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February 16, 2010

Table of Contents

World Book Introduces The World Book Encyclopedia 2010
Promethean Announces 'English Grammar II Essential' Course
Promethean Launches Test Prep Course
netTrekker and NSTA Partner to Offer Professional Development Resources to Improve K-12 Science Teaching
Free Resources: Shmoop's Learning Guides for Black History Month
Lexia Learning Expands Scripted Instruction and Offline Practice Tools
Follett Digital Resources Signs Five More Publishers To eBook Distribution Agreements

World Book Introduces The World Book Encyclopedia 2010

World Book, Inc. has announced publication of  the World Book Encyclopedia 2010. The latest version includes thousands of new and revised articles across all disciplines and topics.

Highlights of the 22-volume The World Book Encyclopedia include new and expanded articles on topics ranging from health, such as binge eating and the swine flu, to entertainment, including rock music and television, to civil rights, including the Emmett Till case. Among the many biographies added to the new edition are Cuban leader Raúl Castro, basketball star LeBron James, Canadian political leader Michael Ignatieff, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, and musical entertainer Kanye West.

The World Book Encyclopedia content is carefully crafted to make sure it is appropriate to a wide range of readers and clearly and consistently written, according to the announcement. Features and tools, such as outlines and timelines, make the content more useful and enhance retention. More than 27,500 rich photographs and illustrations deliver additional information and visual understanding.

The World Book Web, World Book's online information portal, includes reference collections which offer all the articles in the print edition as well as thousands more from World Book's contributors. The World Book Web also offers access to additional resources, including an online atlas, pop-up dictionary, homework help and study aids, and multimedia resources along with teacher resources and curriculum correlations for educators.

The World Book Encyclopedia 2010 (978-0-7166-0110-4) is available now from the school and library sales force at 800-975-3250 (U.S.) or 800-837-5365 (Canada) and from the school and library ordering site (www.worldbookonline.com/sales) as well as the company's online store (http://store.worldbook.com/).

Source: World Book, Inc., www.worldbook.com/

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Promethean Announces 'English Grammar II Essential' Course

Promethean has announced a new collection of interactive grammar courses designed to help students develop critical language arts and writing skills. The new English Grammar II Essential course is being offered through a strategic partnership between Promethean Planet and Core Learning.

The course has 41 lessons that explain sentence structure and development, punctuation and capitalization as well as how to properly use speech when writing. Different course activities allow students to participate in the classroom using the ActivPen, ActivBoard, and a learner response system such as ActivExpression or ActiVote. Each lesson includes notes for teachers to help guide instruction, and pre-built assessments designed for the interactive whiteboard help teachers gauge how well students understand the concepts as they are being taught.

A free lesson from the course can be downloaded online at www.prometheanplanet.com/server.php?show=ConGenericProduct.339. The course can be purchased and downloaded individually or as a complete program at the Promethean Planet Shop online store for educators.

Source: Promethean, www.prometheanworld.com

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Promethean Launches Test Prep Course

Promethean, in collaboration with the Chicago International Charter School (CICS), has announced the launch of the Preparing for Standardized Tests program, which is designed to improve students' performance on the reading and math sections of the PSAT, ACT, and SAT exams.

Using the Preparing for Standardized Tests program, students can practice how to answer questions from standardized test using the guided practice lessons and the learning tools of Promethean's ActivClassroom. Every week, they complete two essential skills lessons and answer the corresponding practice questions that are presented in a formal testing format.

Preparing for Standardized Tests extends CICS' ACT Practice Tests, an earlier series of test preparation course developed by the school. In creating the new program, CICS licensed its intellectual property from their tests and consulted on the development of the core content of the lessons. In keeping with the mission of CICS to prepare all students with a college preparatory education, this new interactive whiteboard program fully utilizes the interactive power of ActivInspire software and the ActivExpression learner response systems from Promethean.

Lessons can be purchased and downloaded individually or as a complete program at Promethean Planet, an online store where educators can find a wide variety of digital content, including ActivInspire, the software needed to run this program on interactive whiteboards. A free lesson and preview of Preparing for Standardized Tests can be found online at www.prometheanplanet.com/server.php?show=ConGenericProduct.349.

Source: Promethean: www.prometheanworld.com

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netTrekker and NSTA Partner to Offer Professional Development Resources to Improve K-12 Science Teaching

netTrekker has partnered with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) (www.nsta.org/) to offer a complete package of instructional and professional development resources designed to help K-12 teachers increase their science-content proficiency and improve their teaching skills.

Through the partnership, schools and districts can purchase a package of professional development resources from the NSTA Learning Center (http://learningcenter.nsta.org/) along with their netTrekker subscription. K-12 science teachers can access NSTA's online professional development resources within their netTrekker search results to immediately find the support they need, and enhance their subject-area knowledge and instructional skills on the specific science topics that they're teaching.


The NSTA Learning Center resources provide a rich set of self-paced professional development activities and experiences for science educators at the elementary, middle, and high school levels to meet a variety of adult learning styles and build on basic levels of content knowledge. The Center provides more than 4,400 multimedia resources, including:

Science Objects - Two-hour online inquiry-based learning experiences that teachers can use to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept. Topics are based on the science literacy goal in the national standards and tied to state standards.

SciPacks - 10-hour online interactive courses, aligned with the national science education standards, that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. Each pack includes an email content mentor to address individual questions, a pedagogical component to assist in translating the content for the classroom, and provides an opportunity for teachers to demonstrate their knowledge through a final assessment.

SciGuides - Thematically aligned websites, lesson plans, student work samples, simulations, and other classroom resources for science teachers interested in integrating online content into their teaching.

