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March 16, 2010

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Net Cetera and AdMongo from the Federal Trade Commission
Free Resources: Teachscape’s ‘TEACHER AS HERO’ Program for Motivating Educators
Teachscape Launches Teachscape Instruction | Desktop
FileMaker Announces Release of FileMaker Pro 11
Math Solutions Launches ePD – Online Professional Development Provided by Experts in Math Instruction
Blackboard Introduces Blackboard Connect for Teachers
MMIS Xtra News: Free March/April 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Free Resources: Net Cetera and AdMongo from the Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission has recently made two free resources of interest to the K-12 education community available:

Net Cetera - a booklet and bookmark about social networking, cyberbullying, sexting, etc... Available at www.onguardonline.gov

Kids and parents have many ways of socializing and communicating online, but there are certain risks. A new booklet, Net Cetera, encourages parents, teachers, and librarians to reduce the risks by talking to kids about how they communicate - online and off - and helping them engage in conduct they can be proud of. The booklet covers what parents need to know, where to go for more information, and issues to raise with kids about living their lives online -- issues like social networking, sexting, cyberbullying, mobile phones, protecting the family computer, and parental controls. This resource was published in October 2009, and the FTC has given out over a million copies, including copies to school districts in Georgia, Texas, California, and Washington state and many libraries.

AdMongo - a new website/game about teaching advertising literacy to kids. Available at www.admongo.gov

Every day, kids are exposed to advertising - not just on TV and online, but on buses, buildings, and even inside their classrooms. Many ads target kids ages 8-12. Given what kids see and hear around them, it's important that they learn how to decode and understand ads. To help, the FTC created a campaign to teach kids about advertising. The core of the campaign is a fun (and "visually fabulous," according to the announcement!) website called Admongo.gov, which uses games to teach kids to apply critical thinking skills to answer a series of important questions when they see a product logo - on a package, on a commercial, in a program, as part of a game, or even on a tee-shirt:

Who is responsible for the ad? What is the ad actually saying? What does the ad want me to do? By applying the information they learn through the Admongo curriculum, kids learn to recognize ads, understand them, and make better informed decisions in the marketplace.

The FTC is working with the Young Adult Library Services Division of the ALA to alert their members to these resources, encouraging library media specialists to use them in their programs.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, http://ftc.gov/

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Free Resources: Teachscape’s ‘TEACHER AS HERO’ Program for Motivating Educators

To help educators rejuvenate their passion for teaching, Teachscape's higher education division, in partnership with Cardinal Stritch University and Marygrove University, is offering free face-to-face events to learn what quality traits make a teacher a hero to students.

The Spring 2010 TEACHER AS HERO (TAH) schedule will offer face-to-face meetings in select cities nationwide. Teachscape uses these events to foster motivational conversations that will invigorate an educator's interest and passion for the teaching profession. These informal professional development opportunities allow educators to join a conversation based around transformative classroom moments. TAH provides educators with an open forum to discuss teaching traits, to learn about strategies to help maintain joy in teaching and combat teacher fatigue, and to share stories that make teachers everyday heroes. Each session also discusses online master's degree programs that enable teachers to continue their education and fulfill their teaching aspirations.

The Spring 2010 TEACHER AS HERO schedule is as follows:

March events include March 18, 2010 in Hackensack, New Jersey, and March 24, 2010, in Troy, Michigan.

April events include April 19, 2010, in Prince William County, Virginia; April 20, 2010, in Halifax, Virginia; and April 27, 2010, in Mankato, Minnesota. (Event information to be posted after March 17, 2010.)

 A TAH event in May is being held on May 19, 2010, in Morris County, New Jersey.

For complete information on TAH including dates, times, and locations, visit www.teachscape.com/TAH.

Source: Teachscape, www.teachscape.com

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Teachscape Launches Teachscape Instruction | Desktop

Teachscape has expanded the number of devices usable for collecting classroom walkthrough (CWT) data with the launch of Teachscape Instruction | Desktop. The application allows users to gather instruction data through classroom walkthroughs on a netbook, laptop, or tablet PC, with or without an internet connection. This application expands the number of devices that can be used for in-field observations and allows educators to upload data to the district's reporting tool whenever they have access to the internet.

Used in conjunction with Teachscape's Classroom Walkthrough program and Data Collection Tool, the Teachscape Instruction | Desktop application was created to help solve the issue of limited internet access in schools. While offline, desktop users can enter and save walkthrough data. Saved responses may be edited at any time before being uploaded to the Teachscape server. The data will be stored on the device until the computer is within range of a wireless or Ethernet connection, at which time the data will be uploaded to the Teachscape servers. In addition, the new application will assist users who prefer a larger screen format to the smaller display characteristics of handheld devices.

Teachscape Instruction | Desktop comes on the heels of Teachscape Instruction | Mobile for the iPhone and iTouch which launched in February 2010. Additional devices usable with the Data Collection Tool include BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile.

Administrators use CWT to fill out surveys of instructional look forms in the classroom. Data from the surveys is then combined to look for trends in instruction. With Teachscape Instruction | Desktop, users can view required or unanswered questions on a survey, view more options for pages, and use filters to quickly access surveys

Teachscape Instruction | Desktop is currently available at no additional charge for Teachscape CWT license holders. The application is available on Windows XP (SP3) and Windows 7 for PC Netbooks and PC Laptops. For Macs, users can access the application using MAC OSX. For more information on Teachscape's offerings, visit www.teachscape.com. To download the Teachscape Instruction | Desktop application, visit  http://download.teachscape.com/instruction.

