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January 19, 2010

Table of Contents

SIIA Announces Opening of 2010 Vision K-20 Survey
GradeCam Corporation Announces New Version of GradeCam Online
MIND Research Announces ST Math: Integrated Instructional System, ST Math: Fluency
STI Adds "Go Green" Features to InformationNOW Student Information System
Heinle ELT, ePals Launch Virtual Community for English Language Learners
Pearson Unveils Get Ready to Read!-Revised
Learning Plans on Demand Releases Enhanced Diagnostic Assessments
Inspiration 9 Unveiled by Inspiration Software
H.W. Wilson Announces 16th Edition of Fiction Core Collection
MMIS Xtra News: Free January/February 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

SIIA Announces Opening of 2010 Vision K-20 Survey

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has announced the opening of the third annual Vision K-20 Survey. Sponsored by the organization's Education Division, the Vision K-20 Survey gives educational institutions an opportunity to take a short, online survey to evaluate their current technology use. Participants who complete the survey by Feb. 24, 2010, will have a chance to be founding contributors to the soon-to-be launched SIIA Vision K-20 Video Portal.

Focusing on goals outlined in the Vision roadmap, including 21st Century tools, accessibility, differentiated learning, assessment tools, and enterprise support, institutions - schools, districts, colleges, and universities - will be able to use the Vision's benchmarks to monitor their progress, and can complete the survey periodically as they work toward the Vision for K-20 in education.

SIIA member organizations worked together to develop the Vision K-20 initiative to serve as a guide for educational institutions to implement technology district and campus-wide. This survey aims to collect additional data that will broadly assist educators in taking this important project to the next level of knowledge and success.

To learn more about this initiative and to participate in the 2010 Vision K-20 Survey, visit www.siia.net/VisionK20/. The survey will close May 15, 2010.

SIIA appreciates the support of its partners and their commitment to improving students' preparedness for an innovative and global economy. Among the many partners committed to supporting the Vision K-20 Survey are eSchool Media, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA), JDL Horizons, WeTheTeachers, WeAreTeachers, and edWeb.

Source: The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), www.siia.net/

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GradeCam Corporation Announces New Version of GradeCam Online

GradeCam Corporation has announced the new version of GradeCam Online, giving districts an easy-to-use, affordable tool for teachers to conduct daily, weekly and monthly assessments and to collect usable information in time to affect the learning in progress, according to the announcement. 

When a paper-based test is scanned by a document or web camera, GradeCam Online compresses the image and sends it to a server for analysis by its proprietary advanced image recognition code. Item-by-item results are displayed immediately and stored for generating real-time reports, and any reports needed in the future. GradeCam Online also integrates with all electronic grade books.

GradeCam, when paired with an affordable web or document camera, allows classroom teachers to scan and grade multiple-choice tests and other assignments instantly. Regular assessments provide a framework for understanding each student's challenges and successes; the assessment data provided by GradeCam allows a teacher to tailor instruction to meet each student's learning needs.

GradeCam Online, the web-based version, also is designed to allow textbook publishers and content developers to integrate its technology into their offerings. For example, executives at Illuminate Education will be including GradeCam Online capability with their product offerings.

GradeCam Online is available at $1.50 per student per year.

Source: GradeCam Corporation, www.gradecam.com

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MIND Research Announces ST Math: Integrated Instructional System, ST Math: Fluency

MIND Research Institute has announced their new web-delivered ST Math: Integrated Instructional System featuring their neuroscience-based instructional math software for K-5. The announcement was coupled with the introduction of their new ST Math: Fluency software for basic math facts.

Both incorporate MIND's visual approach using spatial temporal reasoning. This game design continues to be rap­idly adopted across the country, and to deliver remarkable results for schools, according to the announcement.

ST Math: Integrated Instructional System

The new web-delivered ST Math: Integrated Instruction­al System marks a new category of comprehensive, integrated teaching and learning tools. The formerly "supplemental" instructional software is now woven into core instruction for both teachers and students - complementing any third-party in­structional materials. The new system includes online professional development modules for their use. A dedicated support staff and regional or onsite teacher briefings round out the math solution.

The system combines enhanced math content from MIND's ST Math software with assessment, improved student reporting, and new features and functions for teachers and students. Teachers and students can access the system in the classroom, lab, or at home, to maximize learning time. The system will be available to schools as a site license in the summer of 2010.

The core of the learning system is over 200 games, which present vir­tual manipulatives that illustrate math standards, help the student visualize problem structure, and efficiently identify paths to a solution. The learning system's new design is partially funded by grants from the Cisco Foundation. It adds multiple new layers to the core innovation of MIND's language independent math games.

