Blank gif
Section1
An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
Search Internet@Schools
Subscribe Today!

View Current Issue
View Past Issues
July 21, 2009

Table of Contents

Tabula Digita Introduces 'League of Scientists' Video Game Series
TLC Debuts LS2 Kids, Library Software for Younger Library Users
Gale and K12 Inc. Announce Agreement to Create and Distribute New World Language-Learning Products
Teachscape Expands Teachscape XL Professional Learning Platform
AASL Announces Inaugural Best Websites for Teaching and Learning
Follett Software Company Introduces TetraData Insights
Lexia Learning Launches Lexia Reading Version 6.0
Funds For Learning Announces Findings from National E-rate Survey
ePals Partners With Columbia-Based Foundation to Expand Spanish Language Focus of the ePals Community
OnCourse Systems for Education Announces Enhancements to OnCourse Lesson Planner

Tabula Digita Introduces 'League of Scientists' Video Game Series

Tabula Digita, developer of the DimensionM educational video games for math (www.DimensionM.com), is releasing its first immersive online science game series. Called "The League of Scientists," the series is being offered for free to students in grades three through five and is meant to help students build their knowledge base. Teachers can send it home as extra credit, or use it as an independent activity in class or in science clubs.

The free-to-play, two-dimensional educational gaming creation was developed in partnership with the Monsanto Fund and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Designed with young learners in mind, The League of Scientists allows students to compete against each other in a series of multi-player games, constructed around a robust, standards-based, and engaging science curriculum.

The League of Scientists currently includes four interactive games: Lab Rat Race, Beaker Blast, Butterfly Boss and Circuit Center, with additional games planned. The science content was provided by ISTE and can be selected based on a teacher’s desire to introduce or practice life science, earth and space science, or physical science concepts. In addition to creating their own avatars, students will collect points with each correct answer that can later be redeemed for science-related equipment and gizmos to trick out their virtual science labs. They will also have the opportunity to earn "power up points" to demonstrate their mastery and gain an advantage in the game.

Source: Tabula Digita, www.tabuladigita.com

Back to Contents...

TLC Debuts LS2 Kids, Library Software for Younger Library Users

The Library Corporation (TLC) has debuted LS2 Kids – a children’s version of TLC’s LS2 PAC – offering the same technology with new features oriented to younger library users. LS2 Kids has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that helps children find exactly what they’re looking for within a library’s collection, according to the announcement.

LS2 Kids was developed with input from a special focus group of librarians as well as children ages 5 to 11. As a result, for instance, the home screen of the interface has a scrollable display of popular book series like "Harry Potter," "Dr. Seuss," "Junie B. Jones," and "The Magic School Bus." A single click calls up every title in a selected series, beginning with the most recent publication.

"Scout," the curious young pup who greets users of LS2 Kids, guides children as they search for items of interest in their school or public library. Kids can click on an icon in the category wheel that encircles Scout and select from dozens of subject areas – math and reading, of course, but also topics like space, baseball, gymnastics, cats, hippos, dinosaurs, scary stories, and more. They can also type a book name or subject in the search box. If a word is typed incorrectly, LS2 Kids will offer spelling suggestions and corrections.

When children search for subjects, names, or book titles, LS2 Kids takes them to an interactive screen that displays a cover flow of corresponding book jackets that fill the screen and indicate whether a title is available. Clicking on any book jacket spins that title around to reveal detailed information about the publication.

LS2 Kids is intended as a companion to TLC’s Library•Solution for Schools and Library•Solution. For more information, visit www.tlcdelivers.com.

Source: The Library Corporation, www.tlcdelivers.com

Back to Contents...

Gale and K12 Inc. Announce Agreement to Create and Distribute New World Language-Learning Products

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, and K12 Inc. (www.k12.com) have announced an agreement to develop and distribute a new line of world language-learning products to libraries. Power-Glide Language Courses, Inc. (known as powerspeaK12), a subsidiary of K12 Inc., will develop web-based language courses, which Gale will distribute exclusively to the library market. Languages will include Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Spanish ESL.

 

The courses developed for Gale customers will use the research-driven powerspeaK12 language learning methodology which includes a variety of multi-sensory activities to take full advantage of the brain’s ability to acquire language. Designed specifically for use by the diverse audience of library patrons, the courses will include a combination of scored online activities, lessons and games.

