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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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May 12, 2009

Table of Contents

Cool Links: PBS Brings Bugs, Presidents and Soufflés to the Web
ePals and First Book Partner to Strengthen Student Literacy Skills in Economically Disadvantaged Communities
CoSN Releases Study, 'Leadership for Web 2.0 in Education: Promise and Reality'
Free Resources: TeachersFirst's 10,000 Online Learning Resources for K-12 Teachers
MMIS Xtra News: Free May/June 2009 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
ISTE Announces Second Edition of Videoconferencing for K-12 Classrooms: A Program Development Guide

Cool Links: PBS Brings Bugs, Presidents and Soufflés to the Web

A recent article in the New York Times, "PBS Brings Bugs, Presidents and Soufflés to the Web," notes:

Public television may be nonprofit and government-sponsored, but it has many of the same problems as commercial broadcasters when it comes to the Web. More and more viewers want to watch "Nova," "Frontline" and "Antiques Roadshow" online, but the public broadcasters worry that that if everything were available on the Internet, they could lose some of their traditional sources of financing: corporate sponsors, viewer donations and DVD sales.

Nonetheless, the public TV stations are taking more risks, and on Wednesday they introduced a fancy video portal at PBS.org/video. It replaces a hodgepodge of sites, with different features, run by the producers of each of the network’s programs and by its member stations...

Cool concept, very cool resources. Click through to the full New York Times article HERE.

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ePals and First Book Partner to Strengthen Student Literacy Skills in Economically Disadvantaged Communities

ePals, Inc., and First Book, a non-profit organization that provides books to children in need, have partnered to offer access to high-quality, low-cost books to Title I schools participating in the In2Books e-mentoring program from ePals.


In2Books aids educators, reading coaches, and specialists in creating independent learners with strong literacy skills through the use of online collaborative technology. Students participating in In2Books select and read age-appropriate, high-quality books from a list compiled by a team of children's literature experts. The students are matched with carefully screened adult pen pals who read the same books as the students. After reading each book, students and their pen pals exchange thoughts about the important issues in the book via online letters. Teachers reinforce these activities in the classroom with related lessons and discussion.

 

First Book works to provide children nationwide with access to high-quality books and educational materials. And through In2Books, ePals provides authentic learning opportunities for students to build their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through exchanging online letters with e-mentors. Together, these organizations can provide more teachers and students with the resources to participate in the program by lowering the cost of the books recommended for In2Books, according to the announcement.

 

For more information about In2Books, visit www.in2books.com. For information about ePals, visit www.epalscorp.com.

 

For information about First Book, visit www.firstbook.org/.

Source: ePals, Inc., www.epalscorp.com

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CoSN Releases Study, 'Leadership for Web 2.0 in Education: Promise and Reality'

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released a new study that finds school district administrators understand the significance of Web 2.0 for teaching and learning, but the actual use of Web 2.0 to improve the learning environment in U.S. schools is quite limited. The study, Leadership for Web 2.0 in Education: Promise and Reality, which was made possible through a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, was produced to gain understanding of the beliefs, perspectives, and practices of administrators which are conducive to or constraining effective use of Web 2.0.

 

The study collected data from nearly 1,200 school administrators on the role of digital media in American schools. CoSN worked with the Metiri Group, which conducted the survey of three key groups of education administrators - school district superintendents, curriculum directors and technology officers.

 

The key findings of the study include the following:

*          The nation's district administrators are overwhelmingly positive about the impact of Web 2.0 on students' lives and their education.

*          Keeping students interested and engaged in school is the top priority for Web 2.0 in American schools.

*          The majority of district administrators believe that student use of Web 2.0 should be limited to participation on approved educational Web sites.

*          The majority of school districts ban social networking and chat rooms while allowing prescribed educational use for most of the other Web 2.0 tools.

*          While curriculum directors report low levels of general use of Web 2.0, they describe significant opportunities in curricula and teaching materials.

*          Curriculum directors reported that Web 2.0 will be used most effectively in social studies, writing, science, and reading at all grade levels.

*          The use of these tools in American classrooms remains the province of individual pioneering classrooms.

*          Web 2.0 is outpacing the capacity of K-12 education to innovate.

*          District administrators, the persons responsible for the decision-making on Web 2.0 in schools, are more passive than active users in the Web 2.0 space.

