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October 12, 2010

Table of Contents

Free Resources: TeachingBooks.net's Series Books Curriculum Resource Center
Discovery Education and 3M Announce 2010 National Science Competition Winner
Follett Acquires X2 Development Corporation
Archipelago Learning Releases Study Island Version 4.0
Adobe Unveils Photoshop Elements 9 & Adobe Premiere Elements 9
H.W. Wilson Database Content Included in EBSCO Discovery Service
Gale Announces Biography in Context
Thinkspiration, the Inspiration Software Blog, Launched
Free Resources: The Science of NFL Football

Free Resources: TeachingBooks.net's Series Books Curriculum Resource Center

TeachingBooks.net has just launched a free online digital collection and curriculum resource center featuring popular series books: www.TeachingBooks.net/Series.

The newly produced Series Books Curriculum Resource Center includes hours of original audio interviews with popular series authors and hundreds of online resources to support the enjoyment of more than 40 favorite series-including fantasy, mystery, realistic fiction, and biography. The Series Books Curriculum Resource Center helps busy educators find inspiring multimedia resources that can be easily integrated into their literacy activities.

The collection gives educators access to discussion questions, activities, and multimedia resources to enrich conversations about series books. It also enables students, teachers, librarians, and families to learn directly from award-winning authors of their favorite series books about how each series came to be written.

The Series Books Curriculum Resource Center is free for anyone to use or link to.

Source: TeachingBookds.net, www.TeachingBooks.net

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Discovery Education and 3M Announce 2010 National Science Competition Winner

Discovery Education and 3M have awarded Liam McCarty of Elm Grove, Wis., with the title of "America's Top Young Scientist" as winner of the 2010 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for his innovative wound closure system that better protects deep cuts. McCarty was one of 10 finalists who competed in a series of live science challenges in New York City. A student of Brookfield Academy, McCarty will receive $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds ($25,000 cash value) and a trip to St. Paul, Minn. to visit the 3M Innovation Center and work alongside 3M's top scientists to test and enhance his prototype.

Selected from hundreds of students from across the country, the 10 finalists competed in a series of challenges and experienced hands-on interaction with some of 3M's top scientists who served as mentors, as the students were asked to: 1) communicate principles of science behind unusual phenomenons, such as a disappearing beaker or how a hand can be set on fire without leaving burns; 2) test the validity of the "Five Second Rule" as it relates to food safety; and 3) invent a solution to a safety or security problem found in society. 

Finalists were evaluated by a panel of judges on their science skills and their ability to communicate scientific knowledge. Head judge Steve Jacobs, an accomplished scientist, educator and author, joined a team of scientists and educators from across the country to form the judging panel.

Sydney Clark from Austin, Texas was awarded second place in the science competition for inventing a way to prevent thieves from stealing pin numbers at ATMs. Clark is homeschooled through the Clark Academy of Science and Art. Matthew Shimura from Honolulu, Hawaii was awarded third place for his invention of a protective film that can prevent windows from breaking during high winds. Shimura currently attends Punahou School. Both Clark and Shimura will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to the set of Discovery Channel's MythBusters. Fourth and fifth place (tie) contestants, Liam O'Brien of Irving A. Robbins Middle School in Unionville, Conn., Kai Klocke of Cedar Park Middle School in Portland, Ore. and Alexander Mataloni of South County Secondary School in Fairfax Station, Va., each will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a Discovery Student Adventures Spring Break Trip to the Grand Canyon. 

Remaining finalists each will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a $500 gift card from Discovery Experiences, which offers first-hand, memorable adventures they see and learn about on Discovery's networks.


Coinciding with the announcement of this year's winner, Discovery Education and 3M are beginning the search for "America's Top Young Scientist" of 2011. For more information on the 2010 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, or to register for the 2011 challenge, go to www.YoungScientistChallenge.com

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Follett Acquires X2 Development Corporation

Follett Software Company has announced it has acquired X2 Development Corporation, a student information system provider for K-12 school districts in the United States and abroad. The acquisition includes the Aspen Student Information System, a popular web-based solution designed to simplify school district data management through the integration of key K-12 applications.

Aspen increases school district efficiency giving educators more time to focus on student achievement, the announcement states. For example, Aspen integrates gradebook, scheduling, family and student portals, reporting, special education, professional development into a single solution. The Aspen platform serves 81 school districts and more than 600,000 students across seven states.

X2 Development Corporation will continue to operate out of Hingham, Mass., as a wholly owned subsidiary of Follett Software Company.

The Aspen platform complements and expands Follett's range of technology and content delivery solutions used by K-12 administrators, educators and librarians throughout the United States and worldwide. In addition to the Destiny suite of resource management tools for libraries and schools and the Tetradata suite of data management and analysis tools for school districts, Follett recently launched the Cognite learning environment, a web-based tool for educators, students and parents that integrates discovery tools, retrieval, collaboration and communication with the goal of creating a vibrant experience where K-12 students excel.

