subjects, historical events, genres, people, cultural groups, places, time periods, and ensembles. Students and scholars can combine keyword and fielded search capabilities to frame creative, targeted queries.

Music Online includes more than 88,000 tracks; 285 hours of dance and opera video; more than 13,000 scores; and more than 45,000 pages of reference content, from over 150 different record and video labels, print and score publishers. The continuously growing collection also makes cross-searchable thousands of liner notes, biographies, and images. In May, Music Online will expand to include 20,000 jazz recordings. By September, all of the content in both African American Music and Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries will also be cross-searchable though the new interface.

The Music Online suite features a robust playlist functionality, which allows users to build playlists, incorporating content from anywhere in Music Online—or from anywhere on the Web—and then annotate them, keep them at a permanent URL for private use, or share them, either within the institution or with all subscribers.  Users can, for example, build a playlist that includes multiple recordings of a single work, its score, a dance video that incorporates the work, an essay about it published elsewhere on the Web, and a biography and photograph of the composer. The collection also includes featured playlists designed to be used in conjunction with leading music textbooks and in university-level survey courses.

Libraries may subscribe to the entire Music Online suite of products, or to specific subsets (all reference or all listening collections, for example). Much of the content is also available via outright purchase of perpetual rights. The cross-search interface is available to any library subscribing to component collections and will return results only for those components to which the library subscribes.

Additional information about Music Online is available on the Alexander Street Press Web site at http://alexanderstreet.com/products/muso.htm.

Source: Alexander Street Press, http://alexanderstreet.com

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