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October 09, 2012

Table of Contents

ePals Announces World Elections Center for Students Around the Globe
Internet@Schools Xtra News: Deadline Extended for the Call for Speakers, Internet@Schools at Computers in Libraries 2013
PBS LearningMedia, The Henry Ford Announce Call for Entries for the 2012 Teacher Innovator Awards
OverDrive Releases Free OverDrive Media Console App for NOOK
Infobase Learning Adds California Newsreel Films to Its Films On Demand Streaming Video Products
SETDA Releases 'Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age'
Free Resources: Edutopia's Guide to Help Educators Bring Mobile Devices into the Classroom
GetEdFunding.com and CDW-G Launch Webiste to Help Educators Find New Funding Sources
PBS Kids Updates PBS KIDS PLAY Classroom Edition

ePals Announces World Elections Center for Students Around the Globe

ePals has announced the launch of the ePals World Elections Center, designed to involve students in a range of interactive activities to help them learn about election processes, candidates and issues globally.

The ePals World Elections Center includes projects and activities for both whole-class and independent learning and reinforce problem-solving, critical thinking and the cultural awareness emphasized in the new Common Core Standards. Among the multimedia offerings available for students to explore are videos on the recent French presidential inauguration; the campaign trail with 2012 Venezuelan presidential candidates; and the U.S. Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Students can also tap into a variety of safe social media features that enable collaborative projects, discussion forums around election topics, quizzes, polls, and other interactive communication elements.

A primary area of the World Elections Center is Students Speak, where students can share their thoughts and feelings about the elections, leaders and issues in their countries with peers around the world. Student voices are showcased through a variety of media including writing, artwork and videos. In this area students can create collages illustrating the candidates' platforms, videotape a reading of an original poem about peace, or craft a persuasive essay explaining their personal political position. Special Challenge sections ask students to craft election slogans, campaign rules or a video-based Presidential Minute, where they have 60 seconds to address the leader of their country with advice, concerns and issues of importance to their families. For examples of Presidential Minute challenge videos created by students for past elections, visit www.epals.com/worldelections/?studentsspeak.

A Teachers' Corner helps teachers integrate the World Elections Center into the curriculum. There, educators from around the world can find partners for collaborative projects on a range of election-related topics. Sample projects include exploring primary election issues, researching candidates' viewpoints, and looking at the U.S. presidential campaign from a global perspective. Students can also get a kid-to-kid viewpoint on leadership through projects where they research and share detailed information on their country's candidates and how their current leaders came into power. Independent investigations can also be part of projects, with students interviewing parents and grandparents to learn about their immigration stories and how these affect their attitudes towards candidates and issues.

Additional elements of the World Elections Center include Fact Pages for countries that have had or will have presidential elections in 2012. Fact Pages include detailed curricular material focusing on each country's political structure including its form of government, election processes, terms of office, voting regulations, predictions, and result implications. Countries with elections in 2012 include the Russian Federation, the U. S., Taiwan, Mexico, Slovenia, Gabon, South Korea, France, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, and more.

To learn more about the ePals World Election Center, visit www.epals.com/worldelections.

Source: ePals Corporation, www.epals.com

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Internet@Schools Xtra News: Deadline Extended for the Call for Speakers, Internet@Schools at Computers in Libraries 2013

Call for Speakers DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Internet@Schools track at Computers in Libraries 2013

April 8 and 9, 2013

Washington, DC

Extended Deadline: October 22, 2012

The deadline for submitting a proposal has been extended to October 22. The Internet@Schools track at Computers in Libraries 2013 is a two-day track created especially for library media and technology specialists and other educators who are using the internet and technology in K-12 schools. Sponsored by Internet@Schools magazine, the track covers technology, tools, trends, and practical topics, and takes place during the first two days of Computers in Libraries in Washington, DC. That's April 8 and 9, 2013.

You Are Invited...

