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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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April 28, 2009

Table of Contents

ITI Cross Links: Newsy.com Wants to Make You Smarter, Faster
EducationCity.com Announces Pre-K Module
Follett Software Company, RedRock Reports Partner to Assist with Identifying ARRA funds
Free Resources: Making Civics Real—A Workshop for Teachers
Cool Links: U.N. Launches Library of World's Knowledge
Hotmath Announces Online Remediation through Catchup Math
World Book Introduces "How to Do Research" Resource for Educators and Students
ISTE Announces Publication of Making Technology Standards Work for You Second Edition

ITI Cross Links: Newsy.com Wants to Make You Smarter, Faster

The recently launched Newsy.com, a video news digest service, is getting some splashy attention just now. Its short video stories are actually digests of the range of news outlet reporting—print, TV, blogs … the whole gamut—on selected hot news topics. As such, as reported on the Newsy.com blog, "Newsy.com is unlike any other news service on the web – we highlight the key differences in reporting so that you can understand all the angles of a story." And on the actual Newsy.com site: "Newsy delivers with a wide spectrum of sources. In less than three minutes, you understand all sides of an issue – so you can form your own opinion."

 

It's an intriguing proposition and, if done well, could be a good educational tool (think "information literacy" and "source evaluation") as well as a way to stay on top of the news.

Theresa Cramer has written a story, "Newsy.com Wants to Make You Smarter, Faster," about Newsy.com that offers a full description and some interesting analysis of this company and its product. Click HERE to link to the story in Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks.

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EducationCity.com Announces Pre-K Module

EducationCity.com has announced the launch of its Pre-K module across the U.S. EducationCity.com is now able to offer its teaching, learning, and assessment content and features to schools and other childcare establishments from Pre-K through to Grade 6.

 

EducationCity.com's age-appropriate activities help teach children about the world they live in and will also enable them to develop new skills for learning and for life, according to the announcement. Presented by theme rather than subject, the activities focus on everyday situations familiar to young children to give the youngsters a platform from which to explore different topics.

 

The Pre-K module is priced at $295/year for a whole-school subscription. For a 21-day free trial of the full EducationCity.com resource, including the Pre-K module, go to www.EducationCity.com.

Source: EducationCity.com, www.educationcity.com

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Follett Software Company, RedRock Reports Partner to Assist with Identifying ARRA funds

Follett Software Company has announced that it has entered into a partnership with RedRock Reports to help states and K-12 school districts identify available ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds and the products and communication tools that will best address their needs.

 

A total of $44 billion for states and schools is now available under ARRA, which is designed to lay the foundation for a generation of educational reform.

 

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "Given our economic circumstances, it's critical that money go out quickly, but it’s even more important that it be spent wisely. Every dollar we spend must advance reforms and improve learning."

 

The Follett Software-RedRock Reports partnership will provide educators with tools and information that define how available ARRA funds can be applied toward the purchase of solutions to support high-performance learning environments and help accomplish the government's objectives for comprehensive education reform. Follett Software's information and resource management products – Destiny Library Manager, Destiny Textbook Manager, Destiny Asset Manager, and TetraData – are the type of solutions that impact student achievement and support 21st century learning which are key government goals for smart spending of ARRA funds, according to the announcement.

 

Follett Software will be offering two upcoming webinars to further assist educators in obtaining ARRA information. These webinars will be held on May 19 and 20.

 

Follett Software Company (www.follettsoftware.com) helps districts of all sizes track and use information and resources efficiently to leverage their dollars on behalf of their students.

 

RedRock Reports (www.redrockreports.com) is focused on the strategic needs of the K-12 publishing, technology and services community to deliver consulting, advisory, and research services specifically targeted on funding opportunities for the K-12 market.

 

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com

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Free Resources: Making Civics Real—A Workshop for Teachers

From the April 24, 2009 Scout Report (issued by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Letters and Sciences Internet Scout Project), an item on "Making Civics Real--A Workshop for Teachers":

 

Civics can be a dreaded word for some students, but things just got a bit more interesting with this rather thoughtful and interesting video workshop created by the National Council for the Social Studies and the Center for Civic Education. Released as part of the Annenberg Media teacher resources, this eight part series helps teachers find ways to teach civics, complete with lesson plans and other materials…

Click HERE to read the full Scout Report story, and HERE to link straight to the Annenberg Media Learner.org site for the Making Civics Real workshop.

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Cool Links: U.N. Launches Library of World's Knowledge

The World Digital Library, which has now gone live and was inaugurated today, April 21, 2009, at the UNESCO office in Paris, has a laudable mission:

The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

 

The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

There's an excellent article about it on Washington Post.com that lays out the history, scope, and future plans for the project. From the article:

A globe-spanning U.N. digital library seeking to display and explain the wealth of all human cultures has gone into operation on the Internet, serving up mankind’s accumulated knowledge in seven languages for students around the world.

 

James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress who launched the project four years ago, said the ambition was to make available on an easy-to-navigate site, free for scholars and other curious people anywhere, a collection of primary documents and authoritative explanations from the plant's leading libraries.

