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August 31, 2010

Table of Contents

World Book Launches Science Power
Pearson Launches AIMSweb Behavior Module
EBSCO Publishing Extends Text-to-Speech Feature to EBSCOhost Databases
Free Resources: Discovery Education's Fifth Annual Streamathon and Fall 2010 Virtual Conference
Shmoop Launches 1,000 Educational Android Apps and iPad eBooks
School Loop Introduces Student Tracker
Pearson Enhances Waterford Early Learning, SuccessMaker and NovaNET

World Book Launches Science Power

World Book, Inc. has announced the introduction of Science Power, a science website designed to meet the needs of students of varying learning aptitudes. Science Power is the latest addition to the World Book Classroom collection of content-rich, interactive digital supplemental learning resources.

Designed for students in the upper elementary grades, Science Power lessons cover all science curriculum topics, with highlighted vocabulary, multimedia, custom-made animations, and review questions. Its "educator-friendly" approach equips both educators who may not have a science background and experienced science educators with the content and tools they need to be prepared to teach science effectively to young learners, according to the announcement. Key features include:

* Differentiated versions of the lessons written at a lower level for struggling readers and extension activities for advanced students;

* Text read aloud by a professional voice actor;

* Main idea checks on every page for quick comprehension checks;

* Downloadable MP3 podcasts of the lesson content (ideal for both student and teacher quick review);

* Interactive quizzes to review the lesson content and vocabulary as well as tests that check student comprehension, with tracked results for the teacher;

* Teachers' guides and student study guides for every lesson as well as critical thinking questions that prompt students to apply what they've learned; and

* Resources to help expand student learning including science experiments that can be completed at home or at school, with videos demonstrating their concepts, as well as links to related content on the World Book Web and in editor-selected external websites. 

Additionally, Science Power is ready to use immediately and correlated to main science textbooks and state/provincial standards as well as to Lexile Framework for Reading measurements.

Teachers and school librarians can apply Science Power to whole-class, small-group, and individual activities as well as to differentiated instruction or intervention use. Public librarians can include Science Power in their children's programming and homework-support services. Science Power also is fully remotely accessible (via subscribing school and library websites).

Science Power 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 (http://www.worldbookonline.com/sales).

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

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Pearson Launches AIMSweb Behavior Module

With the launch by Pearson of AIMSweb Behavior module, educators can now utilize Pearson's Response to Intervention (RTI) and progress monitoring system AIMSweb to screen, identify, and manage student behavior and social skills in the classroom. The newly launched Behavior module offers a set of behavioral tools that work in tandem with the system's academic assessments and data management features to implement a comprehensive RTI framework in their classrooms.

RTI is an emerging approach used in classrooms across the nation to help all children learn by identifying problems earlier, continuously monitoring student progress, and applying appropriate learning strategies to keep students on track. 

AIMSweb's new behavior and social skills toolkit provides a way to identify, intervene and monitor behavior and social skills in the classroom, according to the announcement. Supporting positive behavior programs, "school rules" initiatives, and behavior management programs, the toolkit helps teachers and specialists discover and moderate these issues early - before they negatively affect a student's academic performance or lead to costly disciplinary action referrals.

AIMSweb Behavior's features include:

  • Benchmarking tools to screen for social, emotional, and behavior skills and problems
  • A flexible progress monitoring tool that can be used to track a student's response to intervention or response to school-wide initiatives such as Positive Behavior Support (PBS) programs
  • Evidence-based intervention strategies that are designed specifically for teachers to use in one-on-one, small group, and classroom settings
  • Individual and group-level reporting options that track students throughout the academic year, and reports that can be combined with academic results within the AIMSweb system.

More information about Pearson's AIMSweb is available at the AIMSweb website, www.aimsweb.com.

Source: Pearson Assessment, www.pearsonassessments.com/

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EBSCO Publishing Extends Text-to-Speech Feature to EBSCOhost Databases

EBSCO Publishing has added text-to-speech (read aloud) support to EBSCOhost databases, including its major school and public library databases, by embedding Texthelp Systems' SpeechStream toolbar-a benefit provided at no additional cost to the user. Users will be able to take advantage of this new feature with any full-text articles available in HTML.