If you are running an innovative program through your school library or media/technology center that is helping your students learn or your colleagues teach, or if you are willing to share your practical tips, tools, or techniques about using technology and the internet in schools, we want you! Please volunteer to speak at the Internet@Schools track at Computers in Libraries.

Topics could include ... but certainly aren't limited to ... mobile learning, the flipped classroom, web-based professional development, implementing Common Core standards, social media in K-12, digital textbooks, virtual education, cloud computing and its impact on education, and more.

All speakers receive a full, complimentary registration to Computers in Libraries 2013 conference, plus great recognition from their peers. So think over your latest success stories or technology ventures, go to https://secure.infotoday.com/forms/default.aspx?form=ise-speakers, and submit your proposal today.

Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you. The deadline for proposals is now October 22, so think quickly and send in your ideas! And tell your professional colleagues friends, too!

Internet@Schools track organizers

David Hoffman

Editor, Internet@Schools magazine

hoffmand@infotoday.com

Carolyn Foote

Librarian, Westlake High School

Austin, Texas

technolibrary@gmail.com

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PBS LearningMedia, The Henry Ford Announce Call for Entries for the 2012 Teacher Innovator Awards

PBS LearningMedia and The Henry Ford have announced the third annual Teacher Innovator Awards, recognizing PreK-12 educators using media in new and unique ways to enhance students' learning.

Teachers are using digital media in the classroom in creative ways to inspire and engage young minds in every subject from math and science to music and the arts. The Teacher Innovator Awards recognize classroom educators, media specialists, technology coordinators and homeschool educators who are digital pioneers, paving the way for new teaching techniques and a more interactive learning experience.

Teachers can apply for the Teacher Innovator Awards by submitting a video up to 3 minutes in length or a written essay, up to three pages with images. Entries must address how they are using digital media to enhance students' learning by augmenting the traditional textbook approach to teaching. Thirty educators in total will receive prizes for their outstanding work with the top 10 winners receiving a professional development prize package for a week-long, all-expense-paid "Innovation Immersion Experience" at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, and a PBS TeacherLine course. The deadline to apply for the awards is December 12, 2012.

The 2012 Teacher Innovator Award winners will be announced in March 2013. For more information on the awards, visit www.pbslearningmedia.org/innovators/.

Source: PBS LearningMedia, www.pbslearningmedia.org

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OverDrive Releases Free OverDrive Media Console App for NOOK

Ebook distributor OverDrive has announced the release of the free OverDrive Media Console app for NOOK, making it easier for users to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from libraries and schools. With the new OverDrive app, users of NOOK HD, NOOK HD+, NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color can wirelessly borrow ebooks and MP3 audiobooks from the library.

Users can visit the NOOK Store to install the free OverDrive Media Console app. The app enables users to locate a library or school nearby, browse or search their ebook collection and, after entering a valid library card or school ID, check out and download the title for a lending period of one to three weeks (depending on the library or school's policies). At the end of the lending period, the title simply expires. For more information, you can go to www.NOOK.com/publiclibrary or www.overdriveblogs.com.

With more than two-thirds of U.S. public libraries participating, 87 percent of the U.S. population has access to ebooks and audiobooks via OverDrive. Readers have checked out more than 34 million ebooks and audiobooks with OverDrive in the first half of 2012. To find a library with ebooks near you, visit search.overdrive.com.

Source: OverDrive, www.overdrive.com

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Infobase Learning Adds California Newsreel Films to Its Films On Demand Streaming Video Products

Infobase Learning has announced the addition of California Newsreel films, some exclusively, to its Films On Demand family of streaming video subscription products-Films On Demand (for academic institutions), Classroom Video On Demand (for high schools), and Access Video On Demand (for public libraries).

