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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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March 01, 2011

Table of Contents

Free Resources: WGBH Teachers' Domain Classroom Resources, Lesson Plans for LOOP SCOOPS
Former ResourceShelf Publisher Launches INFOdocket Web Resource and Reference Material Site
SIIA Education Division Releases Don’t Copy That 2 – School Version
EBSCO Publishing Releases 24 New Ebook Subject Sets
PBS, Grunwald Associates Release Research Report on Teachers' Media Usage
Lexia Releases Lexia Reading 7.1
Netop Announces Additional Funding for Its Get A Grant for Education (NGAGE) Program
Follett Software Releases New Version of Aspen Student Information System
Free Resources: THIRTEEN, WNET.ORG's Multimedia Project "Get the Math"

Free Resources: WGBH Teachers' Domain Classroom Resources, Lesson Plans for LOOP SCOOPS

WGBH Teachers' Domain has created free classroom resources to support LOOP SCOOPS, a new animated broadband series for kids ages 6- 9 designed to grab their attention and get them thinking more creatively about the environment and the choices they make. The resources and lesson plans are available at www.teachersdomain.org/special/lpsc. LOOP SCOOPS' short, humorous videos give teachers a turn-key way to jumpstart conversation with their students, exploring sustainability, and promoting student inquiry.

The educational resources include eight videos and four lesson plans. Each video is surrounded by rich support material, including a background essay, teaching tips, links to standards, and related resources. Highlights from the videos include:

Garbage
A boy named Oliver learns how to reduce the amount of trash he discards. www.teachersdomain.org/resource/lpsc10.sci.life.garbage/

Frogs
A boy named Ben learns about the dangers of invasive species - in this case, exotic frogs. www.teachersdomain.org/resource/lpsc10.sci.life.frogs/

Juice Boxes
A kid discovers that an ordinary juice box is surprisingly high-tech and, once discarded, will last for 300 years. www.teachersdomain.org/resource/lpsc10.sci.life.jcbx/

The lesson plans integrate these questions with broader themes such as "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," a "Product Life Cycle," "Needs vs. Wants," and "Biodegradation." Students are encouraged to look upon objects and activities in their daily life and begin asking: Where does it come from? What is it made of? What happens to it when I throw it away?

Source: WGBH www.wgbh.org

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Former ResourceShelf Publisher Launches INFOdocket Web Resource and Reference Material Site

Note from your Internet@School Xtra editor: We have discovered and pointed out many K-12-related information and education resources here in our Xtra enewsletters over the years that have come to our attention via Gary Price's ResourceShelf website and blog. We recently learned that Gary and his colleague Shirl Kennedy have moved on to start a new, equally or even more informative website and information resource, INFOdocket, along with a sister site, FullTextReports. We urge you to explore these sites!! Below is the note and announcement Gary and Shirl sent out to explain.

=============== ============= ========

This is Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy saying hello from Washington, DC and St. Petersburg, FL. We have some news and a few URLs to share.

When we began ResourceShelf (just about a decade ago) and DocuTicker (two years later) our goal was, and has always been, to share info industry news, happenings in the library world, and supply a non-stop stream of new web-based resources to our loyal readers. Since we began, we've been very fortunate that so many of you have found what we do to be useful.

We would like to say thank you very much for your interest and support. We've also been happy to see that our websites are of interest to a wide variety of readers outside of the library community, including journalists and educators.

Today, we have a bit of news to share.

We (Gary and Shirl) are NO LONGER affiliated with ResourceShelf and DocuTicker. However, that doesn't mean it's time to say goodbye. Hardly. In fact, the same spirit that has compelled us to scour the Internet for interesting resources is also what's motivating us to jump right back in again. That's right - as of today, we're back online.

While we're still taking baby steps, and both sites are in the process of development, we thought it was best to begin posting the types of materials you've come to expect from us during the past decade as we construct our new sites. We also feel comfortable saying that we have several new features in the works.

So, where can you find us these days?

+ INFOdocket will be our home for new or newly-discovered web resources; reference material we find interesting (lists, rankings, infographics, and factbooks, and other materials); web search tips; relevant news items from the information industry and library community; and some occasional commentary.