Teachers have real-time access to a wide variety of data-driven reports to evaluate student mastery of standards, review individual student progress, identify where interventions are needed, and more. Within the system, they can assign students pre- and post-tests to assess math proficiency and learning, bring the software into a classroom setting on interactive whiteboards, realign content to complement their classroom instruction, customize lessons for groups of students, and assign homework.

The content is now more tightly integrated with state and national standards. All content is aligned to state math standards and reporting is in terms of percent mastery of the standards. Districts, schools, and teachers also now have the ability to order and sequence the math content to match their textbook, pacing guide, or benchmark schedule.

ST Math: Fluency

ST Math: Fluency helps students build math fluency - defined by the National Math Panel as accurate, quick, and effortless retrieval of basic math facts. The use of animated virtual manipulatives enables an intuitive process of learning that makes basic math fact recall effortless. This automaticity frees students' working memory for problem-solving.

MIND's visual approach ensures that students memorize their addition, subtrac­tion, multiplication, and division facts with a solid conceptual understanding of the operations, according to the announcement.

ST Math: Fluency helps students gain fluency by incorporating visual proofs, adaptive train­ing techniques, and animated informative feedback. For basic math facts a student doesn't yet know, an animated visual proof is used to show the value of the fact. Instead of passively watching the animation, students actively manipulate the pieces and perform the proof themselves. By actively controlling the proof, students are able to see that it is built on meaning and logic instead of simply being something to memorize.

ST Math: Fluency uses adaptive training and continuous assessment to ensure students receive the volume and timing of practice they need to develop fluency in basic math facts. The soft­ware accelerates a student past content that they demonstrate fluency in, while periodically probing that content to ensure that fluency is maintained. Built-in assessment detects if a student needs ad­ditional practice in a particular area and adapts to provide the student with the practice they need.

This new fluency program, targeted at grades K-5, is an option delivered on the ST Math: Integrated Instructional System. It will be available to schools as a site license this summer.

Source: MIND Research Institute, www.mindresearch.net/

 

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STI Adds "Go Green" Features to InformationNOW Student Information System

STI has announced it is offering new features through its web-based student information system, InformationNOW, intended to help schools save time, resources, and money on mailing information to parents and guardians. The new set of features, called "Go Green," is provided with InformationNOW at no additional charge to schools or parents.

Schools incur significant costs when producing paper-based communications to parents. Costs for paper, printing and postage can add up quickly when sending out information to several thousand parents and guardians throughout the school year. Schools can save an estimated $5,000 per 500 students by switching to online communications with parents. With more than 70 percent of U.S. households with internet access, according to a 2009 Nielson survey, online communication is now a viable alternative for schools and parents.

Schools nationwide are considering the benefits of moving toward a paperless educational environment, not only to save costs and energy, but to embrace the reality of living in a digital age where banking, utility payments, phone conversations, and more are all occurring online. Important documents no longer need to be mailed; they can be made available in secure electronic formats accessible anytime, anywhere. STI is committed to providing an innovative, cost-effective and eco-friendly product for K-12 education with InformationNOW with Go Green.


Using Go Green, parents can elect to receive student report cards, progress reports, school notices, and other communications through the online portal in InformationNOW. Email alerts notify "Green" parents when new documents are ready to be viewed online. Parents and students can also request online courses via the Web portal rather than filling out paper forms.

In the spring, additional Go Green features will be available, including the option for parents to receive automatic alerts through an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed in their preferred RSS readers. 

InformationNOW is a Web-based system that offers a complete, integrated solution for the collection, analysis and reporting of student data, accessible through a customizable portal for each user. It streamlines school administrative functions and allows administrators, teachers and parents easy access to information. For more information, visit www.sti-k12.com.

Source: STI, www.sti-k12.com

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Heinle ELT, ePals Launch Virtual Community for English Language Learners

Heinle ELT, part of Cengage Learning and a provider of materials for English language teaching and learning, and ePals, Inc., provider of a social network optimized for K-12 learning, have announced a partnership to create the Heinle Community, a safe and secure virtual workspace designed for learners to practice English through collaboration on projects in an authentic learning environment.

Members of the Heinle Community can connect and practice English language skills with other students and instructors worldwide using the "Heinle Student Projects" section. Projects combine Heinle's language learning content with other high-interest topics, and all projects can be incorporated into each classroom's online workspace. The community's "Connect" feature allows teachers to identify classrooms around the world to partner with on selected projects. Educators also can connect in the "Teachers' Lounge" where they can exchange project ideas, share best practices and explore professional development opportunities.