The oldest non-profit social issue documentary film center in the United States, California Newsreel has inspired, educated, and engaged audiences with its cutting-edge social justice films for nearly 45 years, according to the announcement. It is the leading resource center for the advancement of social change, racial justice and diversity; the study of African-American life and history; and African culture and politics. The California Newsreel films added to the Films On Demand products cover a range of topics from African-American writers, racial conflict and civil rights, and African cinema to health care, blues music, stereotypes, history, and many others. Highlights of these newly added educational titles include Health for Sale, Maquilapolis, Race: The Power of an Illusion, The Big Sellout, Black Gold, and Black Panther and San Francisco State: On Strike, to name just a few. Specific titles added may vary by product.

Films On Demand's digital delivery system allows educators, students, librarians, and patrons to conveniently view the California Newsreel films as full-length videos or instantly access predefined segments that make it easy to find specific curriculum topics quickly. Users watching California Newsreel titles on the Films On Demand streaming video platform can also take advantage of the extensive range of features, such as the ability to save and organize favorite videos; simple integration into educational CMS; tools to create custom playlists; powerful browse and search options, including new Search Assist technology; Google Translate and interactive transcripts; and, for subscribers, easy access through the Special Collections tab.

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

Source: Infobase Learning, www.infobaselearning.com

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SETDA Releases 'Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age'

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has released "Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age." This report highlights the sea change underway in the multi-billion dollar U.S. K-12 instructional materials market enabled by recent technology and intellectual property rights innovations. With a focus on the ultimate impact on student learning, the report provides examples of lessons learned from recent digital and open content/open educational resources (OER) initiatives by leading states and school districts. It concludes by offering comprehensive recommendations for government, industry, and educators to ensure that the inevitable shift to digital instructional materials improves student achievement and engagement and efficiently uses scarce resources.

Given existing trends and the experiences of leading states and districts, the core recommendation of the SETDA report is that states and districts commit to beginning the shift from print to digital instructional materials with the next major "textbook" adoption cycle, completing the transition within the next five years (by no later than the 2017-18 school year).

"In a time of tight budgets and increasing expectations, many schools today purchase both print and digital instructional materials in a duplicative and uncoordinated fashion, with far too little attention to quality and value for money," said Douglas Levin, SETDA executive director. "If the shift to digital instructional materials is not made immediately, major funding will continue to be directed to traditional materials that will tie the hands of students and educators to static, inflexible content for years to come. Only if education leaders act now, can they influence the reimagination of the K-12 textbook."

Out of Print is a product of collaboration among state educational technology leaders, leading technology companies, publishers, and policy and practitioner experts committed to driving innovation in K-12 instructional materials. The numerous examples in the report of successful digital and open content initiatives highlight the dramatic opportunity before us to modernize a decades old approach to textbook adoption.

As the report concludes, "reimagining an integral element of the educational system within five years is a daunting task. Yet, as this report highlights, many states and districts have traveled partially down the path already - and our students are ready. If we are serious about offering a college and 21st career ready education for all students, we do not have the luxury of further delay."

To access the full report, visit: http://setda.org/web/guest/outofprint

Source: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), www.setda.org

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Free Resources: Edutopia's Guide to Help Educators Bring Mobile Devices into the Classroom

Edutopia, produced by The George Lucas Educational Foundation, has released a guide designed to help educators effectively and safely use mobile devices, including cell phones, tablets and e-readers, to enhance learning in K-12 classrooms.

The guide, "Mobile Devices for Learning: What You Need to Know," recommends taking advantage of mobile devices to engage students and help them develop digital media and technology skills, and suggests specific tools that educators can begin using today. The guide is sponsored by Google, provider of Google Apps for Education, a free suite of applications for schools designed to foster collaborative learning.

The role of mobile devices in the classroom is still being debated, but expert contributors to Edutopia's guide say the answer isn't to ban these devices altogether. Teachers should instead develop formal policies for their use and incorporate them into the learning process.

