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June 09, 2009

Table of Contents

Knowledge Delivery Systems Announces New Online Courses for K-12 Educators
Wright Group/McGraw-Hill's Everyday Mathematics Now Includes Online Demonstrations
Florida Virtual School and 360Ed Launch 'Conspiracy Code' Online Game-Based High School Course
Free Resources: TeachersFirst’s List of 'Summer Sparklers'—Fun Websites for Summer Learning
Elluminate Announces Additions, Enhancements to Elluminate Learning Suite
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills Hosts Interactive, Live Cyber Summit for Education Stakeholders

Knowledge Delivery Systems Announces New Online Courses for K-12 Educators

Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS), a provider of online professional development courses designed for K-12 educators, has announced two new online courses that respond to the evolving needs of educators nationwide. The new self-paced online courses are designed for K-12 educators and can be applied for continuing education, salary advancement recertification, and graduate credit programs.

 

The offerings include a new ELL (English Language Learners) course. The online course was developed by Elizabeth Jiménez, author of over 25 textbooks for Pre-K-12 English Language Learners, and is designed to teach educators how best to deliver academic content in the classroom so that English Language Learners meet grade level content and proficiency standards.

 

Another new course, entitled Differentiation and Assessment for Middle School, was created in conjunction with author and education consultant Rick Wormeli. Its curriculum addresses the need for educators to meet state standards and prepare students for testing while offering instruction tailored to each student’s individual learning style.

 

For more information on KDS’s online professional development offerings, visit www.kdsi.org.

Source: Knowledge Delivery Systems, www.kdsi.org

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Wright Group/McGraw-Hill's Everyday Mathematics Now Includes Online Demonstrations

Wright Group/McGraw-Hill has added online demonstrations to EverydayMathOnline.com for parents helping children with homework and students or teachers who need additional support.

Everyday Mathematics teaches students more than one way to solve a math problem. Solutions are called algorithms and the multiple strategies encourage students to think critically about what methods are best to use for different problems and in different situations, according to the announcement.

Parents who would like to become more familiar with the algorithms in Everyday Mathematics can now see them step-by-step in the Free Family Resources section of EverydayMathOnline.com. The animations are easily accessible, organized by grade level and mathematical operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division). Different types of algorithms are addressed for every operation, and several animated examples are provided for each algorithm.

These animations take users step-by-step through solving a problem with each algorithm. With voiceover instructions, the animations can help parents, students, or teachers gain a better understanding of different ways to solve a problem. In addition to the animations, parents, students, and teachers can use their EverydayMathOnline.com login to access additional digital resources.

Source: Wright Group/McGraw-Hill, www.wrightgroup.com

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Florida Virtual School and 360Ed Launch 'Conspiracy Code' Online Game-Based High School Course

Florida Virtual School (FLVS) and 360Ed, Inc., have announced the release of Conspiracy Code, the first in a series of online game-based courses. According to the announcement, these new courses, presented in 3D, combine proven instructional practices and academic content with the latest in online gaming tools to produce an engaging and active learning environment for high school students – 97% of whom are avid, self-proclaimed gamers. The first Conspiracy Code course to be released is for American history. The complete high school-level course fulfills a full credit of history and will be available in June 2009.

 

Conspiracy Code courses offer an original learning environment where students can strengthen higher-order thinking, written communication, problem-solving, and collaborative skills through:

o Playing engaging concept practice games

o Responding to a variety of question types

o Writing assignments and essays

o Completing authentic game-based assessments

o Participating in discussion based assessments

 

In the first Conspiracy Code course, FLVS and 360Ed, Inc. offer students an American history class where they will play as fictional characters in an espionage-themed adventure game set in the fictional metropolis of Coverton City. In the game/course, students must build their knowledge and understanding of American history in order to stop a vast conspiracy that is threatening to erase and change the course of history.

 

Besides an engaging story, detailed environments, and a diverse cast of characters, Conspiracy Code offers new educational technologies designed to improve retention and increase comprehension. Course features include the Data Map, a 3D visual mind-map with tags and keywords for each piece of historical information collected, which students populate with associations and complex relationships. Students strengthen their understanding of history by using unique tagging and through writing about information collected in the course note system. They also apply knowledge during interactive information modes, agent interrogations, and character interactions.

 

Conspiracy Code is built on a foundation of challenges and missions that allow students to learn progressively. Based on their own understanding of content and the use of clues—standards-based, historical data—students self-select their path and pace through the course. As they follow a sequential learning path, they master complex ideas before moving on to the next level or mission. Conspiracy Code offers students multiple communication mediums and a variety of sensory-type game play activities that enable the use of their strongest learning attributes to build higher order thinking skills.

 

Certified teachers are facilitators in Conspiracy Code courses and participate alongside students encouraging them, offering feedback and guidance, and challenging their comprehension of content through a variety of assessments. Student work is tracked and documented using a web-based Student/Teacher Interface (SiTi). This system collects information about the amount of time a students spends on assessments and evaluation, the student-to-student collaborations, and time on task within each mission. Using the information and tools embedded in the web-based communication system, teachers give students immediate feedback on progress, provide interventions if necessary, and offer positive encouragement as they work through the course.

 

The American history content meets state and national standards. Credit received from Conspiracy Code courses are transferable and will be accepted by a students' primary school transcript or on their home education portfolio. Additional information, including technical specifications, can be found online at www.flvs.net and www.360Ed.com. School officials interested in arranging a detailed demonstration of the American history course should send an email to Erik Sand at esand@360Ed.com.

