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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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September 01, 2009

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Funds For Learning's Free Trial of E-rate Manager for Applicants
ITI Cross Links: Anti Google Book Settlement Organizations Band Together in Open Book Alliance
GigaTribe Announces 'Back to School' Features for Private, Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
Pearson Launches New Version of WriteToLearn
ePals Launches Upgraded Language Translation Tool
Netop Introduces MyVision Tools for Managing Classroom Technology

Free Resources: Funds For Learning's Free Trial of E-rate Manager for Applicants

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is in the process of improving its Schools and Libraries Division information technology systems. As part of this effort, several features on the organization's website will be unavailable from Wednesday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 13. To help applicants manage the E-rate process during this downtime, Funds For Learning, an E-rate funding compliance services firm, is offering a free trial of E-rate Manager for Applicants during the month of September.

 

According to USAC, the interactive areas of their website, in which applicants file forms and conduct searches, will be unavailable during the site maintenance. With E-rate Manager for Applicants, users will have the ability to quickly find the information that will be unavailable through the USAC website, including:

--Status and details about funding requests and commitments

--Dates and amounts of authorized reimbursements

--Copies of Form 470 and 471 paperwork as it appears on the USAC Web site

--SPIN contact information

--Billed entity numbers 


E-rate Manager for Applicants allows schools and libraries to track their E-rate funding information, create payment paperwork forms, and store documents throughout the entire E-rate application process, even during the downtime of the USAC website.

Applicants can take advantage of this free offer by visiting www.eratemanager.com/activate.


At the end of the free access period, users will be offered an annual subscription for E-rate Manager for Applicants at a price starting at $249 per user.


Source: Funds For Learning, LLC, www.fundsforlearning.com

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ITI Cross Links: Anti Google Book Settlement Organizations Band Together in Open Book Alliance

Information Today, Inc.'s news editor Paula Hane is monitoring and reporting on the Google book settlement and proceeding relating to it. Here's the opening of her August 27, 2009, NewsBreak story:

The countdown to the Oct. 7 court hearing on the Google Book settlement is on. The ground swell of discontent and opposition is growing stronger and louder as we approach the Sept. 4 deadline by which objections must be filed with the U.S. District Court judge who will decide the fate of the proposed settlement agreement between Google and the author and publisher groups that brought suit. It's no surprise that an official opposition coalition has now been formed, but it includes an unlikely assembly of major tech partners-Amazon, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. The just announced Open Book Alliance (www.openbookalliance.org) also includes library organizations, publishing groups, and nonprofits. Its purpose is to "counter the proposed Google Book Settlement in its current form."

Click HERE to link to Paula's complete story, "Anti Google Book Settlement Organizations Band Together in Open Book Alliance," in Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks.

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GigaTribe Announces 'Back to School' Features for Private, Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

GigaTribe, a free community file sharing software, has announced its new "Back to School" features. Safe and encrypted, GigaTribe.com’s peer-to-peer private online network now lets schools share classroom videos privately online with teachers. Another "Back to School" feature is the ability to share class documents as well as share course materials among teachers. Also, students use GigaTribe.com to remotely access their computers while on campus, at the library, or other WiFi locations; to view and share study materials, videos, and photos with other students and friends online with GigaTribe’s secure remote internet access.

 

In addition, GigaTribe recently announced its new DivX video streaming feature, which students can use to stream DivX videos online. With the new DivX video feature, users can view videos while they are still being transferred. Entire personal video libraries can be remotely accessed through the GigaTribe secure "Private Area" without delay and watched when traveling or away from their home or school, with only the need of a web browser.

 

GigaTribe "Ultimate" is priced at $4.99/month or $29.95 a year; GigaTribe Basic is available for free. See www.gigatribe.com for more information.

Source: GigaTribe, www.gigatribe.com

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Pearson Launches New Version of WriteToLearn

Pearson has launched the newest version of its Web-based writing and reading comprehension tool, WriteToLearn.

With WriteToLearn v5.3, students develop essay writing and summarization skills, and their improvement is measured by Pearson’s Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine. The KAT Engine is an automated assessment technology that evaluates the meaning of text, not just grammatical correctness or spelling.

In addition to choosing from more than 100 essay topics that come with WriteToLearn, teachers can now create their own topics to assign to their students. Beyond the broad assortment of essay writing activities in WriteToLearn, teachers can select from nearly 600 reading passages across subject areas for summary writing activities.

WriteToLearn 5.3 also provides students with increased support when writing summaries. Many of the summarization activities now include "hints" to help students identify the important ideas in a reading. Hints are text-specific questions that help scaffold student learning. When a student is struggling with a particular section, a hint is available to help the student focus on the main idea of that section. Teachers can control this feature, turning it on or off, as they feel appropriate.


All schools and districts with current WriteToLearn accounts will receive the updates free of charge. More information about WriteToLearn is available at www.writetolearn.net.

Source: Pearson, www.pearson.com

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ePals Launches Upgraded Language Translation Tool

ePals, Inc., has announced a major upgrade to ePals.com. In response to rapid international growth within the ePals Global Community, the company has expanded its instant translation tool to now comprise an additional 26 languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew, Polish, Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, Russian, and Vietnamese. Now offering 35 languages in total, the updated language translation tool allows more than 1,000 language pairs to be made between educators and students worldwide. The expansion encourages teachers and students from all parts of the world to connect and collaborate without language barriers.

The ePals Global Community of K-12 learners enables more than half a million educators and millions of students across 200 countries and territories to safely connect, exchange ideas, and work together, according to the announcement. Educators can access a variety of social networking tools and high quality content for free that engage students in collaboration with peers around the world. Ways for classrooms to connect include ePals SchoolM@il and Classroom Match. SchoolM@il allows teachers to moderate student communication between peers. It also is a school-safe email solution that includes an embedded instant translation function. Using Classroom Match, educators can locate other classrooms with whom to safely connect and collaborate. Search criteria include topic, country, language, age range, and others.

 

For more information about the ePals Global Community and to check out the updated language translation tool, visit www.epals.com/.

 

Source: ePals, www.epals.com

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Netop Introduces MyVision Tools for Managing Classroom Technology

Netop has announced the introduction of MyVision, an innovative classroom management solution that offers teachers an internet-accessible, easy-to-use, personalized approach to classroom management, according to the announcement.

Two versions are planned: MyVision Free, which enables teachers to supervise student computer use and will be available for free download, and MyVision Basic, which features tools for guiding student learning on computers. Using MyVision Basic, teachers can supervise student computer use, blank student screens, project demonstrations, and turn internet access on or off with the click of a button. MyVision supports both PCs and Macs. 

MyVision is the first in a series of next-generation products to be offered by Netop’s Education Solutions team, which was formed when Netop acquired GenevaLogic in July 2008. GenevaLogic developed Vision6 classroom management software. Netop is known for remote-control solutions and offers Netop School software, which is a solution for classroom management. Netop will continue to offer both Vision6 and Netop School.

Free trials of the beta version of MyVision Basic are now available for download at www.netop.com/myvisionbeta and include a free subscription valid through December 2009. A one-year subscription for MyVision Basic will be available in the U.S. in late 2009.

Source: Netop Solutions A/S, www.netop.com

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