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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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July 07, 2009

Table of Contents

NECC News: PBS Developing PBS Digital Learning Library
MMIS Xtra News: Free July/August 2009 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
NECC News: Maps Provide First-of-their-kind Classroom Examples of Integrating 21st Century Skills into Science and Geography Courses
NECC News: Adobe Announces Winners of the 2009 School Innovation Awards
NECC News: KidsWrite Launches Publishing Community for Kids
NECC News: SIIA Survey Finds U.S. Making Some Progress Toward the Vision K-20 for Technology-Rich Schools and Universities
NECC News: Pearson Unveils Premier Assessment for Learning Solution
Excelsior Software Launches Online Tutoring Platform Embedded in Pinnacle Suite
Alexander Street and Arcadia Publishing Launch Local History Collection
StudyX Promotes Study Software
Turning Technologies Announces Social Learning Community

NECC News: PBS Developing PBS Digital Learning Library

PBS has announced the launch of the PBS Digital Learning Library, a PBS system-wide online repository of digital education assets from public broadcasting programs and services nationwide. The PBS Digital Learning Library will be a comprehensive source of "learning objects," including video, audio, images, games, and interactive simulations designed specifically for classroom use, delivered to teachers exclusively through local PBS stations. Services to deliver these resources to teachers and learners will be available in fall 2009.

As part of an ongoing, multi-year research initiative to identify and provide effective digital media in the classroom, PBS is aggregating its educational content to make it more accessible and practical for classroom use. With the support of content development grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the PBS Digital Learning Library will contain high-quality multimedia resources from PBS member stations and award-winning PBS broadcast programs, all aligned to national and local education standards and tagged for easy searching. The video resources will be provided in short segments that are more classroom-friendly than 30- and 60-minute television programs, and adapted to meet the needs of teachers and students in a 21st-century teaching and learning environment.

 

Over 20 member stations have been participating in a PBS Digital Learning Library pilot as content contributors and a number of the pilot stations are planning on launching digital education services. Stations participating in the pilot include KAET, KET, KLRN, KNME, KQED, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Maryland Public Television, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, SCETV, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, ThinkTV (Ohio Digital Classroom), Utah Education Network, Vegas PBS, WGBH, WHRO, WOUB, WNEO, WNET, WPSU, WVIZ, WXXI, Wyoming PBS and NewsHour.

 

With the launch of the PBS Digital Learning Library, many more stations will have access to this wide range of digital content, beginning with the 2009-10 school year.

 

For more information or updates on the PBS Digital Learning Library, go to www.pbsteachers.org/dll.

PBS Teachers (www.pbs.org/teachers) provides preK-12 educators a central Web destination to access PBS' educational services, including a searchable library of more than 9,000 local and national multimedia resources, and an online professional learning community where teachers can share ideas, collaborate, and discuss effective technology integration. Within the online community, educators can search for digital instructional resources, then easily bookmark, annotate, share and manage their tagged content. PBS Teachers is also home to the education blog Media Infusion (pbs.org/mediainfusion), which focuses on practical ways to integrate multimedia resources and technology into the classroom. Teachers can sign up for free membership in PBS Teachers for access to the PBS Teachers community and monthly webinars, and to receive discounts to ShopPBS for Teachers.

Source: PBS, www.pbs.org

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

Content from the July/August 2009 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to all the July/August 2009 reviews, the In the Spotlight story, and the cover story, Online Professional Development 2009.

Check out the full July/August 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 July/August 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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NECC News: Maps Provide First-of-their-kind Classroom Examples of Integrating 21st Century Skills into Science and Geography Courses

The 21st Century Skills Science and Geography Maps were recently released at the National Education Computing Conference by representatives from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) along with colleagues from the National Council for the Social Studies and National Council of Teachers of English, who released social studies and English maps in 2008.

 

The 21st Century Skills Science and Geography Maps demonstrate how the integration of 21st century skills into science and geography classes support teaching and prepare students to become effective and productive citizens.

 

The maps provide educators with teacher-created models of how 21st century skills can be infused into instruction and highlight the critical connections between science, geography and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication.

 

In addition to aligning teaching and learning to the demands of today’s world, the maps cite specific student outcomes and provide project models that will result in enhanced student achievement in grades four, eight and 12, according to the announcement.

