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April 27, 2010

Table of Contents

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Partnership with PBS TeacherLine
World Book Adds Lexile Measures to World Book Web Articles
Association of Educational Publishers and edWeb.net Seek Videos to Share with AEP Conference Attendees
Microsoft, ePals Sign Strategic Technical Collaboration Agreement
School Specialty Introduces Three New Reading Intervention Systems
NAMTC and EduTone Launch Digital Marketplace for K-12 Schools
World Book Introduces Early World of Learning

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Partnership with PBS TeacherLine

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has teamed with PBS TeacherLine to offer an online training course for educators who support teachers pursuing this advanced teaching credential.

To help grow the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in America's schools, NBPTS has developed an online version of its face-to-face Candidate Support Provider (CSP) training for educators who provide support to teachers as they go through the rigorous National Board Certification process. NBPTS, the organization that developed and administers the standards and assessment process for National Board Certification, is expanding its CSP program through PBS TeacherLine's online facilitated learning environment.

The online course, hosted by PBS TeacherLine, provides a convenient option for educators to ensure they receive the high-quality training needed to guide peers effectively. Candidate Support Providers - NBCTs, teacher leaders, school counselors, principals, professors, and others - help teachers to better analyze and reflect on their practice as it relates to the NBPTS Standards, to understand the certification process, and to demonstrate evidence of the standards in practice.

National Board Certification, for veteran teachers, is a 10-part performance assessment that includes video portfolios, analysis of classroom practice, and evaluation of content knowledge. It is part of a growing education reform movement that is reshaping American education by developing, recognizing and retaining great teachers. In a congressionally mandated report, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies confirmed that National Board Certified Teachers advance student achievement and learning, stay in the classroom longer, support new and struggling teachers, and assume other school-based leadership roles. The NRC acknowledged that students taught by National Board Certified Teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by non-board-certified teachers. In 2009, nearly 8,900 teachers nationwide achieved National Board Certification, bringing the total number of teachers and counselors certified by NBPTS to more than 82,000.

The Candidate Support Provider Online Course is designed to provide both new and experienced candidate support providers with the practical knowledge, skills and tools needed to successfully support teacher candidates during the National Board Certification process. The six-week, 30-hour course is designed for public and private school personnel in K-12 and higher education, professional associations, and other education organizations who are interested in guiding candidates through National Board Certification process. The course is open to National Board Certified Teachers, non-board-certified teachers, professional development staff, and others.

Through the course, educators will learn:

* Fundamentals of ethical candidate support

* Processes used for scoring portfolio entries and assessment center exercises

* How to apply adult learning principles, use effective communication skills, and review portfolio entries

* How to locate elements of evidence and provide meaningful feedback to candidates to help them deepen their level of thinking about their teaching practices.

The first offering of the Candidate Support Provider Online Course is during PBS TeacherLine's summer course session, now open for enrollment. Courses begin June 23. The cost of the course is $295. Educational institutions can coordinate a private offering of the course by contacting NBPTS. For more information, visit www.nbpts.org/csp. To learn more about PBS TeacherLine, go to www.pbs.org/teacherline.

Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline

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World Book Adds Lexile Measures to World Book Web Articles

World Book, Inc. and MetaMetrics have announced an agreement for MetaMetrics to provide Lexile measures for World Book's suite of Web services. Lexile measures will be assigned specifically for content in World Book Student and World Book Discover, designed for middle- and high-school students; World Book Kids, designed for elementary-school students; and the Early World of Learning site for preschoolers and emerging readers in the primary grades.

In addition to the Lexile measures now being added to World Book, article content is also correlated to curriculum standards and benchmarks for all U.S. states and Canadian provinces. This makes it easy for educators to use World Book to enhance their classroom coverage of important curricular topics with relevant and engaging articles, images, video, audio, and interactive tools, games, and features, according to the announcement.

Lexile measures are used at the school level in various capacities in all 50 states. Each year, more than 28 million Lexile measures are reported from reading assessments and programs, representing about half of U.S. students.

The Lexile Framework for Reading is an educational tool that connects readers with reading materials using a common metric called a Lexile measure, which measures both reading ability and text difficulty on the same developmental scale. When used together, Lexile reader measures and Lexile text measures allow educators, parents, and students to find books and other materials that meet and challenge a reader's unique ability and interests. Currently, more than 115,000 books and 80 million articles have Lexile measures, and the number of resources with Lexile measures continues to grow. For more information on the Lexile Framework, visit www.Lexile.com.