 

Course activities will be bound together with an adventure story containing rich graphics, audio, video, music, and an intuitive way to track progress. Learners will also be challenged to practice speaking and writing in a variety of interactive modules designed to simulate real conversations with native speakers.

 

Initial course offerings are scheduled to be available later this year.

 

Gale, www.gale.com

Back to Contents...

Teachscape Expands Teachscape XL Professional Learning Platform

Teachscape has announced it has expanded its web-based Teachscape XL professional learning platform. The platform now includes curriculum mapping to the core concepts and critical skills found in standards, varied student assessments that provide timely data for teachers, Classroom Walkthroughs for measuring instructional practices against modern research, and a host of online learning modules for driving classroom instructional practice.

 

Teachscape XL now includes four components designed to provide one system for using research and data to ensure students are progressing down a learning path. It provides the tools to assess student progress, analyze teaching strategies, recommend corrective instruction, and align curriculum to standards.

 

Teachscape XL components include the following:

 

Curriculum Suite - The Teachscape Curriculum Suite starts with the vertical articulation of core concepts and critical skills needed to master the standards. It includes instructional pacing guides for each course and grade level, as well as test blueprints for state, benchmark, and formative assessments. The curriculum framework ensures that all students have access to rigorous expectations for what they should know and be able to do. This application also provides tools to build and share units and lessons within and across districts.

 

Assessment Suite – The Teachscape Assessment Suite captures and analyzes multiple measures of student performance from traditional testing and grading to rubrics. It includes the importing of state test data, a benchmark assessment system with page scanning of results, a standards-based grade book, and rubrics for evaluating students on work products or tasks. Learning Profiles provide graphically rich views of student performance without having to query for data. Profiles are generated for student, class, school, and district and disaggregated by subgroups. Standards-based report cards are also generated for each student and can include multiple measures of performance.

 

Classroom Walkthrough Suite – The Teachscape Classroom Walkthrough Suite provides tools for analyzing the actual instructional strategies that teachers use within the classroom to enable them to understand how their strategies measure up against research and to evaluate the impact they are having on different groups of students within their classroom. Methods for conducting Walkthroughs are provided, along with indicators or "look fors" for assessing instruction and engagement.

 

Professional Learning Suite – The Teachscape Professional Learning Suite is a site that hosts a collection of more than 100 online professional learning modules designed to showcase research-based classroom practice for teachers and instructional leaders. With the Custom Publishing Tool, more than 10,000 professional learning artifacts can be re-assembled, customized, localized, and republished in unique ways to create differentiated professional development for coaching and instructional improvement.

 

Teachscape XL is a platform and set of tools designed to help districts strategically define what educators should teach and when they should teach it. The technology allows schools and districts to trace student success in particular curriculum areas to specific instructional strategies, and map interventions that support continued student growth. In addition, the program’s ability to determine which professional development activities result in improved student outcomes supports teacher growth and effectiveness the announcement states.

 

Source: Teachscape, www.teachscape.com

Back to Contents...

AASL Announces Inaugural Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has announced a new resource for school library media specialists and their teacher colleagues. The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, a list honoring the top 25 internet sites for enhancing learning and curriculum development, is considered the "best of the best" by AASL.

 

The Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation and collaboration. The websites honored include: Animoto; Classroom 2.0; Curriki; Diigo; Edublogs; Facebook; Good Reads; Google Reader; Mindmeister; Ning; Our Story; Partnership for 21st Century Skills; Polleverywhere; Primary Access; RezED; Second Life; Simply Box; Skype; SOS for Information Literacy; Teacher Tube; Twitter; VoiceThread; Wikispaces; Wordle; and Zoho.

 

All sites are free, web-based sites that are user-friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover. They also provide a foundation to support AASL's "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner." Valuable information on each site, including tips for effective classroom use, are available at www.ala.org/aasl/bestlist

 

The Top 25 offer tools and resources in organizing and managing; content collaboration; curriculum sharing; media sharing; virtual environments; and social networking and communication. Each website is linked to one or more of the four strands of the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner – skills, dispositions in action, responsibilities and self-assessment strategies. The list will be updated annually based on feedback and nominations from members.

Source: The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org

Back to Contents...