Source: Teachscape, www.teachscape.com

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FileMaker Announces Release of FileMaker Pro 11

FileMaker, Inc. has announced the immediate availability of FileMaker Pro 11. With its new features, including charting, "on the fly" reporting, a new Quick Find capability, and productivity tools for easier database creation, FileMaker Pro 11 makes using databases easier and quicker than ever, according to the announcement.

FileMaker Pro 11 offers a selection of professional-quality charts (pie, bar, area, and line), empowering users to visualize, evaluate, and report on data within a new or existing layout. For example, users can add a pie chart tab within a FileMaker Pro layout to see data depicted graphically any way they chose - weekly, monthly, regionally, and more.   FileMaker Charts can also be published to the web using FileMaker Pro Instant Web Publishing. FileMaker Pro 11 users can now create "on the fly" Quick Reports in a spreadsheet-like format to set up subtotals and totals similar to pivot tables in spreadsheets. A new streamlined Layout/Report Assistant guides users through the process of setting up reports with grouped data.

FileMaker Pro 11 provides a variety of new tools to help boost productivity and enable users to build and use databases more easily. New FileMaker Pro 11 productivity features include:

  • Quick Find, with iTunes style that searches across all fields within a layout
  • Inspector, a tool palette that controls layout objects and properties in one place
  • Object Badges to visually identify scripted fields in layouts with color-coded icons
  • An improved Quick Start Screen to help users create new databases, manage favorite files and find helpful resources
  • Text highlighting to emphasize key words or numbers in fields

FileMaker Pro 11 also delivers new ways to collaborate with its Snapshot Link that flags a specific set of records at a point in time, preserving the same layout, view and sort order. Any changes made to the file are automatically updated in the database. The Snapshot Link file can be emailed to anyone who has FileMaker Pro 11 for collaboration. FileMaker Pro 11also introduces Recurring Import, a new feature that allows users to establish an automatic import from Excel, CSV or TAB.

All FileMaker 11 products are immediately available. FileMaker Pro 11 is $299 /$179 upgrade (U.S. suggested list price) and FileMaker Pro 11 Advanced is $499/$299 upgrade (U.S. suggested list price). FileMaker Server 11 is $999/$599 upgrade (U.S. suggested list price) and FileMaker Server 11 Advanced is $2,999/$1,799 upgrade (U.S. suggested list price). Additional pricing and upgrade information is available at www.filemaker.com.

For a limited time, FileMaker extends upgrade pricing to licensed users of FileMaker 8 and 8.5 products. This offer expires Sept. 23, 2010, and details are at www.filemaker.com/purchase/store/promos_upgrade.html.

Source: FileMaker, Inc., www.filemaker.com

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Math Solutions Launches ePD – Online Professional Development Provided by Experts in Math Instruction

Math Solutions, a provider of K-8 mathematics professional development services, has announced ePD, a web-based professional development resource that is intended to greatly increase the availability of quality instruction for educators without requiring them to be released from the classroom.
 
With ePD, educators at all levels have timely access to the experts in mathematics instruction and learning. ePD delivers on-going support and exposure to relevant content at different points throughout the year. ePD products and services include:
 
· Webinars: Providing broad access to research-based strategies

· Coaching: Supporting teachers in continuous learning

· Ask Me Now: Virtual office hours ensuring access to expert help just when it is needed

· Video: Assisting districts in sharing best practices

According to Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of the National Staff Development Council, the new definition of professional development calls for every educator to engage in professional learning as part of the work day. Today, however, many teachers receive the bulk of their professional development through some form of one-shot workshop. Survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that teachers typically only spend approximately one day or less in PD on any one content area.

To learn more about how ePD can bring intensive, continuous support for all educators to a school or district, visit www.mathsolutions.com/epd.
 
Source: Math Solutions, www.mathsolutions.com

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Blackboard Introduces Blackboard Connect for Teachers

Blackboard Inc. has introduced Blackboard Connect for Teachers, a new feature of its mass notification platform that lets teachers communicate easily with students' families - in their preferred language - helping to improve parent involvement and student engagement in the classroom.

The Blackboard Connect platform is already used for outreach around urgent situations and academic issues. Now teachers can harness that capability to better involve parents in their child's classroom performance. Using the service, teachers can reach parents wherever they are with phone messages, and parents no longer have to wait for a quarterly report card to discover they need to intervene in their child's academic performance or behavior, the announcement states.

A recent study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire found that if parents sometimes talk with their children about student activities, study habits and course selection - as opposed to never discussing these topics - districts could achieve student performance outcomes equivalent to an additional $1,000 in per pupil spending.

Teachers can play an important role in spurring those parental interventions. With Blackboard Connect for Teachers, instructors can choose from more than 100 commonly used messages or combine messages into a communication tailored to an individual student's needs.

Many parents want to be engaged but struggle to understand reports from teachers and schools because of language barriers. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2006-08 American Community Survey estimates that 19.6 percent of households speak a language other than English at home, and the percentage is far higher in a growing number of states and large districts. Blackboard Connect for Teachers automatically sends message translations in 22 languages, ensuring the message is received and understood.

While consistent communication is critical to parental engagement, over-communication can be detrimental. When messages are sent from more than one teacher to a student's home in one day, the Blackboard Connect for Teachers service will bundle the messages so that parents are not overwhelmed or inconvenienced.

For more information about Blackboard Connect for Teachers, visit www.blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/K-12/Blackboard-Connect-for-K12/Connect-for-Teachers.aspx

Source: Blackboard Inc., www.blackboard.com

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

Content from the March/April 2010 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to all the March/April 2010 reviews, the In the Spotlight story, and the cover story, Educational Networking: The Role of Web 2.0 in Education.

Check out the full March/April 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 March/April 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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