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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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August 17, 2010

Table of Contents

CoSN Releases Part 2 of The 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition Toolkit
Shmoop Launches Free Online Pre-Algebra Curriculum
CompassLearning Introduces Impact Teacher Academy
Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge Announces Top 10 Finalists
Turning Technologies Launches New Assessment Reporting Application
EBSCO Publishing and NoveList Debut a New Interface

CoSN Releases Part 2 of The 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition Toolkit

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released Part 2 of The 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition Toolkit.  Discussion Activities found in Part 2 are designed to facilitate a dialogue among educators, policymakers and other stakeholders on school and district needs and challenges and whether emerging technologies have a role to play to meeting those needs and achieving educational goals. Part 1 of the Toolkit was made available in April with the release of the 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition, which identifies six emerging technologies that will likely have a significant impact on K-12 education in the next one to five years. CoSN developed both parts of the Toolkit in partnership with the New Media Consortium (NMC) and with generous support from HP.

Part 1 of the Toolkit included a Discussion Facilitator's Guide and a PowerPoint presentation template on the six technologies identified in the Report, while Part 2 focuses on discussion activities that will stimulate collaborative thinking about ways to approach institutional and educational challenges. The activities are also designed to help educators consider whether emerging technologies might have the potential to address those challenges and to help them develop action plans to move forward the conversation and exploration. 

The Toolkit was developed with three key objectives in mind, including affording educators an opportunity to think critically about how to create or refresh their institution's strategic technology plan to ensure that they are keeping pace with the possibilities. The second objective is to help educators gain the support of their local decision makers for investing in technologies that advance new ways of learning that address key challenges their institutions are facing. Finally, it aims to "leave no school system behind" when it comes to powerful technologies for powerful learning.

To learn more about the Toolkit, visit www.cosn.org/Horizon.

Source: Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), www.cosn.org

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Shmoop Launches Free Online Pre-Algebra Curriculum

Shmoop has announced the launch of its tenth subject area, Pre-Algebra. Shmoop's free online Pre-Algebra Learning Guides contain hundreds of topics with succinct explanations, diagrams, interactive examples, practice problems, and real-world applications. Pre-Algebra is Shmoop's first foray beyond its core humanities offering and underscores Shmoop's continued expansion into middle school level curriculum.

Shmoop Pre-Algebra benefits including the following:

It's free!

You can learn why percentages are "crush-worthy."

You can gorge on Olympics, money, and pizza (Shmoop's favorite examples for math problems).

Click through hundreds of practice problems with step-by-step examples and hints.

See the math, be the math (Shmoop uses diagrams and pictures galore, holds the overly-wordy explanations).

You'll be able to apply your new-found skills by estimating the trees saved by going digital!
 
Shmoop Pre-Algebra is now available for free online at www.shmoop.com/pre-algebra/.

Source: Shmoop, www.shmoop.com

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CompassLearning Introduces Impact Teacher Academy

CompassLearning is expanding its Odyssey suite with the addition of a new professional development program - CompassLearning Impact Teacher Academy.

Based on a partnership between CompassLearning, district and school leadership, and teachers, it is a research-based process that builds teacher capacity and enforces accountability of program implementation. Flexible delivery models - on-site, virtual, and blended - give educators and administrators options suited to their district and school requirements. Additionally, a growing collection of more than 50 online, always-on videos guides users through common Odyssey tasks, such as class setup, reporting processes, and assignment building.

Six core services, offered at strategic intervals during implementation, form the program's foundation:

1.    In "District- and School-Level Leadership Team Planning and Orientation Meetings," CompassLearning Impact Teacher Academy associates and educational leaders set mutual expectations and determine technical requirements for implementation.

2.    "Getting Started with Odyssey" familiarizes faculty members with Odyssey basics and sets instructional goals for students.

3.    "Differentiating Instructional Paths for Students" teaches faculty how to create and modify student-learning paths.

4.    "Mid-Service Report and Progress Review" summarizes monthly status reports to illustrate implementation fidelity and progress.

5.    "Student Data Analysis Session" helps school leadership formulate a plan to improve student achievement, based on data from reports.

6.    "End-of-Service Implementation Reporting" reviews implementation accomplishments and offers suggestions for ongoing improvement.

A mainstay of the program is regular, ongoing monitoring of Odyssey utilization and student-performance results. Key decision makers receive monthly reports compiled from data to help ensure minimal deviation from the implementation plan. The reports help education leaders develop improvement plans and influence ongoing recommendations.

