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November 23, 2010

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Thirteen and WNET.Org's Mission US Online History Games
Safari Books Online Launches Free Global iPad App
SirsiDynix launches BookMyne 2.0 iPhone Application
Free Resources: Pearson's "Next-Generation Assessments” Website
MMIS Xtra News: Complete November/December 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Contents Now Available Online—Full Text, Text+Graphics, PDF
CoSN Releases Monograph, "The Future of Information Technology: How The Next Ten Years Will Fundamentally Change the Role of the K-12 CTO"
World Book Expands Science Power Digital Supplemental Learning Resource
SIIA, ASCD, and Council of Chief State School Officers Jointly Release 'Innovate to Educate' Report
Tutor.com Announces Tutor.com To Go Education App
Netop Releases Version 2.0 of MyVision Classroom Management Software
Discovery Education Aligns Digital Services to Common Core State Standards

Free Resources: Thirteen and WNET.Org's Mission US Online History Games

THIRTEEN, in association with WNET.ORG, has announced the launch of "Mission US," a new series of free online games designed to let middle school students learn and "live" history. The first game mission, "For Crown or Colony?," focuses on events leading up to the American Revolution.  The game, together with a rich variety of supplemental resources for students and teachers, is available for streaming and download at www.mission-us.org.  This initiative is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mission US invites students to be "players" during pivotal eras in the country's past.  The content helps students understand and appreciate multiple perspectives and gain a more nuanced view of history, according to the announcement.  "For Crown or Colony?" provides kids with insight into the mindsets of both Patriots and Loyalists.   


Teachers who participated in classroom tests of ‘For Crown or Colony?' reported that students were more intellectually and emotionally engaged during the Mission US unit than in the typical unit they teach.  It helped their students see the events leading to the American Revolution in more human terms that they could understand.

"For Crown or Colony?" immerses players in the world of 1770 Boston before the American Revolution.  Players take on the role of Nathaniel Wheeler, a 14-year-old apprentice to the publisher of the pro-Patriot Boston Gazette.  They steer Nat's actions - from confronting soldiers patrolling the wharves to falling for the niece of a Loyalist merchant - as he carries out tasks for his master.  While interacting with a variety of people from colonial Boston society, including historical figures like Paul Revere and Phillis Wheatley, Nat encounters different views on British authority and colonial protest.

As the stakes rise, the gamers' knowledge of the period grows through their unique experiences that involve reading primary historical documents, collecting period artifacts, and clicking on "Smartwords" (vocabulary) embedded in the dialogue.  Nat's fate rests in players' hands: Should he complete his apprenticeship and support the Patriots' cause, remain loyal to the crown, or leave Boston, taking a new job at sea?  No matter what path Nat chooses, he witnesses the events of the Boston Massacre and, ultimately, must decide where his allegiance lies.

Designed for use at home or in school, the game is divided into five parts, and may be played individually or collaboratively.  Mission US is designed to help students with different learning styles acquire skills critical for understanding history that are identified in state and national education standards.  In addition to the game, the Mission US website will offer numerous downloadable resources and activities for classroom use, including document-based questions, a primary source collection, vocabulary activities, background on historical figures, writing prompts, and visual aids. 

The stylized approach to design used in Mission US has the flavor of anime and 2D casual web-based games that have grown in popularity as alternatives to console games.  The design, like the content, is informed by the latest scholarship.  The development team includes historians from the American Social History Project (ASHP) at CUNY, researchers from Education Development Center's Center for Children and Technology (CCT), and game developers from Electric Funstuff.

To help spread the word about Mission US into communities, ten PBS stations will spearhead multi-tiered outreach initiatives in 2010 and 2011 that include training local teachers how to most effectively use the resource with their classes.  The comprehensive Mission US support materials are free and downloadable for use in classrooms and homes.  Other outreach partners are the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the American Library Association (ALA)/American Association of School Librarians (AASL), which will promote utilization of the game in classrooms, afterschool programs, and libraries across the country.    

Each of the games in THIRTEEN's Mission US series will challenge players to take on the role of a young character living through a significant time in American history.  In "Flight to Freedom," slated for release in spring 2011, players will assume the role of a runaway slave, as they explore events leading up to the Civil War.  Roles under consideration for future missions include an assistant involved in the race to complete the transcontinental railroad, a muckraking journalist in early 20th century New York, and a member of an Oklahoma family that migrates to California during the Great Depression. 