 

This survey is part of a grant that CoSN received last July from the MacArthur Foundation as part of the foundation's digital media and learning initiative. The initiative focuses on how digital media are changing the face of education, learning and students' daily lives. CoSN's Schools and Participatory Culture: Overcoming Organizational and Policy Barriers grant aims to identify the organizational and policy barriers that impede the adoption of new media in schools, and to develop and implement an action plan with recommendations on how to overcome the barriers.

 

For a full copy of the study, please visit this website: <www.cosn.org/Portals/7/docs/Web%202.0/CoSN%20Report%20042809Final%20w-cover.pdf> ; for a copy of the executive summary: www.cosn.org/Portals/7/docs/Web%202.0/ExecSummaryCoSN%20Report042809Final.pdf.

Source: Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), www.cosn.org

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Free Resources: TeachersFirst's 10,000 Online Learning Resources for K-12 Teachers

TeachersFirst has announced that teachers now have access to 10,000 online learning resources, all reviewed and approved by master teachers, via its website. The resources—websites offering a wide variety of content for all subjects in grades K-12—are presented by the nonprofit organization as it celebrates its 11th anniversary. The service has thousands of members in more than 50 countries, and averages more than 50,000 page views daily.

 

The resource reviews include not only descriptions and highlights of each resource, but practical suggestions for implementation in the classroom. All reviews are available, sorted by subject and grade level, at www.teachersfirst.com/matrix.cfm, or searchable by keyword at www.teachersfirst.com/search.cfm.

 

About two dozen new resources are added each week. Some are created by TeachersFirst staff, the rest are carefully selected existing websites—not only education-oriented resources but general-interest sites that have value in the classroom.

 

The 10,000-resource milestone was reached with the selection of Woices, an innovative service that allows students and teachers to create sound recordings keyed to geographic locations. The recordings, available worldwide on the internet, can provide curriculum connections for a wide variety of subjects and ages. The extensive TeachersFirst review is available at www.teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=10000.

 

TeachersFirst.com is a service of The Source for Learning, a not-for-profit corporation providing enhanced learning through technology.

Source: The Source for Learning, www.sourceforlearning.org

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MMIS Xtra News: Free May/June 2009 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the May/June 2009 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to all the May/June 2009 reviews, the In the Spotlight story, and the cover story, Curriki and the Open Educational Resources Movement: Please Pass the Curriculum!

Check out the full May/June 2009 table of contents HERE, including the additional features and columns, available in synopsized form. If you're a subscriber to the print publication, you'll be receiving your issue soon! If not, well, SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Later this month, once all the issue articles have been processed electronically, you can access any of them in Full Text, Text+Graphics, or Page Image PDF format from the May/June 2009 table of contents. They'll be available on a pay-per-view basis via Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral, powered by ProQuest. Check back soon.

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ISTE Announces Second Edition of Videoconferencing for K-12 Classrooms: A Program Development Guide

ISTE has announced the publication of its newest book, Videoconferencing for K–12 Classrooms: A Program Development Guide, Second Edition, by Camille Cole, Kecia Ray, and Jan Zanetis. The book explores the ways interactive videoconferencing can break down walls and open the world to teachers and students. Whether you have a fledgling videoconferencing program or are still contemplating one, the book is an essential resource, according to the announcement. It comes close on the heels of ISTE's Interactive Videoconferencing, a book that focuses on incorporating interactive videoconferencing technology into classroom lessons.

Videoconferencing for K–12 Classrooms serves as a guide to setting up new interactive videoconferencing programs and improving existing ones. The book shows educators how to use interactive videoconferencing to connect to classrooms anywhere in the world, take virtual field trips to otherwise unreachable places and integrate supplemental resources. Updates in this edition include reviews of current and near future options for building an effective interactive videoconferencing program, case studies, fully vetted resources, practical tips, and real-life examples.

Videoconferencing is still a new growth area in K–12 education, but the costs of systems have been decreasing, making interactive videoconferencing more accessible to schools and educators. In addition to a basic overview of the technology itself, the new edition provides the information educators need to incorporate interactive videoconferencing, including a description of the necessary equipment, potential costs, step-by-step directions on implementation, and examples of how teachers are using interactive videoconferencing in their classrooms. All administrators, K–12 educators, technology coordinators, curriculum coordinators, library media specialists and teacher educators will benefit from this book, the announcement states.

Videoconferencing for K–12 Classrooms, Second Edition is available online for $26.55 for ISTE members and $37.95 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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