To read more, visit the News and Events section of CompassLearning's website.

Source: CompassLearning, www.compasslearning.com

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Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge Announces Top 10 Finalists

Discovery Education and 3M have announced 10 students from across the country as the top finalists in the 12th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Each finalist will be awarded an all-expense paid trip to New York City to participate in the competition finals, emceed by Danny Forster, host of Science Channel's Build it Bigger, on Oct. 5, 2010. During this competition, students will demonstrate scientific innovation, creativity and communication skills in a series of individual challenges related to the science of safety and security. The winner will receive $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds ($25,000 cash value), the title of "America's Top Young Scientist," and a trip to St. Paul, Minn., to work alongside 3M's top scientists at their world headquarters and visit the 3M Innovation Center.

The 10 finalists are (in alphabetical order):

- Riya Chandra, Fremont, Calif., Mission San Jose Elementary School

- Sydney Clark, Austin, Texas, Clark Academy of Science and Art (homeschool)

- Sehee Kim, Cumming, Ga., Piney Grove Middle School

- Kai Klocke, Portland, Ore., Cedar Park Middle School

- Alexander Mataloni, Fairfax Station, Va., South County Secondary School

- Liam McCarty, Elm Grove, Wis., Brookfield Academy

- Liam O'Brien, Unionville, Conn., West Woods Upper Elementary School

- Raj Raina, Novi, Mich., Novi Middle School

- Christopher Riedman, Bismarck, N.D., Homeschool

- Matthew Shimura, Honolulu, Hawaii, Punahou School

As a premier science competition for middle school students, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. In January, students nationwide were asked to create a short video explaining the science behind issues millions of Americans face in everyday life, including preventing the spread of germs, ensuring food safety and sun protection. Last month, 47 semifinalists were selected based on their science communication skills exhibited in their videos. For more information on the challenge, including photos and ages of the 10 finalists, go to www.youngscientistchallenge.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Turning Technologies Launches New Assessment Reporting Application

Turning Technologies has announced the availability of ResultsManager, its latest addition to Turning's suite of interactive polling software. This new application extends the existing reporting functionality of the company's TurningPoint and TurningPoint AnyWhere software to allow instructors and presenters to store, track, and administer multiple interactive polling sessions.

ResultsManager helps educators using polling data to assess student learning and comprehension over time.  Features and functionality include:

  • Cumulative scores for individuals, groups and courses.
  • Integration with LMS solutions such as Blackboard, WebCT, Sakai and Moodle for easy data transfer.
  • Matrix display of data for statistics such as number of sessions attended, number of questions answered, attendance points, performance points and total earned points.
  • No required installation and HTML-based reporting for increased ease-of-use.

For more information about ResultsManager and other response solutions, visit www.turningtechnologies.com.

Source: Turning Technologies www.turningtechnologies.com

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EBSCO Publishing and NoveList Debut a New Interface

EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) along with the creators of readers' advisory database NoveList have released a new interface for all NoveList and NoveList Plus products. The new interface will include all the characteristics librarians enjoy along with changes that make recommendations easier to obtain, searching more intuitive, and allows quick access to more content. The updated interface will help librarians and their patrons find their next great read, according to the announcement. The redesign incorporated a variety of suggestions from readers' advisory experts and librarians.

One of the major new features is the use of Appeal words such as "fast-paced" or "character-driven," which will better allow the user to find different types of books. The new interface also has a strong focus on recommendations. Reading recommendations are available directly from the homepage-which allows for easier access and fewer clicks and they also include a hover-able pop-up window that can be used to narrow down genre choices.

Browsable lists of recommendations for similar books and authors will be shown on the search result pages allowing users to find numerous titles of interest. Finally, each recommendation will feature transparent reasoning from NoveList experts as to why the title is being recommended. With the new interface, enhancements to the popular print functionality make it even easier for librarians to print out reading suggestions for patrons whether they are looking for series, title or author suggestions.

The new interface also features improved searching capabilities. The search box now takes a more prominent spot on the homepage. Search results are also storable and have three display options-list, text and grid. The list display offers a jacket image, summary and additional book information. The text form omits the book jacket and the summary allowing the user to view more results at once. The grid format offers ten search results at a time and presents as a grid with images of each book jacket plus a hover-able pop-up window can be used to find out more information about each book.

A "Teaching with Books" section has been added along with the new interface. This section will be especially helpful to school librarians and public librarians working with homeschoolers and students as it includes content based on grade and common curriculum topics.

Source:  EBSCO Publishing, www.ebscohost.com

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