Mission US is produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG. 

Major funding for Mission US is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Source: WNET.ORG, www.wnet.org

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Safari Books Online Launches Free Global iPad App

Safari Books Online has announced that it is offering a free app for Apple's iPad which allows subscribers of Safari Books Online to view book content in their library. Subscribers will also be able to view content offline. The free app, called Safari To Go, is available for download now at Apple's iTunes App Store [itms://itunes.apple.com/us/app/safari-to-go/id385824712?mt=8]. 

Safari Books Online, which is already available for iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and Android smartphones on its mobile site, m.safaribooksonline.com, built the new Safari To Go app from the ground up specifically to leverage iPad capabilities such as pinch-to-zoom and drag and drop functions.

The Safari To Go iPad app includes:

*  Search technology to help users find exactly what they need by searching the vast collection of  books and articles available 

*  Search within the content of a book to pinpoint specific information quickly.

*  Sign up for trials and subscriptions from the application

*  Access the sample content of each book (for non subscribers)

*  Gain access to folders and notes with tagging and bookmarking of book content synchronized between the app and the full website

*  Cache book content to the iPad for offline reading

*  Navigate quickly and easily via a simplified, touch screen interface, optimized for iPad users and designed to allow users to quickly start where they left off and spend more time reading and less time searching

Source: Safari Books Online, www.safaribooksonline.com

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SirsiDynix launches BookMyne 2.0 iPhone Application

SirsiDynix has announced the 2.0 release of the BookMyne iPhone application. BookMyne features mobile access to in-demand library information, holdings and services. Version 2.0 expands the application's offering with features including:

·       Barcode scanning capability, so library users can scan the barcode of a book at a bookstore or friend's home and retrieve availability information on the book at the patron's library of choice;

·       Social recommendation engine powered via Goodreads, enabling iPhone or iPod Touch users to search library holding for friend-recommended reads;

·       New York Times best seller list cross-referencing, enabling users to immediately cross-check the best seller list with library holdings and place holds remotely;

·       Enhanced account interaction, including the ability for library users to view fines and fees in addition to other account information from their Apple mobile device.

Current customer libraries running the SirsiDynix Symphony ILS with an installation of SirsiDynix Web Services can offer their patrons the full BookMyne application functionality. The BookMyne iPhone app can be downloaded free of charge from the iTunes App Store. Over 1,350 libraries around the world have registered their libraries to be discovered on the iPhone application.

For more information on the SirsiDynix BookMyne 2.0 application for libraries, visit  www.sirsidynix.com/products/bookmyne.   

Source: SirsiDynix,  www.sirsidynix.com

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Free Resources: Pearson's "Next-Generation Assessments” Website

Pearson has unveiled a new web resource, Next-Generation Assessments, designed to inform and assist states and state consortia as they develop and transition to the next generation of student assessments.

The Next-Generation Assessments website features free access to white papers and other resources developed by Pearson's experts in assessment, instruction and digital learning technologies to help states as they design and deliver new assessment systems that are both innovative and pragmatic. Pearson has provided large-scale assessment services for more than 30 states as well as the U.S. Department of Education, ACT, the College Board and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

As part of its Race to The Top competition, the U.S. Education Department awarded two state consortia grants to design comprehensive assessment systems to accelerate the transformation of public schools: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). In addition, many states are redesigning their own state assessment programs. Together, these transitions will require fundamental shifts in how assessments are developed, delivered, and scored as well as how the data is used to improve teaching and personalize learning. Ultimately, these new assessments will be integrated into a next generation teaching and learning system.

Papers featured on the site in the future will address topics such as growth models, standards setting, automated scoring and rigor in assessments.  Pearson's Next-Generation Assessments web site is available at www.pearsonassessments.com/NextGeneration/.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsonassessments.com/

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MMIS Xtra News: Complete November/December 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Contents Now Available Online—Full Text, Text+Graphics, PDF

The November/December 2010 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools magazine is all there now at our website www.mmischools.com. In addition to the free November/December reviews and the free full-text cover story (Libraries Get Social—Social Media, That Is!), which have been available since the beginning of the month, now the remaining features, columns, and other November/December content have been processed. Some are free to view. Others are available in a variety of formats -- Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF -- on a pay-to-view basis by way of Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral and ProQuest Archiver.

For access, see the November/December 2010 issue contents HERE, click on any article, and follow the links.