Click HERE to link to the Washington Post.com article, and HERE to link to the World Digital Library itself.

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Hotmath Announces Online Remediation through Catchup Math

Hotmath, Inc. has announced the introduction of Catchup Math. Designed for at-risk middle and high school students, the new online diagnostic-prescriptive remediation service delivers a cycle of quizzes followed by personalized review and practice to help students catch up in math.


Catchup Math offers intervention programs for Prealgebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Each subject area may be covered as a full course, or targeted with specific topics selected by a teacher. In addition, the online remediation service has programs to prepare at-risk students for success on state exit exams, or for entry into college algebra courses. Through personalized assessment, review, and practice, Catchup Math can help students advance until they are ready to be enrolled in a targeted mainstream class.

A student is either assigned a specific course proficiency goal, or may begin Catchup Math with a placement test. Students take a 15-minute quiz and then receive a prescription of practice problems and review materials such as videos, activities and games for topics in which they need help. When solving problems, students write on an online whiteboard to show their work, which can be saved for review by their teacher.

 

Catchup Math presents the quizzes, topic review and practice in short sessions designed to keep at-risk students engaged. The online remediation service addresses different learning styles by allowing students to choose how they use Catchup Math. For example, videos, activities, and lessons can be viewed immediately or may be requested as needed when working on practice problems. 


To help teachers assess student progress, Catchup Math provides reports that tabulate time spent, quiz scores and review materials utilized. Most importantly, teachers can access a student's work on practice problems through the online whiteboard, which demonstrates the student's understanding and progress.


Catchup Math also offers optional live online math tutoring, so that a student can ask a question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Communication takes place online through an interactive whiteboard where visual aids such as drawings, graphs, and mathematical steps can be displayed. A messaging system is built into Catchup Math so a student can send questions electronically to a teacher or administrator.

Catchup Math may be purchased for individual students at retail prices, or purchased in volume by schools, tutoring centers and supplemental educational service providers at discount prices. Individual student subscriptions start at $99, and school pricing for the 2009-10 school year starts at $3 per student.

For more information about Catchup Math, visit www.catchupmath.com.

Source: Hotmath, Inc., www.hotmath.com

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World Book Introduces "How to Do Research" Resource for Educators and Students

World Book has announced the introduction of a new tool, "How to Do Research."  Available online through the World Book Web, "How to Do Research" offers online tutorials to better equip both students and educators with 21st century information literacy skills.

 

The student section offers a step-by-step tutorial that covers planning research; conducting research in print and online formats, including the Internet and Web 2.0 sources such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, and RSS feeds; evaluating sources for such important criteria as currency, authority, and bias; compiling and organizing data, including building citations; and presenting research.

 

The educators' section was developed in consultation with educators who have worked extensively on information literacy projects. The tutorial covers how to teach research skills, including:

• How to get started: Meeting teaching standards, collaborating with librarians, and creating plagiarism-proof assignments

• Teaching research skills: Selecting a research model and skill-building through games and charting student progress

• Assessing the learning: Using rubrics and other resources and assessing all areas including the process, the learning, and the product

 

The educators' section also includes a section on Web 2.0 resources for educators and includes case studies from innovative educators who use technology to enhance their students' learning experience.

 

The "How to Do Research" tools are available at no additional charge through the World Book Student (formerly World Book Online Reference Center) and World Book Discover sections of the World Book Web suite of online reference products.

Source: World Book, Inc., www.worldbook.com

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ISTE Announces Publication of Making Technology Standards Work for You Second Edition

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has announced the release of an updated edition of the book Making Technology Standards Work for You, which is intended to provide educational leaders with the tools and resources they need to be able to create successful technology programs in their schools or districts.

Susan J. Brooks-Young's update of her original work is meant to be used along side ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards and remains the definitive guide for the progressive educational leader looking to leverage the potential of technology and improve student learning, the announcement states.

As an active ISTE contributor with a long instructional technology track record, Brooks-Young understands the process of professional development of administrators and school officials in the area of technology leadership. In addition to participating in a technology mentorship program, she has developed online and offline curriculums, written books and other publications and produced guidelines for ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) program. Her 200-page book is organized into chapters devoted to specific aspects of technology leadership including planning, curriculum and instruction, assessment, staff development, and legal and social issues.

Making Technology Standards Work for You explores the concerns of campus-level, district-level, and superintendent/cabinet-level leaders with easy-to-follow charts and tables containing task assignments. The book includes numerous references and resources for each standard, as well as an in-depth discussion of how the roles of administrators and other leaders affect both teacher and student performance.

New to Brooks-Young's book are refreshed references and resources, plus a discussion of how administrators can inspire and improve teacher and student performance.  It incorporates elements of the previously published book Self-Assessment Activities for School Administrators.

The book is available for $31.45 for ISTE members or $44.95 for nonmembers.

More information about the book and a sample chapter are available at www.iste.org/bookstore.

Source: The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), www.iste.org

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