Follett Software Company Introduces TetraData Insights

Follett Software Company has launched TetraData Insights, a three-step model designed to enable Continuous Improvement using available data, helping K-12 school districts to positively impact student performance.

 

This latest release of the TetraData warehousing and analytics tools provides school districts with a convenient point-of-entry solution (Bronze level) and then builds upon that foundation with Silver and Gold levels, according to the announcement. Each phase builds on the last by adding more data domains, features and professional development.

 

TetraData Insights applies a systemic model to analyze student data and communicate information to non-statisticians in an easy-to-use format. Insights is a more cost-effective alternative to a custom warehouse and analytics solution and grows with the district over time, leading it through Continuous Improvement, the announcement states.

 

Building upon the Bronze foundation, a district will grow into the Silver level with additional data domains, including discipline, attendance, special education and staff endorsements. The Gold level builds upon Bronze and Silver bringing in additional domains, including survey/perception data, test item detail and financial data.

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com

Back to Contents...

Lexia Learning Launches Lexia Reading Version 6.0

Lexia Learning Systems has announced the launch of Lexia Reading Version 6.0. The enhanced version of Lexia’s software makes implementation faster and easier. Lexia’s new Auto Placement functionality helps students to quickly begin using Lexia Reading at their individually suited skill level; while new Auto Promotion functionality automatically advances students to increasingly challenging levels of Lexia Reading. In addition, command-line installation makes software distribution simpler for school IT directors, according to the announcement. 

Lexia Reading is designed to be an essential part of reading instruction for students from pre-K to adult. Lexia’s Auto Placement provides an automated way of precisely placing students at the correct level. The first time that students login to the program, they will spend approximately 10 minutes completing a series of selected activities from grade-appropriate skills programs, which will determine the areas in which each individual student needs practice and the level at which they should begin using Lexia Reading. 

Lexia Reading’s new Auto Promotion functionality promotes students through each program, from Early Reading to Primary Reading and from Primary Reading to Strategies for Older Students, enabling students to work with more independence. Teachers can monitor student progress using Lexia’s robust reporting system, and dedicate more time to those students with the greatest needs, the announcement states.

Installation of Lexia Reading has also become easier. With command-line installation (Windows), school IT directors can more easily distribute the software to multiple computers.

Version 6.0 also provides a more engaging experience for students, with congratulatory screens and streamlined and simplified program design. In addition, students spend more time-on-task with simplified student login.

Source: Lexia Learning Systems, Inc., www.lexialearning.com

Back to Contents...

Funds For Learning Announces Findings from National E-rate Survey

Funds For Learning, an E-rate funding compliance services firm, has announced the results of the Second Annual National E-rate Survey. Funds For Learning conducted a nationwide survey of E-rate applicants to assess their opinions of the E-rate program. Hundreds of applicants took part in the survey, which consisted of a short questionnaire and a group discussion open to all participants.


To provide a valid year-over-year comparison of responses, Funds For Learning asked many of the same questions as last year. The company covered topics such as Program Management, Program Outcomes and Learning & Managing the E-rate process. Funds For Learning also included a new section of questions addressing the Beneficiary Audit program, which has received a lot of attention from E-rate stakeholders over the past year.

Program Management
Opinions of E-rate program management have improved dramatically over the last year. Nearly 73 percent of people who expressed an opinion about the management of the E-rate program gave positive marks to the Federal Communications Commission and the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company, an increase over last year's 65.5 percent. Those who strongly agree that the E-rate program is well-managed increased from 14 percent to 20 percent in the same time period, while those who strongly disagree dropped from 10 percent to 7 percent.

Program Outcomes

The E-rate program is meeting its goal of connecting schools and libraries to the internet. The majority of survey respondents, 71 percent, believe that their organization has more classrooms connected to the internet than would be the case if the E-rate program did not exist. In last year's survey, only 59 percent of respondents expressed this belief. Significantly, more than half of those surveyed thought that their organization would not be able to maintain their level of classroom connectivity without E-rate funding.

 

Learning & Managing the E-rate Process
The survey revealed that 57 percent of participating organizations have just one person managing the E-rate process. Applicants agree that all phases of the E-rate process are equally cumbersome to learn, and also concede to spending more time on E-rate issues than they did a year ago. The number of hours increases proportionally with the amount of funding requested each year. To cope with the administrative overhead, applicants enlist outside resources to help manage the E-rate process. Forty-six percent of applicants requesting more than $100,000 in E-rate discounts each year use a professional E-rate consultant.