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CoSN Releases Monograph, "The Future of Information Technology: How The Next Ten Years Will Fundamentally Change the Role of the K-12 CTO"

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released the third monograph from its four-part 2010 Compendium - "The Future of Information Technology: How The Next Ten Years Will Fundamentally Change the Role of the K-12 CTO." The monograph provides a detailed historical perspective on the role chief technology officers (CTOs) have played in the past, and forward-looking insight into how that role is expected to evolve over the next decade.

What will happen in the next 10 years that will lead to this evolution? The monograph notes that dramatic changes in information technology (IT) will be the result of four trends: IT Outsourcing (ITO); decentralized control over the IT environment; nearly limitless storage solutions; and mass virtualization of the data center.

The complete monograph walks readers through the parallel changes in IT and IT leadership since the 1950s, making the case that throughout history, technological advances have driven the development of the CTO profession. The monograph also includes other valuable resources, including a first-person perspective piece from the author, titled "From the Shade Tree Mechanic to the Modern-Day CIO."

The free members-only monograph is only available to current CoSN members as a PDF download in MyCoSN. To read the executive summary, please click here.

For more information about the 2010 CoSN Compendium, visit www.cosn.org/compendium.  

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

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World Book Expands Science Power Digital Supplemental Learning Resource

World Book, Inc. has announced several additions to Science Power, its science website designed to meet the needs of students of varying learning aptitudes. Science Power, first introduced this summer, is a core component of the World Book Classroom collection of content-rich, interactive digital supplemental learning resources.

In September, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) submitted a report to President Obama on K-12 STEM education. Spurred by the ongoing findings that American students lag peers in other countries in science, PCAST's recommended strategies include preparing students for a strong foundation in STEM subjects and inspiring students so that they are motivated to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in STEM fields.

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).

Designed for students in the upper elementary grades, Science Power lessons cover all science curriculum topics, with highlighted vocabulary, rich multimedia, custom-made animations, and review questions. New comprehensive lesson packages now available in Science Power include:

  • Matter, covering such areas as matter basics, acids and bases, changes, properties and states of matter, mixtures and solutions, and elements; and
  • Forces & Energy, covering such areas as electricity and magnetism, energy and work, heat, light, motion, simple machines, and sound.

These join lesson packages on Living Things, Ecosystems, Earth, and Weather & Space, which were introduced with the site in August.

Key features across Science Power 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 reinforcement;

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.

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

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 (www.worldbookonline.com/sales).

Source: World Book, www.worldbook.com

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SIIA, ASCD, and Council of Chief State School Officers Jointly Release 'Innovate to Educate' Report

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), in collaboration with ASCD and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), has released Innovate to Educate: System [Re]Design for Personalized Learning. This report of findings is based upon the insights and recommendations of some 150 visionary education leaders convened at an August 4-6, 2010 Symposium in Boston, Mass. The report is available at www.siia.net/pli and provides a roadmap to accelerate the redesign of the current, mass production education model to a student-centered, customized learning model that will better engage, motivate, and prepare our students to be career and college ready.

The Symposium brought together three key groups - local and state practitioners, national thought leaders, and senior technology executives. They jointly identified the following top essential elements and policy enablers of personalized learning:

Essential Elements

1. Flexible, Anytime, Everywhere Learning

2. Redefine Teacher Role and Expand "Teacher"

3. Project-Based, Authentic Learning

4. Student-Driven Learning Path

5. Mastery/Competency-Based Progression/Pace

Policy Enablers

1. Redefine Use of Time (Carnegie Unit/Calendar)

2. Performance-Based, Time-Flexible Assessment

3. Equity in Access to Technology Infrastructure

4. Funding Models that Incentivize Completion

5. P-20 Continuum & Non-Age/Grade Band System

Ninety-one percent of education leaders at the Symposium very strongly or strongly agreed that "we cannot meet the personalized learning needs of students within our traditional system - tweaking the teacher/classroom-centered model is not enough, and systemic redesign is needed."

Ninety-six percent of Symposium attendees identified access to technology and e-learning as a critical or significant cross-cutting platform to implement personalized learning and bring it to scale.