URL: http://INFOdocket.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/INFOdocket

RSS: http://infodocket.com/feed/

+ FullTextReports is the new home for a hand-picked selection of new full-text reports on various topics from a wide variety of sources including government agencies, think tanks, non-profits, academia, and industry analysts.

URL: http://fulltextreports.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fulltextreports/

RSS: http://fulltextreports.com/feed/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fulltextreports/

If you have a spare moment or two, we would be most appreciative if you would let others know about both sites -- or share your ideas with us about our big news!

INFODocket: INFOdocket@gmail.com

FullTextReports: fulltextreports@gmail.com

You can also reach us using our personal email addresses.

Notes:

+ At the moment (as we build both sites), we will not be offering an email newsletter. However, we plan to offer several newsletters in the near future.

+ We plan to update INFOdocket and FullTextReports several times a day, seven days a week.

+ Mobile Access? No problem. Just head to the regular URLs and you'll  be redirected to our mobile sites.

So, that's the latest! We (Gary and Shirl) hope you will join us as soon as possible.

The best way to let us know you're out there is to follow one or both sites with Twitter or RSS.

If that's not an option, just stop by the web sites and browse.

Finally, we're very happy to be moving forward and glad you will be coming along.

Thank you.

Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy

INFOdocket.com

http://twitter.com/infodocket

FullTextReports

http://twitter.com/fulltextreports

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SIIA Education Division Releases Don’t Copy That 2 – School Version

The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has announced the release of Don't Copy That 2 - School Version as part of SIIA's ongoing effort to help teachers educate K-12 students about the ethical and legal use of copyrighted materials, such as software, books, articles, music and movies.

Don't Copy That 2 - School Version is a fun-to-watch rap music video that addresses the dangers of engaging in piracy and the importance of respecting the creative output of others. The accompanying classroom resources include support materials for the video, lesson plans for middle and high school teachers, a glossary, and other resources that can be helpful to educators in teaching these complex and important concepts.

The course materials include many of the same concepts for both middle and high school students, but use age-appropriate methods. The lesson plans serve as models that educators can customize to their students' needs. The learning materials have been designed as a series of presentations, discussions and student activities.

The materials were created with the support of professional organizations, such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which advocates safe, legal and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

More information can be found at http://dontcopythat2.com.

Source: SIIA, www.siia.net/

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EBSCO Publishing Releases 24 New Ebook Subject Sets

EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) has released 24 new ebook subject sets. The subject sets are part of a rapidly growing collection of ebooks that are offered in collections grouped by subject matter.

The latest ebook subject sets cover nine key collection areas including:

  • arts & humanities
  • business & economics
  • hot topics & special interests
  • medical
  • non-English
  • personal growth & how-to
  • science and technology
  • social sciences
  • vocational education

Subject sets are a prepackaged set of titles chosen specifically for their subject appeal. The collection development team of librarians and collection specialists use their expertise and knowledge to create collections and sets for libraries. Director of Content Collections for EBSCO Publishing Eve-Marie Miller says some of the recent collections were created with the international markets in mind. "While subject sets are always available to libraries worldwide, with this round of sets we specifically wanted to showcase some of our great content that appeals to an international audience.  These new sets were developed in consultation with our international teams and are tailored to help meet the needs and interests of libraries around the world."

Subject sets from EBSCO include titles published within the past three years, offering timely, updated information. The subject sets have no duplication among current or past offerings. The 24 new subject sets that are now available include:

Aging & Gerontology

Asian Regional Studies

Biography

Canadian Studies

Career Choice

Career Improvement & Professional Development

Caribbean & Latin American  Studies

Civil Engineering

Dentistry & Oral Sciences

Disaster Management

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Engineering Mathematics

Finance

Green Living

Information Technology: French

Latin American & Caribbean History: Spanish

Mechanical Engineering

Military History

Natural & Alternative Medicine

Robotics

Technology: German

Terrorism & Counterterrorism

UK - Eire Studies

Vocational Education II

Subject sets are just one of the ways libraries can select their ebooks on EBSCOhost. Other options for content selection include custom collections and Patron Driven Acquisition. Custom collections allow libraries to work with EBSCO's collection development team to develop collections for any subject, language or content type. Patron Driven Acquisition allows libraries to establish a collection of titles for patrons based on patron usage.  