Audits
Fifteen percent of survey respondents indicate that they have undergone an audit within the last two years. Of these audited applicants, 72.5 percent had no findings as a result of their audit. For the remaining group, failure to properly retain E-rate related documentation was the most common audit finding. Most applicants feel that the amount of effort required to respond to an audit is disproportionate to the E-rate funding received, but agree that auditors conduct themselves professionally and communicate well with applicants.

 

Survey results are available on the Funds For Learning Web site, and will be sent to members of Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company's Schools and Libraries Division. As with last year's survey, the feedback garnered will help shape the future of the program, and will lead to changes and improvements that will benefit the entire E-rate community.

 

To download a full copy of the survey results, visit www.fundsforlearning.com.


Source: Funds For Learning, www.fundsforlearning.com

Back to Contents...

ePals Partners With Columbia-Based Foundation to Expand Spanish Language Focus of the ePals Community

ePals, Inc., has formed a strategic partnership with the Gabriel Piedrahita-Uribe Foundation, based in Cali, Colombia, designed to bring high quality learning resources, safe communication tools, and collaborative experiences to Spanish-speaking educators and their students around the world. 

 

This partnership will combine the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)-focused content of the Foundation's website (www.eduteka.org), with a set of newly enabled capabilities on ePals.com, so that educators and their students can more easily connect, match, and collaborate in Spanish for professional development, to share best practices, and to collaborate on learning topics of shared interest.

 

The ePals Spanish language portal (currently in beta at www.epals.com/bienvenido/) is intended to foster a vibrant learning community of educators and learners from the Spanish-speaking world, allowing them to create ePals profiles, match and collaborate with classrooms worldwide, contribute engaging content, and participate in discussions and collaborative projects. Available at no cost, the community is an open environment where discussions can grow organically around ideas and common goals, with an initial focus on ways Spanish-speaking educators can effectively use ICTs to engage students and improve educational achievement.

 

The primary goal of the Gabriel Piedrahita-Uribe Foundation is to promote the improvement of education for disadvantaged and underserved children, specifically in Spanish-speaking countries, through the effective integration and use of ICTs in the curriculum.

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

Back to Contents...

OnCourse Systems for Education Announces Enhancements to OnCourse Lesson Planner

OnCourse Systems for Education has announced enhancements to its OnCourse Lesson Planner solution for the 2009-2010 school year.

 

Offered through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, the new enhancements are part of the annual subscription fee. SaaS provides a predictable, upfront cost and only requires an Internet connection, eliminating the need for school districts to maintain and update the software in-house. Available in August 2009, the new version of Lesson Planner offers the following new or enhanced features:

 * Curriculum Portal - This optional module can be used by school districts to safely store and distribute curriculum materials. With its integrated security system, users can securely and easily grant access to curriculum documents via an intuitive user interface. It also features a built-in version control system.

* Power Standards - Administrators and Curriculum Coordinators can designate "power standards" so that teachers can focus on standards that are most important.

* Student Standards Reporting - By using Lesson Planner in conjunction with OnCourse Student Stats, reports detailing the standards taught to a particular student for a specified date range can be generated.

* Class Section Based Reporting - Teachers are able to specify what classes a particular lesson is for and run reports that detail standards taught by the class section level. Lesson Planner's scope and sequence feature also allows teachers to select particular class sections.

* User Interface Enhancements - Teachers can now further customize the setup of their planner and take advantage of the increased speed of entering lesson plans online.

* Enhanced Calendars - The new interface for the calendars provides greater flexibility for the user in scheduling of events.

OnCourse Systems for Education is a provider of web-based, enterprise-wide K-12 technology solutions that streamline and automate educational processes for teachers and administrators in public and private school districts. OnCourse Lesson Planner, a web-based tool that automates the creation, management and sharing of lesson plans, has more than 100,000 users nationwide. Other online solutions include OnCourse Student Information System (SIS), OnCourse Grade Book, OnCourse Student Stats and OnCourse Discipline System.

Source: OnCourse Systems for Education, www.oncoursesystems.com

Back to Contents...
 
[Newsletters] [Home]
 
Blank gif