Each project and classroom workspace provides members of the Heinle Community with a range of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration - including blogs, forums, media galleries, and wikis - giving learners the opportunity to use English in a natural and authentic setting. Additional resources include detailed instructions, teacher tips, a unique project picture dictionary, question bank, and access to the online Newbury Dictionary.

Within the Heinle Community, students are granted controlled, moderator-enabled access to their classroom workspace. To ensure student safety, the ePals platform on which the Heinle Community is based, is both TRUSTe verified and COPPA compliant, and utilizes the latest technologies to ensure learners' safety, including inappropriate language filters, content moderation, controlled connections, and role-based permissions.

A free 6-month membership for select customers, beginning on Jan. 15, 2010, will offer teachers and students full access to the Heinle Community. The commercial launch will be announced this summer as a subscription-based service. For more information, or to participate in the free trial membership, please visit https://heinle.epals.com/.

Source: ePals, Inc., www.epals.com/; Cengage Learning, www.cengage.com/

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Pearson Unveils Get Ready to Read!-Revised

Pearson has announced the launch of Get Ready to Read!-Revised (Get Ready to Read!-R), an early literacy screening tool. Developed by Grover Whitehurst, Ph.D., and Christopher Lonigan, Ph.D., for the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) (http://www.ld.org/) and now supported by norm-referenced standardized scores, this research-based screening tool will give early childhood educators and clinicians the information that they need to put young learners on the path to building a firm foundation in literacy skills, according to the Pearson announcement.

Get Ready to Read!-R takes 10-15 minutes per child to administer and is designed for use with children ages 3-5 years. The screening tool's 25 questions help identify what step, on a four-step continuum, a child has reached on the path to becoming a successful reader. The visual and auditory questions allow young learners to demonstrate their skills in print and book knowledge; phonological awareness; and phonics. The screening includes stimulus pictures included for both English- and Spanish-speaking children that come in a single presentation easel, designed to be durable under hard use in a preschool classroom. In addition, new items to the screening tool will help preschool educators and clinicians identify high-achieving children.

The enhanced Get Ready to Read!-R also includes tools for helping students who need extra assistance developing literacy skills with skill building activities and resources and a wide selection of educational activities, including interactive video games, on NCLD's early literacy website, http://www.getreadytoread.org/.

Source: Pearson Assessment & Information Group, www.pearsonassessments.com/

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Learning Plans on Demand Releases Enhanced Diagnostic Assessments

Learning Plans on Demand (LPOD) has announced the release of new diagnostic assessments that make the system easier to use and more helpful to teachers. With these new features, LPOD is a more powerful assessment tool that ties directly into hundreds of embedded tutorials for individualized learning.

Learning Plans on Demand is known by teachers for its ability to quickly make differentiated instructional plans based on individual student needs such as those required for "Response to Intervention" (RTI), the announcement states. The RTI process is normally very time-consuming because each student must be evaluated independently to find the objectives he or she doesn't understand and then a teacher must locate resources and tutorials to help them catch up to grade level.

Learning Plans on Demand automates the RTI process from the individual assessments to the generation of the learning plan itself and it does so for remediation or accelerated instruction, according to the announcement.

The new feature works quickly. For example, in the first week of school an eighth grade teacher might want to determine how well prepared her students are for pre-algebra. She can use LPOD to select a test of grade-level skills or for skills taught in earlier grades. With the results from LPOD, the teacher can then immediately select the missing objectives and the system prints out the necessary tutorials and practice activities.

Learning Plans on Demand includes assessments and tutorials for mathematics, language arts, reading, and science and at any grade level from kindergarten to high school exit exams including ACT, SAT, LTF and including specific courses like algebra, life science, physical science, geometry, and more.  All content and tutorials are aligned to state learning standards and the content of high-stakes assessments and high school exit exams. Test questions are available as constructed response (open-ended) or selected response (multiple-choice).

District and school-wide reporting features help administrators analyze curriculum gaps and school or district performance over a wide range of variables.

Source: Learning Plans on Demand, http://www.learningplansondemand.com/

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Inspiration 9 Unveiled by Inspiration Software

Inspiration Software, Inc., has unveiled Inspiration 9. With the ninth generation of its flagship software, the announcement states, the company is taking the proven ways that visual learning builds critical-thinking skills and improves student achievement in new directions, making the visual learning tool even more powerful. New capabilities in Inspiration 9, such as support for creating presentations and additional visual learning methodologies, provide an essential framework for thinking and help students develop 21st century skills.