 

For example, twelfth graders participate in a "citizen science" project such as a service learning project or an environmental issue specific to the community, through which they have the opportunity to work collaboratively with local and remote research scientists, organizations, agencies and/or universities. Students then work in teams and blog about their experiences and how they connect to their classroom learning. They then present their research finding to an external audience, such as a science fair, junior academy of science, or a local chapter of a scientific professional society. Through this science project, students learn how to collaborate with their peers and experts and defend arguments using scientific reasoning, logic, and modeling.

 

At the eighth grade level, to combine the teaching of geography with 21st century skills, students identify historic and contemporary migrant groups in their area and examine why migration occurs. They consider factors such as war, famine, recession, natural resources and climate, among others. Students then form teams to investigate the changes that occur when people migrate and present their findings to the class. As a result, eighth graders learn what can cause migration and the impact that migration has on communities, while also developing collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

 

The 21st Century Skills and Science and Geography Maps are the third and fourth in a series of core content maps designed for educators, administrators and policymakers. The last map in the series, for mathematics, will be available later in 2009. All of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills resources are freely available at www.21stcenturyskills.org.

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

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NECC News: Adobe Announces Winners of the 2009 School Innovation Awards

Adobe Systems Incorporated has announced the winners of the 2009 Adobe School Innovation Awards. The program honors the creative and innovative work of high school students in the U.S. and Canada. The purpose of the School Innovation Awards is to engage students in their own learning and to showcase the talents of high school students across North America. With the theme "The World is Your Stage," students submitted more than 430 projects in three categories: Graphic and Print Design, Film and Video, and Web Design and Development.

 

The Best-of-the-Best winner was presented to Xizi Chen, Elizabeth Carp, Stephanie Yang, and Qiuling Zakaroff from Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, N.J., for "The MANNIS Project - Jens' Adventure," a telling of the story of a photographer and a city.

 

The winners of the three categories were:

 

·         Braighton Polack from Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School in Abbotsford, British Columbia, for "Simulation Sixty-Seven" in the Graphic and Print Design category.

 

·         Michael Hoff and Tim Jacob from Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, Calif., for "Beating the Unbeatable: Joe Wise," in the Film and Video category.

 

·         Xizi Chen, Elizabeth Carp, Stephanie Yang and Qiuling Zakaroff from Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, N.J., for "The MANNIS Project - Jens' Adventure" for the Web Design and Development category.

 

The winning entries were recognized at a ceremony on June 29 at the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Washington, D.C. They are now available for viewing at www.adobe.com/education/community/k12/gallery/.

 

Winners were selected by a panel of judges based on their originality and effectiveness in communicating project objectives. Judges included members of the Adobe Education Leader group, Adobe employees, and industry luminaries.

 

The Best-of-the-Best winner will receive their choice of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, Design Premium or Production Premium and be recognized by Adobe in their community. Additionally, the winning student’s school will be awarded a 30 seat site license of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection.

 

Adobe will continue the Adobe School Innovation Awards Program for the 2009/2010 school year and will re-open the competition this fall.


Source: Adobe Systems Incorporated, www.adobe.com

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NECC News: KidsWrite Launches Publishing Community for Kids

KidsWrite has announced the launch of their new environment designed to mirror the 21st century workplace where students of all ages are provided with the ability to publish their writings and art through a real-world, technology-driven book publishing experience.

 

KidsWrite provides a comprehensive curriculum along with multiple levels of professional development that promotes leadership, creativity, communication, productivity, and collaboration through the process of writing and publishing a book. 

 

KidsWrite's online platform, The KidsCafé, provides project tracking to monitor the progress and outcome for each student as they work on their book project.  It also helps teachers monitor and guide the progress and outcome of each students work as they achieve academic success.

 

Electronic communication, collaboration tools, and social learning are a core part of the KidsCafe. The web environment allows for work to be done both in and outside the classroom. 

 

Teachers receive coaching and professional development throughout the process in order to help their classes:

Develop Literacy and Digital Literacy Skills

Develop Critical Thinking Skills (Bloom's Taxonomy)

Learn to self-assess

Model Constructive use of media

Develop digital citizenship (researching, e-collaboration, copyright)

Learn to harness their Creativity

Develop collaboration, project management, and team skills

Source: KidsWrite, http://kidswrite.com

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NECC News: SIIA Survey Finds U.S. Making Some Progress Toward the Vision K-20 for Technology-Rich Schools and Universities

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has released the findings of an annual national education survey used to measure U.S. educational institutions' progress toward achieving the SIIA Vision for K-20. The survey was developed to help educators and administrators individually benchmark their institutional progress in using technology to provide 21st century tools, anytime/anywhere access, differentiated learning, assessment tools, and enterprise support. The aggregated results also provide a picture of our nation's progress as a whole.