Source: Florida Virtual School (FLVS), www.flvs.net

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Free Resources: TeachersFirst’s List of 'Summer Sparklers'—Fun Websites for Summer Learning

TeachersFirst.com, a teacher-reviewed web service, has announced the publication of a list of "Summer Sparklers," dozens of websites that students and parents can use to keep the learning going, even during vacation.  

 

TeachersFirst editors reviewed thousands of candidates before selecting the sites on the list, available free at www.teachersfirst.com/content/spectopics/summersparklers.cfm. They cover all K-12 grades, and a wide range of subjects.

 

Through the Summer Sparklers, children and their parents have access to resources such as brain games, arts and crafts lessons, language tutorials, vocabulary builders, math exercises, a directory of summer camps, and even a dinosaur dictionary. Each entry also includes tips for optimum use in the home or classroom.

 

TeachersFirst is a service of The Source for Learning (www.sourceforlearning.org), a not-for-profit corporation providing enhanced learning through technology. The Source for Learning is also the creator of www.PreschoolFirst.com, www.TeachersAndFamilies.com, and the upcoming www.GrowUpLearning.com, slated to launch in 2009.

Source: TeachersFirst, www.teachersfirst.com

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Elluminate Announces Additions, Enhancements to Elluminate Learning Suite

Elluminate, Inc. has announced the newest additions to its family of web, video, and audio social learning solutions.  The Elluminate Learning Suite now includes Elluminate Live! V9.5, Elluminate Plan! V2, and enhancements to Elluminate Bridges for learning management system integrations.

 

With the Elluminate Learning Suite, administrators can meet student demands, leverage limited instructor resources, provide sustainable professional development, create a culture of collaboration, and promote technology adoption system wide, while reducing travel and infrastructure costs, the announcement states.  At the same time, educators can more easily make the transition from the physical to virtual classroom and facilitate a quality learning experience with session planning, live interaction, and on-demand recordings.

 

Enhancements to Elluminate Live! V9.5 include:

* Improved audio fidelity and reduced audio time lag for high-bandwidth users, along with higher video frame rates with reduced video bandwidth requirements.

* Enhanced teaching tools, including refreshed user interface, redesigned whiteboard text editor, drag-and-drop graphical screen explorer, application sharing configuration preferences, recording reminder, and streamlined recording playback

* More robust breakout functionality with ability to drag and drop participants to and from rooms for easy distribution. Instructors can quickly copy content to selected or all rooms and easily move student

* Expanded accessibility for the visually impaired with audio notifications of recording start and stop, improved navigation for screen reader users, and option to include speaker notes in whiteboard slides for screen reader narration

* Added support for users worldwide with Ubuntu Linux client, streamlined deployment of multiple languages without disruption to localized users, and ability to display local telephone number formats outside of North America for audio conferencing integration

* Client user interface enhancements, including modernized graphical icons and more intuitive placement of polling response options. 

 

Elluminate Plan! V2 is designed for organizing, scripting, and packaging content and activities before the live session. Elluminate Plan! now includes:

* Expanded command set to build in even more interactivity

* Ability to set session parameters for easy automatic setup before class begins

* Drag-and-drop construction and editing that facilitates plan development

* Plan validation tool that enables self-service troubleshooting and cuts development time 

 

Elluminate Bridges now include support for:

* ANGEL Learning Management Suite 7.3 and 7.4

* Blackboard Learning System - Enterprise 7 or higher, including Release 9

* Blackboard Learning System - CE Enterprise 6 or higher

* Blackboard Learning System - Vista Enterprise 4 or higher

 

Elluminate Live! V9.5, Elluminate Plan! V2, and the enhanced Elluminate Bridge for ANGEL Learning will be generally available in July.  The enhanced Elluminate Bridges for Blackboard are available now, while the new Elluminate Bridge for Desire2Learn will be available later this year.

 

Source:  Elluminate, Inc., www.elluminate.com

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The Partnership for 21st Century Skills Hosts Interactive, Live Cyber Summit for Education Stakeholders

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has announced it will host the Cyber Summit on 21st Century Skills from June 1 – 12, 2009. The summit, which will take place solely online, affords education, policy, civic, community, and business leaders the opportunity to interact with one another and discuss important education reform initiatives. The Cyber Summit leads up to the National Education Summit on 21st Century Skills, which will take place on June 12 in Washington, D.C.

 

During the Cyber Summit, there will be ongoing forums in which experts will analyze and discuss key 21st century skills and knowledge resources, including:

* The 21st Century Skills Implementation Guides, which outline recommended practices for assessments, standards, professional development, curriculum and instruction and learning environments

* The Milestones for Improving Learning and Education (MILE) Guide, which helps educators measure the progress of their schools in defining, teaching and assessing 21st century skills

* The National Action Agenda, which will set the policy and reform agenda for the months following both summits and be signed by hundreds of education stakeholders.

 

The Cyber Summit will also feature a collection of videos that demonstrate how rigorous core subjects can be combined with 21st century skills in classrooms. In addition, there will be a series of live webinars featuring education leaders across the nation, including six state education commissioners/superintendents/directors. These webinars will focus on what is happening at the national, state, and district levels and best practices for how 21st century skills fit into core class instruction.

 

Participants/experts include the following:  

Dr. Steven Paine, Superintendent of Schools, West Virginia

June St. Clair Atkinson, State Superintendent, North Carolina

Susan Gendron, Commissioner of Education, Maine

Judy Jeffrey, Director, Iowa Department of Education

Lucille E. Davy, Commissioner of Education, New Jersey

Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona

Ken Kay, President, Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Paige Johnson, Worldwide Manager, K-12 Education, Intel Corporation and Chair, Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Kathy Hurley, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, for Pearson School Companies and Vice-chair, Partnership for 21st Century Skills

 

For more information, visit www.21stcenturyskills.org/cybersummit.

Source: Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org

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