Text-to-speech support, already featured in EBSCO's English Language Learner Reference Center, allows users to read along while a human-sounding voice speaks the text on the screen. The support toolbar provides significant assistance to those for whom text-to-speech capabilities are valued such as English Language Learners, users with low vision, slight physical and/or learning disabilities, as well as eBook and PDA users.

Texthelp Systems offers literacy and language support technology for online learning. Recent studies have shown that students using Texthelp's literacy support tools demonstrated significant improvements in both reading comprehension and writing performance, according to the announcement.

Utilizing the text-to-speech feature via the EBSCOhost platform, users have the ability to read-aloud by selected text, sentence, paragraph, or continuous reading with dual color synchronous highlighting (highlighting of the passage being read with a second color highlighting the specific word being read aloud at that moment). User control of read-aloud personalizes the learning experience for each user. Users can control reading speed as well as select between three different voices-American, British, or Australian. These options also enable teachers and professionals to incorporate the features as a tool for teaching English and reading.

Source: EBSCO Publishing,  www.ebscohost.com

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Free Resources: Discovery Education's Fifth Annual Streamathon and Fall 2010 Virtual Conference

Discovery Education invites teachers and administrators around the globe to attend the upcoming Fifth Annual streamathon and the Fall 2010 Virtual Conference. Focusing on how to integrate digital content and the latest educational technologies into classroom instruction, these free, virtual events offer educators of all skill levels insight into best practices and new techniques that participants can immediately apply to their classroom instruction to improve student academic achievement. Last year, more than 2,600 educators from 10 countries around the world participated in these two events.

Both professional development opportunities are presented by the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), a community of more than 125,000 active members supported by Discovery Education. Building capacity and supporting educators around the world as they bring learning alive through digital content and educational technologies, the DEN provides teachers and administrators a variety of professional development and networking opportunities, as well as a digital library of teacher-generated projects, tools and resources.

The Fifth Annual streamathon is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept.14, 2010, from 9 a.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST. During the streamathon, Discovery Education experts, such as the Discovery Educator Network's online community manager and renowned blogger Steve Dembo, Discovery Education directors Justin Karkow, a former first grade teacher, and Matt Monjan, a specialist in adult education, and others, will present a series of sessions providing participants strategies and tactics for integrating Discovery Education's digital services into their curriculum. Among the topics slated for presentation are an introduction to Discovery Education's suite of digital services, tips and tricks for integrating Discovery Education content into science, social studies, language arts, and math curriculum, and strategies for increasing student engagement in learning through the integration of Discovery Education's digital media into classroom activities.


In addition, educators worldwide are invited to join online and in-person on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, for Discovery Education's Fall Virtual Conference. Focusing specifically on how Discovery Education's services can be combined with other educational technologies to promote project-based learning, this October's virtual conference will showcase teacher and student generated projects presented by DEN members from around the world. In addition, participants will learn about the latest Web 2.0 tools educators can immediately implement into classroom instruction to further engage students in learning.

Both the streamathon and the Fall Virtual Conference will be delivered via the internet to attendees worldwide. The Fall Virtual Conference also will include a number of breakout sessions presented by local STAR Discovery Educators. STAR Discovery Educators are DEN members recognized for their efforts to share their insight and expertise with peers through activities such as trainings, workshops or presentations on how to integrate digital media and the latest educational technologies into classroom instruction.

Teachers and administrators interested in joining any portion of the Fifth Annual streamathon should register at http://links.discoveryeducation.com/streamathon2010. To register for the Fall Virtual Conference, interested attendees should visit http://links.discoveryeducation.com/FallVirtCon2010.


Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Shmoop Launches 1,000 Educational Android Apps and iPad eBooks

Shmoop has announced the launch of more than 500 Learning Apps for Android mobile devices and more than 500 educational eBooks for the iBookstore on Apple's iPad. Shmoop now offers more than 4,000 titles available across the web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader.