As the voice of the educational technology industry, SIIA developed this vision for K-20 education - a vision to ensure that all students have access to a technology-enabled teaching and learning environment capable of preparing them to compete globally and lead the world in innovation. A successful pilot survey was initiated in 2008, and a follow up survey was conducted in spring 2009.

The top 2009 survey finding: While the nation's educational system improved on 17 of the 20 measures compared to 2008, there was only a 1 percent average increase overall to 62 percent, meaning that education institutions are 62 percent of the way toward achieving SIIA's Vision K-20 benchmark of 100 percent.


Other key findings include:

- U.S. schools and universities showed the greatest improvement from 2008 in the adoption of high-speed broadband access and web portals needed to enable online learning, enhanced communication and connectivity, and access to multimedia-rich applications and content.

 

- The U.S. education system is furthest along - at 70 percent toward achieving the goal - in the use of technology to support the enterprise, and to facilitate communication and collaboration. The system is least advanced in the use of technology-based assessment tools (46 percent), nurturing creativity and self-expression (60 percent), and helping schools meet the needs of all students (59 percent).

 

- In general, post-secondary institutions continue to show more progress on the various measures than do K-12 schools and districts.


The Vision Survey request was distributed to educators and administrators with the help of many partners that included CoSN, iNACOL, SIFA, The Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, Project Tomorrow, JDL Horizons, edWeb, UBoost, WeAreTeachers, WeTheTeachers, Big Deal Book, eCampus News, Education Week, and eSchool News.

The report on the 2008 Vision K-20 Survey is available at http://siia.net/visionk20/pages/progress.html.


Source: SIIA, www.siia.net

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NECC News: Pearson Unveils Premier Assessment for Learning Solution

Pearson has announced that it is collaborating with LearningStation, an e-learning provider, and Promethean, an instructional technology company, to launch a solution for district and classroom assessment that it says will enable administrators and teachers to make increasingly powerful connections between assessment and learning. Pearson’s assessment for learning solution will be available to schools for the 2009-2010 school year.

With Pearson’s new assessment solution, local assessment coordinators, as well as principals and teachers, can use an intuitive interface to create aligned classroom assessments and quizzes quickly. With the solution’s management capabilities, teachers can access multiple item banks with a few clicks of the mouse or they can add their own content through a teacher-friendly authoring interface. Assessments can be developed for the whole class, a group of students, or an individual student. Once the teacher assigns the tests, students log on, complete the assigned online assessment, and get immediate results. Or, the teacher can present the assessment on an interactive whiteboard, and students can use learner response devices to submit their answers.

LearningStation is collaborating with Pearson on the development of the assessment management system. LearningStation is recognized for its innovative solutions that evaluate and address individual student needs with Action Test Builder, an assessment and integrated instruction tool.

Promethean brings its expertise in classroom integration of interactive whiteboards and learner response devices to the development of Pearson’s new solution. Pearson’s assessment for learning solution will connect directly to interactive whiteboards and will be customized for the Promethean ActivBoard and learner response systems, ActivExpresssion and ActiVote.

Along with technology from LearningStation and Promethean, the new Assessment for Learning Solution will be integrated with Pearson Inform, a data analysis and decision support tool. Pearson Inform provides a reporting and analytics platform with longitudinal and aggregated reporting of results, dynamic grouping of students based on individual needs, recording and tracking of Response to Intervention data, individualized academic improvement plan management and monitoring, and other reporting requirements.

Source: Pearson, www.pearson.com

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Excelsior Software Launches Online Tutoring Platform Embedded in Pinnacle Suite

Excelsior Software has launched Pinnacle Accelerated Learning (PAL), an online tutoring platform embedded in the Pinnacle Suite. Utilizing the latest Web 2.0 technologies, PAL offers a secure virtual learning environment where districts can provide students with academic help and enrichment from educators within their own school communities.