Source: Follett Corporation, www.follett.com

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Archipelago Learning Releases Study Island Version 4.0

Archipelago Learning has released Study Island Version 4.0. Study Island provides high impact, low cost, subscription-based K-12 learning solutions in math, reading, writing, science, and social studies. The new Study Island v4 builds upon that foundation with new standards-aligned instruction, inventive practice activities, customized assessments, and productivity tools that improve the performance of students, according to the announcement. In addition, Study Island v4 offers greater customization features, improved interactivity functions, and more professional development resources

For teachers, the new release offers a redesigned teacher page for a single point of access to manage everything from classroom preferences and individual student instructional activities, to professional development resources and snapshot views of student progress against standards mastery. In addition, the new Custom Assessment Builder enables teachers to build ad hoc diagnostic and formative assessments in core subjects, giving them the real-time data they need to make informed instructional decisions.

More affordable and accessible professional development options will be available too, including a variety of online video workshops, more lesson plans, new supplemental activities and digital resources that support teaching to current standards and future Common Core State Standards. For administrators, new weekly principal reports will be automatically sent via email, giving principals an "at-a-glance" view of important achievement progress and gaps.

Students will find three new enhancements to make learning more fun and engaging including new game interfaces, interactive flashcards and soft clickers or virtual student response systems. The new game interface is neatly organized by level of challenge so students can quickly pick their favorite games with a single click. With the inclusion of interactive flashcards, students can learn and practice with digital or printable flashcards with select lessons extending their learning from school to home. Finally, the addition of "soft clickers" allows teachers to instantly access student understanding of key concepts, while giving schools the added benefit of cost savings by allowing them to use the computers they already have instead of purchasing additional hardware.

Study Island v4 also includes a completely revamped high school product, called The Island. With its online collaborative learning environments, The Island offers high school students more complex and age-appropriate games; self-paced digital writing assignment portfolios; a comprehensive college readiness section with test taking strategies for SAT, ACT and AP exams; and extensive career planning guidance. All lessons are aligned to current standards and scalable to future Common Core State Standards.

Study Island is available for purchase by schools, districts and learning centers, as well as parents and students. More information, along with pricing for individuals and quantity discounts for educational institutions, is available at the Study Island website: www.studyisland.com.

Source: Archipelago Learning, www.archipelagolearning.com/

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Adobe Unveils Photoshop Elements 9 & Adobe Premiere Elements 9

Adobe Systems Incorporated has announced Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 & Adobe Premiere Elements 9 for Windows and Mac, the newest release of its consumer photo- and video-editing software.  Available as standalone products or as a single package, the Photoshop Elements 9 and Adobe Premiere Elements 9 bundle offers a complete photo and video editing solution delivering the two products at a compelling price point for education, according to the announcement. This release also brings Premiere Elements to the Mac platform for the first time.

Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9 feature the tools teachers need to help students make the most of their photo and video projects. Adapted from Photoshop CS5's Content Aware Fill feature, the content intelligence in the Spot Healing Brush analyzes what's in the image and quickly de-clutters or repairs photos (like removing tourists from a crowded scene) with a swipe of a brush, magically filling in the background. Several new Guided Edit options walk users step-by-step through the process of achieving editing effects such as Out of Bounds, which makes an element of a photo appear to leap off the page in 3D, creating pop art masterpieces, or retouching made easy via the perfect portraits feature.

With Premiere Elements 9, users can quickly create movies with the help of intelligent tools that automatically fix audio problems, trim away bad footage, stabilize shaky shots and correct bad color and lighting problems. Any video can be turned into an animated film with the new Cartoon Effect, and optimized performance makes editing and viewing smooth, even in HD.

It is now easier to upload and import from popular Flip Video camcorders and DSLR cameras. The Organizer allows users to tag and view photos and videos in one central place. The Auto-Analyzer helps users tag the best photos and videos and also identifies specific faces in photos. Users can combine media together into dynamic interactive Online Albums, and create an online DVD-like viewing experience to share with friends and family. Users can customize flexible scrapbook and photo book layout designs, with drag-and-drop simplicity, for automatic placement of photos within a template or easy access to any Photoshop Elements editing feature from directly within the software. Creations can then be printed immediately or through an online print service provider.

Teachers can join the Adobe Education Exchange, where they can access free teaching and learning resources contributed by a community of educators and the Adobe Education Team For more information, visit http://edexchange.adobe.com/. Free training videos for both products are available on Adobe TV at http://tv.adobe.com.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 & Adobe Premiere Elements 9 software for Windows and Mac is now available through Adobe Authorized Resellers, Adobe Direct Sales and the Adobe Education Store at www.adobe.com/store. The bundle is available for an educational price of US$119.00. Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9 software for Windows and Mac are available as stand-alone products for an price of US$69.00.