Ebooks on EBSCOhost offers nearly 300,000 ebooks and audiobooks. EBSCO is proactively soliciting new content in key areas and approximately 5,000 new titles are expected to be added each month.  In April EBSCO will release a preview of ebooks on EBSCOhost with a full migration to the EBSCOhost platform expected by July.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, www.ebscohost.com

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PBS, Grunwald Associates Release Research Report on Teachers' Media Usage

PBS and Grunwald Associates LLC have released a national research report on teachers' media usage, entitled "Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology." The report indicates an insufficient capacity of computing devices and technology infrastructure to handle teachers' internet-dependent instructional activity. The national study also found that more than half of K-12 teachers report continued cuts in their school media budgets, increasing their reliance on free, quality content. Teachers spend 60 percent of their time using educational resources in the classroom that are either free or paid for by teachers themselves.


PBS first surveyed educators on their use of digital media and technology in 2002. Conducted annually, the PBS teacher surveys have found broadening adoption and deeper integration of digital media and technology in classrooms for all age groups, with teachers enthusiastic about new technologies.

Among the key findings in the "Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology" report:

* Over half of K-12 teachers (62%) frequently use digital media in classroom instruction.

* Cost continues to grow as the main barrier to using fee-based digital resources, with 46% of teachers citing this as a barrier, and 33% citing time constraints.

* Three-in-four teachers (76%) stream or download TV and video content, up from 55% in 2007. These teachers are also accessing content in completely new ways, with 24% reporting that they access content stored on a local server, up from 11% in 2007. Their use of short video segments of three to five minutes in length increased this year, with 29% reporting this is the average length of video segments used.

* Teachers view TV and video content as more effective when integrated with other instructional resources or content. More than two-thirds (67%) believe that digital resources help them differentiate learning for individual students, and a similar number (68%) believe TV and video content stimulates discussion.

* Pre-K teachers are also seeing the benefits of age-appropriate content and technology, with eight in ten (82%) reporting use of digital content. Half of pre-K teachers indicate that fee-based content is not age-appropriate for their students.

* Teachers see great educational potential in smart, portable devices, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handhelds. Teachers value, use and want interactive white boards more than any other technology.

* One in four K-12 teachers (26%) report membership in an online teacher community, such as PBS Teachers (www.pbs.org/teachers), citing connection, collaboration and shared resources as reasons to join.

Conducted in August 2010, the "Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology" survey is part of a series run by Grunwald Associates LLC, an independent research and consulting firm. The nationwide, online survey reflects the views of a representative sample of 1,401 full-time classroom teachers (1,204 K-12 public school teachers and 197 pre-K teachers in public and private schools). This sample was selected to represent teachers in urban, suburban and rural regions and in districts of all sizes. The full "Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology" report is available at www.pbs.org/teachers/research/.

PBS Teachers (www.pbs.org/teachers) is the national Web destination for high-quality, free, preK-12 educational resources suitable for a wide range of subjects and grade levels. Teachers can access thousands of lesson plans, teaching activities, on-demand video resources, interactive games and simulations, which are correlated to state and national educational standards, and are tied to PBS' on-air and online programming. The annual PBS Teachers Innovation Awards recognize effective teachers and the instructional practices they use to help students reach their potential. PBS is currently accepting submissions for the 2011 PBS Teachers Innovation Awards (www.pbs.org/teachers/innovators/) to honor the best practices from preK-12 educators who inspire and engage students through innovative classroom techniques. PBS also provides a collection of interactive whiteboard games for educators on PBS KIDS (http://pbskids.org/whiteboard/).

Source: PBS, www.pbs.org/

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Lexia Releases Lexia Reading 7.1

Lexia Learning has released Lexia Reading 7.1. This latest version of Lexia's software offers teachers and administrators an enhanced progress monitoring functionality to help support instructional strategies including Response to Intervention (RTI). Among other new features, two new skills reports provide detailed, real-time views of student performance by leveraging a national database of student skills development.

The new Lexia class skills report gives teachers and administrators an at-a-glance view of performance for all students in the class. The report shows major skill areas covered in each level of the program, and shows the percentage of students in the class who have completed each level. Teachers see an overview of individual student progress (percentage complete in each level), and are alerted by a "needs instruction" icon next to the name of struggling students.