New in Inspiration is the Presentation Manager, which students use to create organized presentations to communicate their knowledge and work. The Presentation Manager automatically creates bulleted slides and graphics from a student's diagram, mind map, or outline. Students use this as the starting point to build their oral presentation and handouts and then add slides, speaker notes, talking points, graphics, video, and sound to emphasize their points. Inspiration 9 ships with ready-made professional quality themes to develop a visually appealing presentation, or students can create their own themes to personalize their presentations. Once their presentation is complete, they can play it directly from Inspiration or from any Macintosh or Windows computer using the free Inspiration Presenter.

Inspiration also features a new visual view, Map View, which allows students to create and think in mind maps, another visual learning methodology that promotes better understanding of relationships and connections among ideas. Mind maps capture information in a natural, free- flowing style. With Map View, students build visual models, adding ideas branching off a central topic with just one click, and reorganize ideas by simply grafting one branch to another. Graphic images, colors and fonts allow learners to embellish, differentiate and emphasize their ideas. As with idea maps, concept maps, graphic organizers and other diagrams created with Inspiration, the process of building a mind map is fluid and visual, complementing the natural way that students think and expand on ideas, according to the announcement. Mind maps can be instantly transformed into outlines to support the writing process.

Inspiration 9 also provides:

More visual learning support in Diagram View to strengthen understanding, retention and communication:
§ New symbol libraries designed to support curriculum
§ A convenient way to label concept map links using common Linking Phrases to explain relationships easily
§ The ability to lock items so teachers can keep content in templates in place and be sure they aren't moved or deleted by students

More capabilities for organizing, outlining and writing in Outline View:
§ Students can now see symbols and link text in their outlines to make visual/written connections and to see additional relationships and connections between topics.
§ Multiple outline topics can be instantly combined into one topic using Combine Topics.
§ Long topics that contain multiple ideas can be quickly broken apart into separate topics using the Break Apart command.
§ Word and page requirements can be met with the new Word Count tool.

Through a special introductory offer available until June 30, 2010, upgrades to Inspiration 9 are available at a 55 percent savings over the regular suggested education price. Single license upgrades can be purchased for $29.95.

Under regular education pricing, single copies of Inspiration 9 are $69; five-computer license packs are $310; 10-computer license packs are $550; and 20-computer license packs are $895. Additional pricing is available for site licenses and larger volume purchases and upgrades. For a free 30-day trial of Inspiration 9, visit www.inspiration.com/freetrial. More information about Inspiration is available at www.inspiration.com/inspiration.

Source: Inspiration Software, Inc., www.inspiration.com

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H.W. Wilson Announces 16th Edition of Fiction Core Collection

H.W. Wilson has announced the new 16th Edition of Fiction Core Collection (formerly Fiction Catalog), a long-popular aid to collection development and maintenance, readers' advisory, and general reference. The new edition highlights more than 11,300 novels for adult readers, including analytic entries for novellas and novels published in composite works. Entries provide practical information for acquisitions librarians and collection managers: complete bibliographic data, price, descriptive annotations, and evaluative quotations from reviews when available. Both literary quality and popularity of the works were taken into account in preparing this up-to-date guide.

A standard in libraries for more than 60 years, Fiction Core Collection encompasses classic and contemporary works written in or translated into English, with the aim of representing a core list for libraries. Besides general fiction, the editor and advisors have made an extensive review of genre fiction--mystery, romance, westerns, and science fiction in particular--providing helpful core lists in those areas. Listings include both hardcover and paperback books.

Of the 11,300 titles in Fiction Core Collection, 16th Edition, close to 2,700 are new books published in the four years since the last edition (or older titles recommended by Wilson advisors). Also new in this edition: an asterisk in the bibliographic record (following the ISBN) identifies the most highly recommended titles. From 2011 through 2013, Fiction Core Collection, 16th Edition will be updated with three annual supplements (at no extra cost to subscribers), highlighting approximately 2,000 new titles.

The titles in this volume have been selected with the help of experienced librarians from select public library systems across the U.S.. Their choices reflect both reader interest and an evaluation of each book.

Fiction Core Collection is also available online as a WilsonWeb database, where it is continuously updated with new material and can be searched for "What's new?" at any time. WilsonWeb (the H.W. Wilson Company's reference database service), also allows searching in conjunction with other H.W. Wilson Core Collections, plus a host of other conveniences to aid in collection development, readers' advisory, and curriculum support.

Review copies are available. For more on the Wilson Core Collections, visit www.hwwilson.com/cat.

Source: H.W. Wilson, www.hwwilson.com

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MMIS Xtra News: Free January/February 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the January/February 2010 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to all the January/February 2010 reviews, the In the Spotlight story, and the cover story, Beaming the World Into Our Schools: Getting Into Interactive Videoconferencing.

Check out the full January/February 2010 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 January/February 2010 table of contents. They'll be available on a pay-to-view basis via Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral, powered by ProQuest. Check back soon.

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