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January 18, 2011

Table of Contents

OverDrive Reports Libraries, Schools Play Leading Role in Ebook Boom
Pearson Launches Pearson Common Core Website
Follett Announces Follett Challenge Contest
Facts On File Adds New Video Feature and Core Content to Its American History Online Database
Maple T.A. 7 and Maple T.A. MAA Placement Test Suite 7 Now Available
Follett Software Company Releases New Version of Destiny
Center on Education Policy Survey Finds Momentum Building for Common Core State Standards

OverDrive Reports Libraries, Schools Play Leading Role in Ebook Boom

OverDrive has released an announcement noting that libraries and schools worldwide were at the forefront of the ebook boom in 2010, as patrons and students downloaded millions of digital books for iPhone, Android, Sony Reader, NOOK, and personal computers. More than one million new users signed on to access free ebooks, audiobooks, and more from ‘Virtual Branch' websites last year, resulting in a 200 percent increase in ebook checkouts and a 52 percent increase in audiobook checkouts over 2009. OverDrive offers access to ebooks, audiobooks, music, and video titles from a library near you via their site at http://search.overdrive.com.

Key statistics for library ebooks, audiobooks, and more from OverDrive-powered digital catalogs include:

  • 718 million book and title catalog pages viewed
  • 15 million digital titles checked out
  • 6.6 billion minutes of spoken word audio downloaded
  • 400,000 copyrighted ebook, audiobook, music, and video titles available to libraries

Library users are able to download ebooks over the air directly to their iPhone, iPod touch, and Android tablet or phone, in addition to downloads for PC, Mac, and popular ebook readers. The free OverDrive Media Console apps launched with EPUB ebook support in December 2010 and helped drive new records for library mobile checkouts. OverDrive will release an optimized iPad app with ebook support, as well as BlackBerry, with other platforms in development.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was the most downloaded adult fiction ebook and audiobook of the year, as Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy enthralled library customers in 2010. On the adult nonfiction side, Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" topped the ebook and audiobook charts. Titles from Kathryn Stockett, Malcolm Gladwell, and Chelsea Handler were also among the most downloaded books from the library in 2010. The top five titles in each adult category include:

Most Downloaded Adult Fiction ebooks from the Library (2010)

1.     "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Stieg Larsson, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

2.     "The Help," Kathryn Stockett, Penguin USA, Inc.

3.     "The Girl Who Played with Fire," Stieg Larsson, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

4.     "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," Stieg Larsson, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group                   

5.     "The Lost Symbol," Dan Brown, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Most Downloaded Adult Nonfiction ebooks from the Library (2010)

1.     "Eat, Pray, Love," Elizabeth Gilbert, Penguin Group USA, Inc.

2.     "Sh*t My Dad Says," Justin Halpern, HarperCollins

3.     "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown and Company

4.     "SuperFreakonomics," Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner, HarperCollins

5.     "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang," Chelsea Handler, Grand Central Publishing

Most Downloaded Adult Fiction Audiobooks from the Library (2010)

1.     "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Stieg Larsson, Books on Tape

2.     "The Help," Kathryn Stockett, Books on Tape

3.     "The Girl Who Played with Fire," Stieg Larsson, Books on Tape

4.     "The Lost Symbol," Dan Brown, Books on Tape

5.     "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," Stieg Larsson, Books on Tape

Most Downloaded Adult Nonfiction Audiobooks from the Library (2010)

1.     "Eat, Pray, Love," Elizabeth Gilbert, Books on Tape

2.     "Blink," Malcolm Gladwell, Hachette Audio         

3.     "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell, Hachette Audio     

4.     "Three Cups of Tea," Greg Mortenson, Tantor Media       

5.     "The Tipping Point," Malcolm Gladwell, Hachette Audio  

Monthly 'Most Downloaded Books from the Library' lists are also published at http://overdrive.com/mostdownloaded.

Source: OverDrive, www.overdrive.com

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Pearson Launches Pearson Common Core Website

Pearson has announced the debut of Pearson Common Core, a website that offers complete and cohesive support to implement the new Common Core State Standards and provide the easiest possible transition, according to its announcement. The website, at  www.pearsoned.com/commoncore, is intended to help the 40 states (plus the Virgin Islands and District of Columbia) that are gearing up for the transition to the new Common Core State Standards, providing access to a comprehensive set of resources to facilitate the changeover to the new standards. 

Pearson has developed an array of integrated solutions that include Aligned curriculum and iPad-ready eTexts, Assessment, Data Management, Teacher Professional Development, and Overall School Improvement.