For greater detail on individual student performance, teachers can click on the students' names to launch the Lexia student skills report. Leveraging the power of Lexia's national database of reading skills acquisition and Assessment Without Testing technology, the new student skills report provides a more sophisticated look at student progress, according to the announcement. For each skill completed, Lexia Reading calculates a relative rate of completion ("slow," "medium," or "fast," based on the time to complete each skill) and a relative level of accuracy in response ("low," "medium," or "high," based on the number of repeated activities). With these data, teachers can identify students who may be at risk of reading failure. Lexia Reading also delivers real-time data on the skills activities in progress, and highlights the specific skills with which each is struggling. The "needs instruction" icon appears on the report, providing a direct link to a robust set of scripted lessons, called Lexia Lessons, that help teachers provide targeted skills instruction on the specific skills needing support.

Lexia Reading offers support for critical reading skills development for all students in grades pre-K-4, as well as for students in grades 4-12 needing to accelerate their reading skills progress. The program includes more than 900 age-appropriate activities conforming to federal guidelines and focused on the five major areas of reading instruction. Students using the web-based, SIF certified program work independently as the software automatically differentiates the content to match each student's skill level; detecting when additional practice is needed and advancing students to the next level when skills have been mastered. Lexia's Assessment Without Testing technology gives administrators and teachers instant access to performance data gleaned from students' daily activities in the program-without stopping the flow of instruction to administer tests or wait for results. The software identifies students at risk for reading failure, highlighting specific skill deficits and aggregating student performance data at the student, class, school or district level. Teachers are automatically provided with Lexia Lessons and Lexia Skill Builders, a set of explicit, scripted lesson plans and paper and pencil practice sheets for direct skill instruction and offline practice.

Source: Lexia Learning, www.lexialearning.com

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Netop Announces Additional Funding for Its Get A Grant for Education (NGAGE) Program

Netop has announced additional funding for GAP Grants through its Netop Get A Grant for Education (NGAGE) program to help educators struggling with shrinking budgets. Available through June 30 or until the funding runs out, the grants are part of the company's commitment to ensure that all schools and teachers have access to tools for teaching with technology.

With the GAP Grants, Netop provides financial support for schools to purchase the popular Vision7 classroom management software for a district, school or classroom. The newly redesigned Vision7 gives teachers complete control over classroom computers from a console that shows each student computer screen. Educators use Vision7 to monitor student progress, control web browsing, and guide student learning on computers. 

Vision7 is priced at $999, but with a GAP Grant of $300, an educator would pay only $699 per lab. Schools can also receive grants of $1,100 for a site license.

The GAP Grants apply to select purchases of Netop Vision7 or Netop School made through Netop or an approved Netop reseller. For more information, visit www.netop.com/NGAGE.

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

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Follett Software Releases New Version of Aspen Student Information System

Follett Software Company has announced the release of version 3.1 of Aspen, its student information system, with an array of improved features focused in the areas of navigation, scheduling, health management, conduct and special education.

The Aspen Student Information System is a web-based enterprise platform for school and district administration, learning and communications that pulls together resources across the education community. Simplifying school data management through the integration of key K-12 applications, Aspen is used by more than 700,000 students in eight states.

The key features in Aspen 3.1 include:

Guided Tasks. Guided Tasks are part of a new framework featuring a special kind of workflow that walks users through multi-step processes such as rolling over the school year, building a master schedule, setting up a new GPA and much more. As a framework, districts are able to build their own Guided Tasks to use Aspen for training, or to simply help users with tasks they do infrequently, avoiding Help Desk calls and reducing errors by guiding the users through the task.

Scheduling. Adding or removing a section in the School View allows rebalancing of all students affected by the change.  Drop/Adds within the same department will prompt a user to transfer grades to the new class.

Health Management. Immunization compliance rules and reports are now supported with automatic calculation for next dose of a given immunization.  Group Screenings now support viewing and entering multiple screenings at once, making physical, vision, hearing screenings and more quick and easy via a single screen.

Conduct. Detentions and Suspensions use a calendar to assign days. Detentions side-tab can be filtered for different kinds of detentions, including multiple detention halls per day.