Android Mobile Devices: Shmoop offers more than 500 Android Apps for literature, poetry, music, US history, civics, and biographies. Each App includes a fast-paced Quiz-o-Rama trivia game. To find Shmoop Apps, search the Android Market for "Shmoop."

iBooks on Apple's iPad: More than 500 Shmoop Learning Guides are available in this  reading experience. Highlight, bookmark, or write notes in your favorite Shmoop guide. To find Shmoop eBooks, search the iBooks Store on your iPad for "Shmoop."

Source: Shmoop,  www.shmoop.com

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School Loop Introduces Student Tracker

School Loop has introduced Student Tracker, a system for identifying students who need support and creating a call to action for their education teams.

With Student Tracker, a principal can search 9th graders for struggling students who are trending up in grades, then send an email on the fly to all of their teachers, parents and counselors, save the list in a group to stay on top of their progress, and promote the list to the students' teachers until each student is out of risk.

Administrators and teachers can now create communication groups for every student, or groups of students, with School Loop's Student Tracker. This tool allows everyone involved in a student's education to monitor that student's academic performance, communicate on student issues and successes, and ensure that appropriate steps are being taken to keep a student on track with his or her academic and social/emotional performance.

School Loop, which offers K-12 web hosting and school-to-home communication services, created the Student Tracker to assist educators with tracking a student, or group of students, in order to effectively manage interventions. Administrative roles within the School Loop system can set up high priority groups and members appear on their teachers' School Loop Dashboard.

School Loop users can create a variety of trackers to meet their needs. The Personal Tracker can only be viewed by the creator and allows the creator to be added to the student's learning management team; the School-wide Tracker is available for all users with access to the system; and the High Priority Tracker allows administrators to create high priority groups that automatically get added to teachers' Dashboards. When educators track a student, they become part of that student's team. They are included on all communications sent to the entire team. From the Student Record, educators can also address a message to any or all of the members of a student's Team. Parents and students can access team members and communicate with them in one click.

Student data can be filtered by performance criteria in order to pinpoint students in need of attention. These filters monitor number of zeroes, chronic absences, grades and grade trends. All trackers display each student's name, ID number, grade level, percentage average of published courses, total number of zeros for assignments, and the total number of teacher-published grades.

A full list of School Loop products is available at www.schoolloop.com/what/website-features.aspx.

Source: School Loop, www.schoolloop.com

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Pearson Enhances Waterford Early Learning, SuccessMaker and NovaNET

Pearson has announced extensive enhancements to three of its digital learning platforms:  Waterford Early Learning, SuccessMaker, and NovaNET.

The enhancements start with digital learning in the early grades with Waterford Early Learning, a curriculum solution from Pearson designed to build early foundations in reading, math and science for grades K through 2. Beginning this month, Waterford Early Learning will now include:

* Improvements in the pacing and responsiveness of the curriculum based on the Waterford Institute's analysis of student performance data;

* A shorter and more engaging assessment to place students within the curriculum according to need; and

* Improved reporting to provide more data on student performance.

In addition to these enhancements, Waterford Early Learning's new interactive whiteboard lessons also enable teachers to extend learning into small-group and whole-class instruction.

Beginning this month, Pearson's K-8 one-on-one personalized learning program SuccessMaker will include the following components:

* A skills-based placement assessment for grades K-2 that determines the optimum starting point in reading courses for the youngest learners, allowing for a more personalized learning experience;

* Fresh practice activities, games, and multimedia lessons; and

* A new, secure, district-hosted web-based delivery option that provides student access from anywhere via a standard web browser.

Pearson has also extended SuccessMaker instruction to small-group and whole-class collaborative learning with the new SuccessMaker Collaborate program for the interactive whiteboard.

NovaNET now offers:

* New government, environmental science, and pre-algebra courses with integrated videos and animations, interactive charts and tables, and embedded assessments;

* More practice questions with corresponding instruction and feedback, all geared at enhancing student understanding; and

* Multimedia lessons and assessments on topics relevant to students' lives like citizenship, issues of our time, government in your life, and career opportunities. 

All of these enrichments are available for customers immediately, and the standards-aligned programs qualify for federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. More information can be found online at www.pearsonschool.com/digital.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsoned.com

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