Source: MetaMetrics, www.metametricsinc.com/, and World Book, www.worldbook.com

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Association of Educational Publishers and edWeb.net Seek Videos to Share with AEP Conference Attendees

The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) and edWeb.net have launched the Teacher Video Challenge: Classrooms in the Digital Age, a challenge that asks educators to submit videos featuring their thoughts and opinions on digital resources and classroom technology. These same videos will be presented to publishers at the upcoming Content in Context Conference put on by AEP.

Educators are asked to create videos, upload them to YouTube, then submit their videos on edWeb.net with a blog post including a link to the video. By using this online submission process, educators are using the social media platforms that encourage the use of 21st century communication tools.

Three questions must be answered within the video:

1.      What are you most in need of in order to teach effectively in the digital age?

2.      What one request would you make of those who create instructional materials to make them digital-classroom friendly?

3.      How would better digital technology and content in the classroom help you and your students?

The deadline for posting videos is May 7, 2010. AEP will select a number of videos to be showcased in a session at the conference. Educators who created the selected videos will receive a Flip Video Camcorder as a thank you for participating. In addition, all submissions will be archived on both edWeb and AEP's YouTube channel.

To learn more about the Teacher Video Challenge visit:

http://contentincontext.org/index.php/program-schedule-main/teachervideochallenge

To submit videos on edWeb.net visit:

www.edweb.net/teachervideochallenge

Source: edWeb.net, www.edweb.net, and AEP, www.AEPweb.org

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Microsoft, ePals Sign Strategic Technical Collaboration Agreement

Microsoft Corp. and ePals Inc. have announced they have signed a strategic technical collaboration agreement to develop and deliver communications, collaboration, and digital learning technologies to the global education market. Under the agreement, ePals will offer Microsoft Live@edu email and calendaring platform and other capabilities to its users, expanding ePals' services with enterprise-grade collaboration tools. In the future, ePals and Microsoft will work together to incorporate Microsoft Office Web Apps, a web-based version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite, and features of Microsoft Office SharePoint Online, Microsoft's cloud-based collaboration solution.

ePals' K-12 learning network is a communications and collaboration platform linking 600,000 educators and reaching more than 25 million teachers, students, and parents in 200 countries and territories. ePals LearningSpace provides safe and secure virtual workspaces for schools, including email, blogs, wikis, shared portfolios, media galleries, and language translation in 35 languages, the announcement states.

Live@edu will bring additional capabilities to ePals' SchoolMail and other products, delivering communication and collaboration capabilities to the solution such as a familiar Outlook interface across the PC, phone and browser, accessibility features, cross-mailbox search, and dynamic distribution groups. From an IT perspective, the solution will allow schools to set up sophisticated policy-based controls that regulate which students and teachers can  email and share information with each other for security purposes, and what level of filtering and monitoring is desired for sent and received  email, including for inappropriate language. Rules also can be applied for instructional value as well, and help facilitate peer-based editing and feedback features.

Live@edu is a no-cost suite of online services, based on Microsoft technologies many people use today, that enable access to information anytime, anywhere, from any desktop, laptop, popular web browsers or mobile device. More than 10,000 schools in more than 130 countries have enrolled in Live@edu, serving tens of millions of students worldwide, according to Microsoft.

ePals has relationships with many large school districts worldwide and such organizations as the National Geographic Society, International Baccalaureate Organization, Cengage Learning, Inc., and Conservation International. International Baccalaureate is using ePals' global platform to set up a virtual learning community for more than 794,000 students, educators and alumni in 138 countries.

Source: ePals, www.epals.com

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School Specialty Introduces Three New Reading Intervention Systems

School Specialty has introduced its new intervention systems for closing the achievement gap in reading. Combining its intervention software program, the Academy of READING, with print intervention tools, the company has launched three targeted solutions to help build reading skills for life.

School Specialty's new intervention systems' blended media model combines teacher-led instruction with data-driven, online learning and assessment to address students' reading intervention needs. Each provides in-depth instruction for struggling readers in phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency, coupled with writing practice. The systems include on-site professional development to help teachers begin program implementation and personalize instruction for their students. In addition, follow-up visits are included to ensure that teachers receive the support they need.

The Academy of READING, an intervention software solution that helps struggling students achieve gains in reading, forms the foundation for the personalized instruction for the new intervention systems, designed specifically for grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Developed based on research and tested in elementary, middle and high schools, Academy of READING uses an instructional model designed to build strong roots in the five areas outlined by the National Reading Panel. Targeting the skill gaps of at-risk learners, the Academy of READING provides intensive instruction and practice, while the platform's technology adapts to their unique learning patterns.