 

PAL is seamlessly integrated with the gradebook, parent-student portal, student information system, and the curriculum, assessment and data analysis tools found in the Pinnacle Suite. This integration gives classroom teachers a multi-faceted view of their students' activities and progress in the instructional platform they use every day.

 

PAL offers administrators the means to oversee and schedule teacher-tutors, deliver targeted curriculum remediation and enrichment, track student progress, and ensure that students are collaborating with a trusted mentor through a secure, confidential framework.

 

For teachers, PAL helps to reinforce classroom instruction and facilitate formal and informal learning through online lessons and activities without placing a burden on existing resources. Schools can expand instruction by supplementing curriculum with homework help, remedial or enrichment sessions, peer-to-peer tutoring, test preparation, supplemental education services (SES), vocational instruction, and advanced placement sessions.

 

In addition, PAL is a centralized platform, enabling curriculum and technology directors to administer the program and manage schedules. Through existing tools, PAL allows teachers to collaborate by using curriculum rating, review, and sharing features. District officials can access real-time reports listing information about student performance and teacher participation to ensure effective use of the program.

 

Live interactive whiteboards combined with voice-over-IP and chat services provide a personalized and active learning environment. Students can solicit immediate help on assignments, and learn through real-time activities and recorded sessions.

 

Visit www.pinnaclesuite.com for more information.

 

Source: Excelsior Software, www.excelsiorsoftware.com

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Alexander Street and Arcadia Publishing Launch Local History Collection

Electronic publisher Alexander Street Press and local history book publisher Arcadia Publishing have announced the release of "Local and Regional History Online: A History of American Life in Images and Texts." The collection includes hundreds of thousands of images and corresponding texts from every region and state in the U.S. and from many areas of Canada. It will grow to contain more than a million cross-searchable images, including photographs, postcards, maps, and other primary materials.

The collection will serve many disciplines, showing the personal stories and photos of immigrants, laborers, and newsmakers; documenting the local architecture of homes and businesses; showing images of racism and tolerance; and delivering history as observed in real time.

Local and Regional History Online can be browsed online for free at http://lrho.alexanderstreet.com. The collection is available to libraries via subscription or outright purchase of perpetual rights. Libraries can purchase the entire collection or select specific regional subsets. Individuals who are interested in accessing the collection should contact their university or public library for more information or to request trial access.
   

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

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StudyX Promotes Study Software

StudyX.com is promoting its StudyX program, study-aid software that can be customized to tackle a range of subjects such as foreign languages, vocabulary words, science, history, medical and more. The program is designed to be used by students of all ages – from elementary to graduate levels.

 

Compatible with nearly any Windows format, the study software generates digital files similar to flash cards and allows users to quickly add questions and answers. The study materials then work in a question-and-answer format. Once the needed materials are entered, users can learn through games. As students play, questions pop up that challenge them to master the information entered.

 

If they prefer, students can print the information in five options: flash cards, quick study sheets and three different practice tests (fill in the blank, multiple choice or matching).   

 

Students also can share files with friends and create virtual study groups while browsing the web or playing games. The software works directly in Internet Explorer.

  

Teachers can develop tests in multiple versions using StudyX, and then store and password-protect them. Students can receive printed versions, or teachers can set time limits and allow students to take the tests on their computers.

 

Developed by Jeff Computers, the software is available as a downloadable file for $39.99, or on a CD version that can be purchased for $44.99.

 

For more information about StudyX and to download a 30-day trial version, visit www.studyx.com.

Source: StudyX, www.studyx.com

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Turning Technologies Announces Social Learning Community

Turning Technologies LLC has announced the launch of TurningTalk, a new social learning community for response technology users to provide an open forum for the discussion and sharing of ideas and teaching strategies. To help customers improve the quality and effectiveness of learning as well as successfully integrate response technology, registered users can participate in forums, build their own blog, and download valuable content. TurningTalk can be found at www.Turning-Talk.com.

 

Dr. Eric Mazur, Harvard professor and the author of Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (Prentice Hall, 1997), a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively, is a featured TurningTalk contributor. As chairman of Turning Technologies' Instructional Strategy Advisory Group, Dr. Mazur will be posting a series of articles related to his Peer Instruction technique and its effectiveness in the classroom.

Source: Turning Technologies, LLC, www.turningtechnologies.com

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