Pearson's support will provide solutions including:

  • Teacher training - Strategic planning with districts to evaluate needs and develop customized programs. Available now to prepare for the transition are face-to-face and online workshops with video training modules that address specific implications in the standards for how to approach subject area content and the teaching of skills and strategies related to: Math and English Language Arts, assessment of learning, special populations, and practices/behaviors that students will need to demonstrate to show that they can apply their knowledge.
  • Instruction - Newly-developed common core curriculum programs, including performance assessments; enhancements to Pearson's existing instructional materials for college and career-readiness and alignment with the new standards which will be available at no charge; digital and virtual courses, as well as a concentrated focus on mobile learning with new iPad-ready eTexts for grades 6-12.
  • Assessment - Formative assessment to monitor student performance and progress throughout the school year, providing critical information on how, when, and where to target remediation and instruction throughout the transition. With this data, educators gain a complete picture of student achievement and personalize the learning experience to increase positive student outcomes.
  • Data Management/Systems - Integrating technology systems for student performance data management to provide classroom and longitudinal data. Systems connect all entities, providing information and tools to make meaningful comparisons and seamless transitions that take students from early childhood to college and workplace readiness.
  • School Improvement - Solutions offered through Pearson's America's Choice, offering a combination of professional development, technical assistance, and high-quality materials.

The new Pearson Common Core website will be updated regularly.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsonschool.com

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Follett Announces Follett Challenge Contest

Follett Corporation has announced the "Follett Challenge" contest to find the best innovations in school libraries. The contest will advocate for the role librarians play as champions of school programs that drive student achievement.

During the last decade more than a dozen studies conducted by the Library Research Service demonstrate the impact of school librarians and libraries on student performance. Students at schools with well-developed library programs consistently score an average of 10-18 percent higher on standardized reading tests. Despite these findings, many library programs find themselves with fewer staff and less resources today.

The Follett program was formally announced recently at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. The judges, comprised of library and educational professionals, will be looking for schools that do the most outstanding job of applying technology, content, and creativity in ways that engage students, foster literacy and critical thinking.

Six winning libraries will be rewarded with the cash-equivalent of products and services from Follett. Follett's many offerings include books, audiovisual materials and electronic resources from Follett Library Resources; automated library, resource, and learning management solutions from Follett Software; and supplemental classroom materials, workbooks and pre-owned textbooks from Follett Educational Services.

Applications for the Follett Challenge will be available Feb. 1, and are open to all private and public K-12 schools. The application will consist of a detailed program description, a written endorsement of support from the school's administration and a three to five minute video as a creative representation of the program's impact. All submissions are due June 1.

For more information about the Follett Challenge, visit www.follettchallenge.com.

Source: Follett Corporation, www.follett.com

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Facts On File Adds New Video Feature and Core Content to Its American History Online Database

Facts On File, from Infobase Publishing, has announced new enhancements to its American History Online database-a new video feature with more than 1,000 newsreel videos plus new and updated content from the revised edition of the award-winning Encyclopedia of American History.

The new video content includes mainly historical newsreels with a focus on World War II-era footage. The new "Focus on History through Video" feature on the home page spotlights the new content, with a player that shows a new video-from a selection of newsreels spanning the 1940s to the 1990s-each time the site reloads. Clicking on the "Go to Video Gallery" link in that feature will take the user to a new gallery of all the videos in the database. This new gallery can be filtered by era.
                                                                       
The  content from the landmark Encyclopedia of American History, Revised Edition adds new contemporary information and updates core content. Students and researchers now have access to updated, authoritative information on many contemporary personalities and events, as well as more than 280 brand-new entries-from stem cell research to global warming to the Afghanistan War.

Other features of American History Online include:
- Complete coverage of more than 500 years of political, military, social, and cultural history
- Overview era essays outlining time periods
- Unique Topic Centers with specially selected entries on different eras of American history to help users find a starting point for their research
- Biographies
- Events and topics
- More than 2,400 primary source documents
- General timeline, updated monthly, plus subject-specific and era-specific timelines
- Images and videos
- Maps and charts
- "Editor's Selection of the Month"
- Examples of full citations in MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, and APA styles.

For ordering, pricing, or other information, contact the Online Sales Department at
onlinesales@infobaselearning.com.

Source: Infobase Publishing, www.infobasepublishing.com

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Maple T.A. 7 and Maple T.A. MAA Placement Test Suite 7 Now Available

Maplesoft has announced the release of new versions of its testing and assessment tools.  Version 7 of Maple T.A.  and the Maple T.A. MAA Placement Test Suite provide new options for analyzing grades and gaining an understanding of how students are performing.

The new analysis capabilities in Maple T.A. 7 include tools that let instructors view all responses to a single question at once to look for patterns, track progress towards the final grade based on an instructor-defined grading scheme, and incorporate and analyze results from external assignments. Maple T.A. 7 also introduces new palettes that make enable students to enter integrals, derivatives, and matrices in natural mathematical notation, which allows instructors to offer a wide variety of questions even to students who are not comfortable with commands and syntax.

Maple T.A. MAA Placement Test Suite 7 is powered by Maple T.A. 7, so all the new results analysis capabilities in Maple T.A. 7 are also available to Placement Test Suite 7 customers.  In particular, for those who customize their placement tests, Maple T.A. provides new statistical measurements that can be used to ensure a high quality placement test in which success on individual questions has a high correlation to success on the overall test.