For the 3-5 Intervention System, the company combined the Academy of READING with Making Connections, a teacher-led comprehension program that develops the essential skills and strategies recommended by the National Reading Panel, and reinforces them in a spiraling curriculum format.

School Specialty's 6-8 Intervention System pairs the Academy of READING with MCI (Making Connections Intervention), which provides targeted literacy intervention for students reading up to three grades below level. At the heart of the program is explicit and direct comprehension instruction. Vocabulary, fluency and writing practice are woven through each unit to ensure struggling readers build the skills needed to achieve grade-level proficiency.

The 9-12 Intervention System also combines the Academy of READING with MCI, but features an implementation guide and professional development targeted specifically to help teachers provide students with intensive intervention and pacing required for struggling readers in high school. In addition, strategies for grouping students, pacing and differentiating instruction are included.

More information about the new Intervention Systems from School Specialty is available at http://intervention.schoolspecialty.com/solutions/.

Source: School Specialty, www.schoolspecialty.com

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NAMTC and EduTone Launch Digital Marketplace for K-12 Schools

The National Association of Media & Technology Centers (NAMTC) and EduTone Corporation have announced the launch of a state-of-the-art, Web 2.0 and social media-based Digital Marketplace (DMP) to be offered by NAMTC to its members. The NAMTC Digital Marketplace consists of various web-based solutions provided by NAMTC's corporate partners. The DMP includes new and innovative software as a service (SaaS) application and content providers whose aim is to improve learning and enable teachers to prepare students to compete in the 21st century economy. The EduTone Xchange Platform will enable member educational service agencies (ESAs) to deliver these solutions to their districts and schools through locally-branded ESA Portals.

The solutions offered in the NAMTC DMP span a wide spectrum of services:

  • online interactive children's books reading, writing and collaboration tools from Big Universe (www.biguniverse.com)
  • interactive and versatile curriculum delivery tools from Educational Tools (www.educationaltools.org)
  • comprehensive multimedia curriculum, used as interactive ibooks, for supplemental education and independent studies from eTAP (www.etap.org)
  • Web 2.0 tools to enable teachers to transform on-line learning from School Town (www.schooltown.net)
  • an online learning community built on a coaching platform that includes communication, content, Web 2.0, and publishing tools all in one place from eCoach (www.my-ecoach.com)
  • a tool for schools to collect and recover revenue from My Payment Network (www.schoolpaynetwork.com)
  • an online teacher community, We The Teachers, for collaboration, communication, and sharing (www.wetheteachers.com)
  • automated access to Curriki (www.curriki.org), a community that communicates, shares, and collaborates on free and open source curricula and simplified and school controlled access to Google Apps
  • several Web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites (www.google.com).

All application and content providers in the NAMTC DMP offer a "freemium" model where users can try applications and content before they buy. NAMTC and EduTone expect over 100 new application and content providers to join the Digital marketplace in the next few months.

Source: NAMTC, www.NAMTC.org

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World Book Introduces Early World of Learning

World Book, Inc. has introduced Early World of Learning, an online resource to help young learners build vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, and reading fluency. As the latest addition to World Book Classroom, a series of teaching resources to improve learning in the classroom setting, Early World of Learning offers resources that integrate into the classroom curriculum in preschool and early elementary grades.

Early World of Learning includes three interactive learning environments:

* Trek's Travels, offering stories, games, and original videos to help young learners master critical early childhood themes, develop vocabulary, and gain reading comprehension.

* Welcome to Reading, helping pre- and early readers strengthen phonics, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and comprehension skills.

* Know It, engaging early learners with non-fiction reading in a richly visual interactive first encyclopedia.

Among literacy-building features included in Early World of Learning are:

* Story narration by human voices of different genders and ethnicities

* Word-by-word highlighting to foster development of literacy skills

* Educational, interactive games to reinforce comprehension

* Printable activities in English or Spanish for use in the classroom or to take home

 * Classic children's stories, nursery rhymes, and songs, which can be downloaded to an MP3 player for children who may not be read to at home, or who would like extra reading time.

Additionally, each area of Early World of Learning includes a comprehensive Education Center, providing teachers with additional resources, Lexile Framework for Reading measurements to ensure early readers use text at their level, and state- and province-based Curriculum Correlations.

Early World of Learning is available on a subscription basis from World Book's 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).

Source: World Book, www.worldbook.com

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