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March 30, 2010

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Alexander Street Press' Sneak Peek at American History in Video
Moodlerooms Releases joule 1.1
LearnLift Announces Release of SAT Preparation Learning Modules
Pearson Announces Additions to WriteToLearn
Free Resources: Discovery Education's Spring Virtual Conference
H.W. Wilson to Transition OCLC Database Subscriptions from FirstSearch to WilsonWeb
APTE Launches Literacy Suite

Free Resources: Alexander Street Press' Sneak Peek at American History in Video

Alexander Street Press is offering a "sneak peek" look at its American History in Video online collection. Since launching last April, American History in Video has grown to include more than 4,000 titles and 1,000 hours. It will continue to grow to include more than 5,000 titles and 2,000 hours of newsreels and documentaries from produces such as PBS, The History Channel, Bullfrog Films, Media rich Learning, and California Newsreel.

The "sneak peek"--free access through April 30--can be accessed on the web by registering at No username or password required.

Source: Alexander Street Press,

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Moodlerooms Releases joule 1.1

Moodlerooms, Inc., provider of the learning management platform joule, has released joule 1.1 to expand the functionality available to educators. Some of these changes include enhanced administrative functionality, integrated synchronous chat and presentation tools, and advanced forum features.

With joule 1.1, Moodlerooms clients can now:
- Automatically archive courses that are marked to be deleted
- Update grades in SIS through Web services
- Flag forums posts, sort forum topics by name and date, attach multiple files, download forums and enable anonymous posting
- Add custom and default pictures to certificates
- Manage exams through Web services integration with Respondus 4.0
- Seamlessly access Microsoft Live@edu through single sign on
- Use SAML 2.0 for single sign on
- Collaborate and communicate using synchronous audio, video and text chat and presentation tools from AMVONET
- Easily add video content to courses, create a synchronized playback of a video and document, and allow students to submit videos to assignments through Kaltura
- Build site, category and course level themes

To learn more about what's new in joule 1.1, read the release notes at

Source: Moodlerooms,

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LearnLift Announces Release of SAT Preparation Learning Modules

LearnLift, a provider of digital learning tools, has developed a digital flashcard system designed to help students prepare for the SAT. The MemoryLifter Learning Suite: Prep for the SAT and mobile SAT preparation learning modules for the iPhone and iPod touch give students a personalized learning experience, according to the announcement. The SAT prep learning suite is a complete learning system that prepares the student for all three sections of the SAT test: Reading, Writing and Math, as well as offers customizable learning modules.

MemoryLifter is a digital flashcard system scientifically based on the Leitner card box algorithm that enables users to easily "lift" information into their long term memory with digital flashcards, and employs controlled repetition, timed spacing, and mnemonic elements to speed up the memorization process. The software incorporates multimedia elements such as images, audio, and video for an adapted learning experience.

The SAT prep learning suite offers comprehensive coverage in a validated learning system developed by Sebastian Leitner. The flashcard modules are arranged into five different Learning Modules: Critical Reading, Mathematics, Writing, Irregular Verbs, and Vocabulary. The learning modules give the student the opportunity to review and learn basic math and vocabulary, practice sentence completion, and improve writing and sentence completion. MemoryLifter also offers a customizable learning experience by allowing the student to develop flashcards from their own content, or expand flash cards in the pre-loaded learning modules.

Included in the SAT learning suite is a USB Stick with a portable version of the MemoryLifter learning software, to use on any Windows PC, more than 3,600 multimedia flashcards and an easy-to-read study guide with contains important information about the SAT test and helpful advice on how to master each section of the test. Most of the SAT preparation learning modules are available for mobile download on the iPhone or iPod touch.

The MemoryLifter software is free to download, and the learning modules range in price from $2.95 - $45.95. Learning Modules for MemoryLifter on the iPhone and iPod Touch are sold on the Apple Appstore in the Education category, ranging from $0.99 to $19.99. To learn more about LearnLift and MemoryLifter, please visit

Source: LearnLift,

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Pearson Announces Additions to WriteToLearn

Pearson has unveiled hundreds  of additions to the reading and essay-writing capabilities of  WriteToLearn, the company's complete online tool for building reading-comprehension and writing skills for  academic success.

With WriteToLearn, students practice essay writing and  summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by Pearson's  state 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.

With this update, WriteToLearn now features nearly 200  new reading passages in science from Pearson's Scott Foresman  Science for grades 4, 5, and 6, growing its library to nearly 800 engaging reading passages from subjects across the curriculum.  Students read these passages online and then summarize them using the  online writing tool. They receive immediate feedback from  WriteToLearn, detailing the steps they can take to improve their  writing. A "scoreboard" shows students their progress as they work to  move into the "excellent" zone. For struggling readers and English  Language Learners, WriteToLearn provides text-to-speech capabilities  with added dictionary and spot word translation so they can listen to  the reading passages before writing their summaries.