Maplesoft's core technology is an advanced symbolic computation engine, which is the foundation for all of its products, including Maple, the technical computing and documentation environment; MapleSim, the high-performance, multi-domain modeling and simulation tool for physical systems; and Maple T.A., a web-based system for creating and assessing online tests and assignments.

Source: Maplesoft, www.maplesoft.com

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Follett Software Company Releases New Version of Destiny

Follett Software Company has announced the release of Destiny 9.9 with a range of improvements designed to allow existing Destiny Library Manager and Destiny Textbook Manager customers to save time, increase efficiency and help drive student achievement.

Follett Software's web-based Destiny platform for the K-12 marketplace in North America includes Destiny Library Manager, in use in more than 45,000 schools and 4,000 districts, and Destiny Textbook Manager, in use in more than 13,000 schools and 1,000 districts.

From new email flexibility to site authorization for refunds, the key features in Destiny 9.9 include:

§      Greater email flexibility.

Destiny now allows for greater email flexibility. Additional configuration options are now available in the Destiny Administrator to use Follett Software's SMTP server to send email notices via Gmail, YahooMail and Hotmail.

§      Improved differentiation between library and textbook fines.

Fine History Reports now include Destiny Library Manager and Destiny Textbook Manager indicators to better differentiate library materials from textbook fines.

§      Increased refund processing capability.

Sites that are authorized to process refunds and have configured SMTP servers are now able to generate multiple email refund requests for patrons who return books after the book has been identified as lost and a fine paid.

§      Quicker printing of new patron barcodes.

Temporary patron lists can be easily created to use to print patron barcodes.

§      Enhanced reporting on items checked out during the day.

Users are now able to easily see how many books have been checked out during the school day. The new report lists call number (Destiny Library Manager only), barcode, title, patron name and patron barcode. The list is sorted by time and starts with the first checkout of the day. The total number of items also is shown at the bottom of the report making it convenient for users to check circulation trends.

§      Conveniently print Lexile, AR and RC labels.

Users that currently subscribe to Reading Program Services are now able to print their labels based on the last time they updated them on pre-approved Follett Software label stock - saving time and money.

§      Quickly update textbook due dates.

Users can now easily create a global update to correct or modify the due date of their textbooks.

Existing Destiny customers with current technical support are entitled to the 9.9 upgrade at no additional cost.

More information about Destiny 9.9 is available by visiting www.follettsoftware.com/destiny99.

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com

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Center on Education Policy Survey Finds Momentum Building for Common Core State Standards

A new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) has found states that have signed onto common core state standards in English language arts and math are moving forward with little resistance, though full implementation is several years away for most of them.

Most states plan major changes to assessments, curriculum materials, professional development and teacher evaluation as part of the new standards. Many of these changes, however, are years away. For example, 23 of the 31 states that plan to require school districts to implement the common core standards do not expect to fully institute the requirements until 2013 or later.

The report, "States' Progress and Challenges in Implementing Common Core Standards," is based on a confidential survey of state deputy education secretaries. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia responded to the survey between October and November 2010. The goal of the survey was to learn more about state progress toward adopting and implementing the voluntary K-12 common core state learning standards.

At the time of the survey, 32 states had adopted the standards; four had provisionally adopted the standards, which means that further action is necessary, such as  legislative approval; one state decided not to adopt them; and five of the six undecided expected to reach a decision this year while the other was unsure when a decision would be reached.

Officials in 36 states said that the rigor of the common core state standards and whether they would serve as a foundation for statewide education improvement were very important or important considerations in their decision to adopt the standards. By contrast, 30 states said they decided, in part, to adopt core standards because they felt it would improve their chances of winning federal Race to the Top funding. (States could cite multiple reasons for adopting the standards.)

Many states said it will take until 2013 or later to fully implement the more complex challenges associated with the common core standards. Most states expect to make changes in professional development by 2012 or sooner, but it will take until 2013 or later to fully implement major changes in assessment, curriculum, and teacher evaluation and certification. Of the 27 states that plan to change student assessments by 2013 or later, six gave 2015 as the timeline.

The survey found that states lack solid plans to coordinate with higher education on linking college admissions requirements or curriculum to the common standards. Just seven states plan to align first-year undergraduate core curriculum with the standards while 26 states did not know if this change would be implemented, and three said it would not. Twenty-four states did not know if undergraduate admissions requirements would be aligned to the standards, while eight said they would, and four said they would not.

Many challenges remain for states implementing the common standards. Twenty-one states said that developing a teacher evaluation system that holds teachers accountable for the standards is a major challenge, and 19 states said that finding adequate funding was a major challenge. A total of 21 states expected to face a major or minor challenge aligning teacher preparation programs with the standards.

Although most adopting states will require school districts to implement the common core state standards, the majority are not requiring districts to change curriculum and teacher programs to support the requirement. The district activities that are being required by the greatest numbers of states include providing professional development to support the standards (13 states), implementing evaluation systems to hold educators accountable for students' mastery of the standards (11 states), and developing new curriculum or instructional practices aligned with the common standards (10 states).

The full report is available online at www.cep-dc.org.

Source: The Center on Education Policy, www.cep-dc.org

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