SIIA, ASCD, CCSSO and Symposium attendees agree with the need for collective and individual actions moving forward. Those recommended next steps, along with details on the Personalized Learning initiative, are available at www.siia.net/PLI/presentations.asp, including an archive of Symposium session summaries, presentations and videos. The Symposium Report is available at www.siia.net/pli. These resources provide a shared vision and definition, examples of successful implementations, and descriptions of key policies, systems, technologies, educator roles and supports, and national next steps required to bring personalized learning to scale.

Source: Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), www.siia.net

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Tutor.com Announces Tutor.com To Go Education App

Tutor.com has announced Tutor.com To Go. The first release, available now in the Apple App Store, gives students mobile access to Tutor.com's library of 9,000 online lessons, worksheets, videos and test-prep resources. In early 2011, Tutor.com will introduce the ability for students to connect to an online tutor for a homework review session from their iPhone or iPod Touch.

Access to the Tutor.com SkillsCenter Resource Library is free, and students don't have to create an account to use the application. There are more than 9,000 vetted homework, test prep and study resources including step-by-step videos, study guides, SAT prep materials and resources for standardized exams in all 50 states. Students in K-12 or taking introductory college courses simply select their subject and topic or search by keyword to find the resources they need on the go. Resources are rated by the community of users.

Every week, over 20,000 students access Tutor.com from their public library, school or home to connect to a live tutor for one-to-one help in math, science, social studies or English. Thousands of students also use the Tutor.com SkillsCenter to address their academic challenges. Tutor.com To Go gives students access to these resources from their iPhone or iPod Touch. Tutor.com expects to develop apps for additional smart phones and devices in the future.

Current Tutor.com subscribers with individual accounts can also use the app now to take pictures of homework problems and store them in their mobile locker until they're ready to work with a tutor. Subscribers can also review previous online tutoring sessions.

Source: Tutor.com, www.tutor.com

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Netop Releases Version 2.0 of MyVision Classroom Management Software

Netop has announced a new version of MyVision. With version 2.0, both MyVision Basic and MyVision Free feature integration with Active Directory. This new feature allows teachers to monitor students wherever they choose to work - in the library, in a study room, or in an open computer lab.

Netop MyVision allows educators to manage mixed-platform classrooms. Teachers can monitor and manage a classroom of PCs, a classroom of Macs or a classroom with some of each. Netop MyVision offers robust support for the mixed-environment classroom. The new version of MyVision also features a modern, redesigned interface and supports intelligent selection of student computers. Now, when a teacher is adding students, MyVision suggests active and recently logged-in students, making it easy for educators to manage their students on computers.

The new version features full support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X 10.5 and OS X 10.6. Netop has also optimized the installation process for MyVision. With two options for installing the student module, it is now just as easy for an educator to get his or her MyVision classrooms up and running as it is for someone from the school IT department.

To introduce the new release, Netop is offering a new trial subscription to MyVision Basic at no charge. Existing users need simply to download the new version and log in with their existing user ID and password. New users will be guided through the download process. Download a trial of the new version at www.netop.com/trymyvision

Launched in 2009, MyVision is the entry-level classroom management software offering from Netop designed for teachers who need simple, basic controls over classroom computers. MyVision Basic provides four essential tools for teaching with computers, so any teacher can supervise student computer work, share engaging on-screen demonstrations, instantly capture the attention of the class and control student Internet access.

MyVision Free, offering the most fundamental tools for teaching with technology, is available to all schools as a free download. With MyVision Free, teachers can supervise student computer use, monitor Web browsing, assess student progress, identify students who need extra help and improve classroom time on task. MyVision Free provides a subset of the features in MyVision Basic and may be upgraded seamlessly at any time.

For more information or a free 30-day trial of MyVision, visit www.netop.com/myvision.

Source: Netop Solutions A/S, www.netop.com

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Discovery Education Aligns Digital Services to Common Core State Standards

Discovery Education has announced the alignment of Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education streaming Plus and Discovery Education Assessment with the Common Core State Standards for English-language arts and mathematics. Discovery Education services are available in more than half of U.S. schools.

Developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in consultation with other leading educational entities and educators, the Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what K-12 students across the country are expected to learn in English-language arts and mathematics, regardless of what state they live in. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that students need for success in college and the workforce. 

This alignment aids educators in their quest for easy-to-find, relevant digital resources and quality assessments that empower educators to maximize student academic achievement. The company's ability to align Discovery Education streaming, streaming Plus and Discovery Education Assessment to these national standards highlights one of the many benefits of using dynamic digital content over static textbooks, according to the announcement.

For more information on Discovery Education services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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