Web Seminar Archives - Downloadable archives of NSTA's 60 to 90-minute live professional development web seminars that allow participants to learn from nationally acclaimed experts, NSTA Press authors, scientists, engineers, and education specialists from NSTA partner organizations.

Ebook Chapters and Journal Articles - Selected collection of materials from NSTA Press, including 181 ebook chapters and more than 2,700 journal articles from four NSTA journals.

The netTrekker NSTA Learning Center package will be available this spring. netTrekker subscribers will be able to access a select portion of NSTA Learning Center resources in their search results as part of their netTrekker subscription, or they can opt to upgrade to access the full suite.

Source: netTrekker, www.nettrekker.com

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Free Resources: Shmoop's Learning Guides for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Shmoop, a Silicon Valley-based learning resource website, has compiled 47 free learning guides for high school students. Shmoop salutes those - from the biggest names to the most ordinary people - who've shaped the African American experience over nearly 400 years. Those highlighted include David Walker, Toni Morrison, Malcolm X, and Jay-Z, among others.

Shmoop offers free Learning Guides in seven subjects: literature, poetry, bestsellers, U.S. history, civics, biography, and music. Shmoop uses a conversational tone in combination with pop culture, trivia and humor to help make topics approachable and relevant to high school students. Shmoop Learning Guides are written by educators and experts, and contain analysis, questions, quotes, and multimedia for each topic.

Shmoop also offers Teacher's Editions for 18 of its Learning Guides, including Hamlet and Twilight. Its Teacher's Editions provide free access to standards-based activities and related interdisciplinary readings. Premium teacher resources are also available, including discussion and essay questions, quizzes, and activities for relating the topic to current events and pop culture.

For more information on Shmoop's Black History Month learning guides, visit http://blog.shmoop.com/2010/02/01/black-history-month-2010/.

Source: Shmoop, www.shmoop.com

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Lexia Learning Expands Scripted Instruction and Offline Practice Tools

Lexia Learning Systems has expanded its offering of "Lexia Lessons" and "Lexia Skill Builders" as a part of its Lexia Reading program. The program includes targeted practice, embedded assessment, scripted lesson plans, and offline practice to help students at all reading levels achieve proficiency.

Lexia Reading features a focused and intensive method for helping students maximize learning time for key reading skills, while providing educators with ongoing assessment and dynamic data to continually make decisions for differentiated instruction, according to the announcement. The program offers age-appropriate support for students with three levels of targeted support: Early Reading (pre-K and kindergarten), Primary Reading (grades 1-4), and Strategies for Older Students (grades 4-12).

Lexia Lessons provide teachers with scripted lesson plans to support students who are struggling with specific skills. Using Lexia's reports, teachers can easily identify students' areas of weakness and use the targeted instructional strategies of Lexia Lessons to help students master concepts. Recently expanded to include support for Early Reading as well as Primary Reading, there are now 21 sets of Lexia Lessons available to support students in key skill development areas.

Lexia Skill Builders offer students an opportunity to develop reading skills using offline practice sheets. Lexia now provides 39 sets of Skill Builder activities for Primary Reading and Strategies for Older Students. In total, this provides teachers hundreds of print-based activities including word hunts, matching games, and writing practice to supplement instruction and skill development in class or outside the classroom.

For more information about Lexia Reading, visit www.lexialearning.com/products/index.php

Source: Lexia Learning, www.lexialearning.com/

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Follett Digital Resources Signs Five More Publishers To eBook Distribution Agreements

Follett Digital Resources has announced that five additional publishers have signed major eBook distribution agreements with the company.

With these agreements, a total of more than 62,000 K-12 and public library titles are now available for purchase online through parent company Follett's ecommerce sites, Titlewave and TitleTales.

Here is a closer look at the five publishers that have recently signed eBook distribution agreements:

  • Universum Communications, Philadelphia. Through its Insider Guide series and two websites (www.wetfeet.com and www.internshipprograms.com), Universum provides profiles of companies, careers and industries to guide job seekers toward finding the right career, industry, company and job.
  • ipicturebooks, New York and Brick Tower Press, New York. Both ipicturebooks and Brick Tower Press are book packagers with licensed digital books from Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Dutton, Scholastic and Reader's Digest.
  • Phoenix Books & Audio, Beverly Hills, Calif. Phoenix Books & Audio is a producer of books and audio books, with everything ranging from mystery and suspense to self-motivation and autobiographies to fiction and non-fiction.
  • Lobster Press, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Lobster Press is an award-winning Canadian publisher of children's publications.

The addition of titles from these five publishers makes Follett's eBook program more valuable to the more than 60,000 K-12 schools and libraries Follett serves. Follett now offers eBook titles from more than 300 publishers.  

The Follett Digital Resources eBook distribution system uses five key pieces of technology to deliver eBooks:

  1. Virtual Warehousing - Technology that holds eBooks at the ready until sold to a Follett school or library customer.
  2. Preview - Functionality that allows buyers and patrons to preview pages of an eBook prior to purchase.
  3. Digital Rights Management - Ensures intellectual property is protected as eBooks are distributed and viewed.
  4. Virtual Shelves - A virtual space for each institution's purchased Follett eBooks where they are poised for checkout and reading by school and library patrons.
  5. Follett Digital Readers - eBook readers for viewing and interacting with eBooks online and offline once they have been purchased by a Follett school or public library customer and opened or downloaded by a library patron.

When a school or library buys an eBook title from Follett, the title is moved to a virtual shelf where it resides until a school or library patron checks it out. Digital rights management technology ensures that once a title is checked out by one person, it can't be checked out by anyone else until it has been returned to the virtual shelf. Where possible, the eBook distribution system is tightly connected with leading integrated library systems, allowing searching, accessing and returning eBooks to become part of the library's standard circulation process.

Source: Follett Digital Resources, www.follettdigital.com

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