Source: Adobe Systems Incorporated, www.adobe.com

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H.W. Wilson Database Content Included in EBSCO Discovery Service

H.W. Wilson and EBSCO Publishing have announced that Wilson databases will soon be searchable via EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) for mutual customers. EBSCO Publishing and Wilson have enjoyed a working partnership for many years where selected Wilson databases are made available on the EBSCOhost platform. As a natural extension, the two companies have agreed to include the robust metadata of the important Wilson databases available to customers who subscribe to the databases.

Whether accessing these databases via EBSCOhost, directly from Wilson (via WilsonWeb) or from another vendor, those customers who rely on EBSCO Discovery Service will see its value extended to the Wilson databases to which they subscribe.

Wilson joins a long list of publishers and other content partners who are taking part in EDS to bring more visibility to their content, such as the British Library, Baker & Taylor, NewsBank, Readex, LexisNexis, Alexander Street Press, and Web of Science (for mutual customers).

Because the EDS service builds on the foundation provided by the EBSCOhost platform, libraries gain a full user experience for discovering their collections/OPAC - which that is not typical in the discovery space.

EBSCO Discovery Service creates a unified, customized index of an institution's information resources, and an easy, yet powerful means of accessing all of that content from a single search box.

Source: H.W. Wilson, www.hwwilson.com; and EBSCO Publishing, www.ebscohost.com

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Gale Announces Biography in Context

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, has announced Biography in Context, a new online resource developed to meet the needs of today's internet-savvy researchers. This next-generation offering evolved from, and will replace, the Biography Resource Center database.

Designed as an online learning environment, Biography in Context delivers content that builds collaboration from the library to the classroom.

Biography in Context includes the following:

* Read Speaker text-to-speech technology, available on every page, an option for struggling readers and the visually impaired

* Document translator allows students to translate any document into French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, simplified Chinese, and Korean

* The addition of Lives & Perspectives Collection, giving Biography in Context more than 600,000 biographies on more than 525,000 influential people

* Topic overviews combine with multiple media assets (images, video, podcasts) and authoritative reference content to deliver information, in context, through one comprehensive web-like portal page

* "Expert Picks", including reference documents, podcasts, primary sources, and magazine and journal articles, that are selected by subject matter experts to guide users in exploring topics at a deeper level

* "Factbox," providing a quick overview of topic highlights, consistent with open web alternatives

* Related topics and web links aiding discovery of similar content

* Content organized by type (reference, news, magazine, primary sources and more) to support the needs of general information seekers and those who wish to conduct more extensive research

Based on the Gale Resource Centers, Biography in Context joins Student Resources, Opposing Viewpoints, Science, U.S. History, World History, and Canada in Context products.

Existing Resource Center subscribers will receive these new products as an upgrade at no additional cost. For more information, a product preview or to request a trial, visit www.gale.com/NewRCs.

Source: Gale/Cengage Learning, www.cengage.com or www.gale.com

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Thinkspiration, the Inspiration Software Blog, Launched

Inspiration Software has launched a new blog entitled Thinkspiration, through which educators from around the world can connect and share their passion for learning strategies and education. Written by company co-founder and president Mona Westhaver, the blog is a forum for educators and educational experts at all levels of experience and focus to exchange ideas - sharing research, news, trends and lessons to help students achieve to their highest potential. Thinkspiration is accessed at www.inspiration.com/blog/

In addition to weekly posts from Westhaver, Thinkspiration features the "Inspired Calendar," which provides lesson plans and activities for using Inspiration, Kidspiration, and InspireData with students around national and international holidays, celebrations, and events. Teachers can download these examples to use with their students and submit their own creative lessons for future Inspired Calendars. The blog will also feature poll questions and surveys for readers to share their opinions and points of view and learn what their colleagues are thinking.

Inspiration Software is leveraging the power of social media through this new blog, as well as a Facebook page and Twitter feed. By subscribing to Thinkspiration, "liking" Inspiration Software on Facebook, and following the company on Twitter, educators can chat directly with Inspiration Software's leaders and learn about the newest developments in learning strategies and education, according to the announcement. Plans for fall 2010 include Facebook contests, Twitter chats, and Twebinars, for educators to stimulate dialogue around teaching strategies and interventions that will improve student learning.

Source: Inspiration Software, www.inspiration.com

 

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Free Resources: The Science of NFL Football

Thanks to Gary Price's ResourceShelf for this gem from the National Science Foundation:

Resources for Educators - The Science of NFL Football

In America, the autumn season means two things--back to school and back to football. To celebrate both events, NBC News' educational arm, NBC Learn, is teaming up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Football League (NFL) to release the "Science of NFL Football"--an informative 10-part video series that explores the science behind America's most beloved sport. Made especially for students and teachers as they head back to the classroom, these videos are aligned to lesson plans and national state education standards, and also are available to the public cost-free on www.NBCLearn.com and www.science360.gov ...

There's lots more in the full article. Link to it HERE at the ResourceShelf blog.

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