Staff View and Teacher Gradebook. To help users more easily find their classes on the Gradebook tab, they are now sorted by term, then period. The Home page of the Staff view also includes one button access to email parents and students of classes, teams and groups.

Special Education. When an IEP (Individualized Education Program) becomes active, an email is sent to the student's teachers, team and parents/guardians.  Accommodations, Goals and Services are now saved independently from the IEP record.

Existing Aspen customers with current technical support are entitled to the 3.1 upgrade at no additional cost.

In October 2010, Follett Software acquired X2 Development Corporation and its Aspen student information platform.  X2 continues to operate out of Hingham, Mass., as a wholly owned subsidiary of Follett Software.

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com

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Free Resources: THIRTEEN, WNET.ORG's Multimedia Project "Get the Math"

THIRTEEN and WNET.ORG have announced a new multimedia project entitled Get the Math. Airing nationwide on public television, Get the Math combines entertaining reality-style TV and online challenges to help middle and high school students see the relevance of math in exciting careers and develop algebraic thinking skills. The website, accessible at http://getthemath.org, features streaming video, interactive challenges, and materials for educators. Get the Math is a production of THIRTEEN in association with public media provider WNET.ORG, with funding by the Moody's Foundation.

THIRTEEN designed Get the Math to help increase student interest in learning algebra, promote an understanding of its usefulness and importance, and raise students' awareness of careers using algebra. On the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment math test, high school sophomores in the United States scored 25th among 30 industrialized nations. Furthermore, a 2006 study at Florida International University found that students who failed Algebra 1 were four times more likely to drop out of high school than those who passed the course.

The integrated broadcast and web materials are designed to engage and motivate students by making algebra concrete. Drawing on conventions of popular reality shows, Get the Math features profiles of dynamic young professionals working in fashion, video game development, and music production. Season two Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, video game developer Julia Detar, and hip-hop duo DobleFlo (Manny Dominguez and Luis Lopez) share how they regularly use algebra in their work and then pose challenges connected to their jobs to two teams of teens.

Online viewers have the opportunity to tackle the challenges using interactive tools and hints; they can compare their strategies to solutions used by student teams in the video. Viewers can then deepen their understanding of the algebra concepts explored through additional interactive challenges.

The Get the Math website also features streaming video of segments from the half-hour broadcast program and resources for teachers, including a training video showing how to use the materials in the classroom, and a teacher's guide with lesson plans. In addition, the site features an animated music video starring DobleFlo, downloadable MP3s of their music, including a math-themed rap they wrote for the project, and Q & A's with the professionals and teens.

The Get the Math program is divided into three segments:

* FASHION: Chloe Dao, Vietnamese refugee and FIT graduate who became a household name in 2006, and whose designs have been featured at the Smithsonian, has parlayed her Project Runway win into successful high-end and mass-market fashion collections. Chloe challenges the teams of teens to use both proportional reasoning and their sense of style to modify a design in order to get the retail price below a target of thirty-five dollars.

* VIDEO GAMES: Julia Detar, a videogame developer at the New York City-based company Arkadium, uses math when she develops online and Facebook games, such as Mahjongg Dimensions. Julia presents a challenge around a simplified "Asteroids"-type game that introduces basic concepts behind programming. Students use coordinate graphing and linear equations to plot the path of a spaceship and avoid a collision with an oncoming asteroid.

* MUSIC: Manny Dominguez and Luis Lopez, who perform as the hip-hop duo DobleFlo, write and produce music in collaboration with The Brooklyn Label, an independent music label. Independent Media Magazine says of the Brooklyn-based duo, "If you're looking for some substance, style, and originality you might want to look into DobleFlo. They display a passion and grittiness in their voice and vocals that the rap game is sorely missing." Manny and Luis draw on their math skills regularly, particularly when using music production software. They ask the students to calculate the tempo of an instrumental sample so they can adjust the tempo of an electronic drum track to match it.

 To launch Get the Math into communities nationwide, WNET.ORG, along with public television stations who received outreach grants, will partner with local organizations with a vested interest in math education and conduct professional development workshops for teachers. This program, with its broadcast, digital, and outreach components, takes the math education that Cyberchase has been so successful in driving forward for younger kids to the next age group of students as they face higher-level math challenges.

Source: WNET.ORG, www.wnet.org/

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