Specifically, expert contributors to the guide suggest that educators use tools appropriate for different age groups including,

  • Elementary: Nearpod, iNigma, Puppet Pals HD, Martha Speaks Dog Party, Motion Math
  • Middle School: Dropbox, BrainPOP, Poll Everywhere, Word Joust, Frog Dissection, textPlus
  • High School: Evernote, Twitter, Socrative, The Chemical Touch, Shakespeare Pro

North Carolina's Project K-Nect, a pilot program assessing whether mobile devices can effectively boost learning and math test scores, is one such program. At-risk ninth graders who had little to no access to a computer and internet at home were supplied smartphones so they could access supplemental math materials. Teachers report almost two-thirds of the students who participated in Project K-Nect are now taking additional math courses and over 50 percent are now thinking about a career in the math field.

The "Mobile Devices" guide features resources to help educators get started with mobile devices in the classroom and suggests strategies to bring parents on board. A majority of U.S. parents already believe children should have a mobile phone, according to a recent survey from online retailer RetailMeNot.com. Nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) would let a child in 4th through 9th grade own a mobile phone.

"Mobile Devices for Learning" also provides resources to help educators and parents understand and navigate challenges with introducing mobile devices, including how to bridge the digital divide and potential issues with a "Bring Your Own Device" approach.

"Mobile Devices for Learning: What You Need to Know" is available for download at www.edutopia.org/mobile-learning

Source: Edutopia, www.edutopia.org

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GetEdFunding.com and CDW-G Launch Webiste to Help Educators Find New Funding Sources

A new website launched by CDW Government LLC (CDW-G), a provider of technology solutions to education and government, is an easy-to-use, relevant and reliable source of active grants and awards to help offset budget challenges in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and higher education institutions.

The website, GetEdFunding, is a free, searchable resource of more than 600 funding opportunities created by a team of current and former educators and grant specialists. The opportunities span the full educational spectrum, from adult education and arts to science, mathematics and technology.

Once educators register on the GetEdFunding site, they can create custom searches based on any combination of six criteria, including 45 educational focus areas, nine subject areas and 21st-century themes and skills that support curriculum. In addition, educators can save the grants of greatest interest in a "My Grants" folder, receive regular emails with opportunities that meet their criteria, and search GetEdFunding in real time. The website also provides educators with relevant supplemental resources, including educational research, and in the coming months, advice from grant writers, and tips on applying for grants and awards.

Two early users of GetEdFunding offer this feedback for educators:

"With limited time and resources, identifying and securing supplemental funding is difficult for us," said Michele Crowley, chief information officer, Pendleton County Schools, Pendleton, Ky., who also manages her district's grant applications. "GetEdFunding opportunities are vetted and current, and because I can sort based on the specific programs or projects we want to implement, it's easier to apply for the grants that can make our district's programs a reality."

"Even with a full grants staff, our district's biggest challenge is finding the time to sort through countless grant opportunities. It's easy to understand how educators can get discouraged," said Tim Ashley, financial grant coordinator, Saginaw Intermediate School District, Saginaw, Mich. "GetEdFunding revamps the entire grant search process. It's a one-stop shop that empowers educators to take ownership of the grant funding process."

For more information and to register for GetEdFunding, visit www.GetEdFunding.com.

Source: CDW-G, www.CDWG.com

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PBS Kids Updates PBS KIDS PLAY Classroom Edition

PBS Kids has updated PBS KIDS PLAY! Classroom Edition. The cross-curricular program has been enhanced with new lessons, games and teacher dashboard for easy classroom management.

PBS KIDS PLAY! Classroom Edition is an online learning program that uses interactive games and content to engage students in preschool, kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. The program offers more than 50 exclusive games that feature popular PBS characters and adapt the level of challenge based on students' individual learning progress in 35 skill areas.

Teachers can assign lessons and track student progress at the individual and classroom level through an easy-to-use administration and reporting tool. Additionally, the program includes home access for students to continue learning beyond the classroom, and for parents to stay apprised of their child's progress and assignments.

Pricing for PBS KIDS PLAY! Classroom Edition starts at $19.95 per student per year and is all-inclusive, e.g., includes technical support for teachers and home access for all enrolled students. The per-student cost decreases with volume.

Source: PBS KIDS, http://pbskids.org/

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