More than 125 new essay topics relevant to contemporary  classrooms have also been added to WriteToLearn, so teachers can  choose from a larger library of prompts when assigning essays  to their students. For essays, WriteToLearn provides feedback on six  traits of writing - ideas, organization, conventions,  sentence fluency, word choice, and voice - and allows students and  teachers to focus on each of these important dimensions of writing.

In addition to choosing from a library of essay  topics that come with WriteToLearn, teachers can create their own  topics to assign to their students. To expand teachers' capabilities  for providing students with meaningful feedback to improve their  writing, WriteToLearn now features enhanced student feedback on  teacher-created prompts. This enhanced feedback gives students  additional, targeted guidance for revising future drafts of their  essays.

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

Source: Pearson,

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Free Resources: Discovery Education's Spring Virtual Conference

Discovery Education has invited educators worldwide to join online and in-person on Saturday, April 24, 2010, for the Discovery Educator Network Virtual Conference. This Spring's Virtual Conference theme is Connect the Thoughts. The free professional development seminars scheduled for this event will focus on providing attendees the skills and techniques they need to connect digital content and educational technology in a fashion that maximizes each resource and improves student engagement, according to the announcement.

The Spring Virtual Conference is presented by the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), a global community of more than 125,000 educators supported by Discovery Education. The DEN enables educators to collaborate and share resources with peers around the world.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn from education experts from across the U.S. and Canada. Christina Asquith, author of "Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq," keynotes this event and will share how life has changed for Iraqi women since the U.S. invasion in 2003. She spent five years living and reporting in the Middle East. Asquith will discuss how local traditions are being challenged by the arrival of cell phones, internet, and Oprah.

Lee Kolbert, DEN Guru and teacher from The School District of Palm Beach County, will lead a session on personal learning networks, and Dean Shareski, digital learning consultant from Prairie South School Division in Saskatchewan, will make the case for networked learners. In addition, Carol Anne McGuire, STAR Discovery Educator and founder of Rock Our World, will present on connecting students through global collaboration.

Finally, nationally known Discovery Education speakers, Matt Monjan, Lindsay Hopkins, and Lance Rougeux will offer sessions on topics including engaging students with digital media, connecting language learners to curriculum through digital media, and learning more about the benefits of being a Discovery Educator Network member.

The sessions will be delivered via webcast to conference attendees. In addition to attending the Virtual Conference online, participants have the opportunity to attend in-person regional events hosted by the DEN Leadership Councils. Those attending in-person gatherings will participate in the online presentations, as well as breakout sessions presented by local STAR Discovery Educators.

For more information about the Discovery Educator Network Virtual Conference or any of the in-person regional events complementing the conference, including schedules and registration information, visit


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H.W. Wilson to Transition OCLC Database Subscriptions from FirstSearch to WilsonWeb

H.W. Wilson and OCLC are working together to transition library subscriptions for H.W. Wilson databases provided on the OCLC FirstSearch service to the WilsonWeb platform. The commitment to work together follows an announcement that OCLC will transition out of the role of hosting and reselling commercially published content. OCLC will increase focus on partnering with publishers and other database providers to increase access to library-licensed content via and WorldCat Local. Wilson will continue to include selected databases in and WorldCat Local.

OCLC will bill and accept new and renewal orders to Wilson databases on FirstSearch with subscription start dates through July 31, 2010. For subscriptions beginning August 1, 2010 H.W. Wilson will invoice renewal customers on the WilsonWeb platform. OCLC will ensure FirstSearch access to these databases until transitioned to WilsonWeb. H.W. Wilson will provide libraries that renew its databases on FirstSearch through July 31, 2010 with parallel service on WilsonWeb at no additional charge to give FirstSearch customers time to migrate easily to the WilsonWeb platform.

Including Wilson databases in WorldCat Local means that libraries that subscribe to Wilson databases and use WorldCat Local will continue to be able make these databases searchable as part of their WorldCat Local service.

H.W. Wilson has plans in place to ensure continuity of service and support. An FAQ concerning Wilson databases for customer support, billing, content, and platform transition is available at An OCLC FAQ about FirstSearch databases is available at

Source: H.W. Wilson,

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APTE Launches Literacy Suite

APTE has announced the launch of APTE's Literacy Suite. Based on visual learning theory, the Literacy Suite is designed to build reading, writing, and science skills by combining students' own images, videos, and photos with rich learning content. The Literacy Suite contains seven program applications for students, as well as a collection of Teacher Resource Books with classroom lesson plans, projects, activities, and portfolios.

Designed by special educators, APTE's Literacy Suite responds to the unique needs of visual learners. Students with ADD, autism, Down syndrome, hearing impairments and young learners are primarily "picture" thinkers. Because learning to read using phonetics involves accurate hearing and good auditory discrimination skills, visual learners can be easily frustrated when decoding words phonetically. Instead, APTE's Literacy Suite recognizes and builds on the visual strengths of students. Aligned to national standards, the Literacy Suite applications enable students to create hundreds of reading, writing, and science projects that are supported with their own words, pictures, and videos.

Source: APTE,

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