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April 26, 2011

Table of Contents

Free Resources: The Classroom Economist
Orchard Now Releases Language Concepts 1-2 Instruction
PBS TeacherLine Expands Online Professional Development Program With Additional Spring and Summer Course Terms
netTrekker Announces igotta Virtual Workspace
World Book Launches World Book Mobile
Key Curriculum Press Debuts The Geometer’s Sketchpad Version 5 Curriculum Modules
PCI Education Launches Momentum Math Grade Level Editions
Project Tomorrow Releases Report on Usage of Emerging Technologies for Education

Free Resources: The Classroom Economist

From Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy's new INFOdocket blog of fabulous information and education resources:

The economic education team of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank has developed a new online resource for teachers. Each quarter, beginning with first quarter 2011, the Classroom Economist will present information on selected economic topics for teachers to use in the classroom with their students or for professional development. The site offers video and PowerPoint content created to clarify and enhance teachers' understanding of a core economic or Federal Reserve topic selected from the Atlanta Fed's popular "Insights from Inside the Federal Reserve" or "Personal Finance" workshops. Lesson demonstrations and resource ideas will help teachers bring these topics to life in the classroom.

Read the full description and post, with direct links to the resource, at INFOdocket. Click HERE to go there!

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Orchard Now Releases Language Concepts 1-2 Instruction

Educational Options, Inc.'s elementary division Orchard Now has released new Language Concepts instructional activities for grades 1-2. The new Language Concepts activities provide practice with the alphabet, basic keyboarding skills, exposure to forming new words using consonant and vowel sounds, and an introduction to using rhyming to complete couplets.

Developed by the publisher of Orchard Software, PracticePlanet, and Stars Suite, Orchard Now offers a customized learning environment with activities, practice, and assessment for schools to address the needs of all students. Students are placed into individualized, state standards-aligned learning paths based on assessment results. Orchard Now automates data collection, analysis, and reporting for progress monitoring.

The first release of Language Concepts instructional activities includes more than 20 lessons. An additional 56 lessons will be released later this year. Also included in this product release is a password reset option allowing customers to request a new password and an upgrade for Internet Explorer 9 users. Educators may view a sample Data Management and Probability activity or try a Math practice question at www.orchardnow.com under Demo Orchard Now.

Language Concepts instructional activities build upon the key components of early literacy as identified by the National Reading Panel and parallel standards supported by the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The lessons are set in a colorful, interactive environment with sound and animation. Orchard Now can also be used for whole class instruction using whiteboard technology. 

Teachers begin by assigning students a pretest correlated to state standards. Upon completion of the pretest, students receive their scores and are immediately placed on a custom learning path, which is aligned to skill areas in need of reinforcement. A posttest shows specific progress on all skills assessed on state tests.

Source: Educational Options, Inc.. www.edoptions.com/

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PBS TeacherLine Expands Online Professional Development Program With Additional Spring and Summer Course Terms

PBS TeacherLine has expanded its course schedule to six terms to provide educators with more online learning opportunities throughout the year. PBS TeacherLine now offers additional spring and summer terms that feature some of its latest and most popular online facilitated courses. Enrollment is now open for the late spring term beginning on May 11, the early summer term starting June 22, and the late summer term commencing on August 10.

PBS TeacherLine courses are facilitated by qualified veteran educators who are experts in their field, the announcement states. Facilitators provide learners with ongoing support and guidance to ensure an effective professional development experience. The asynchronous courses are six weeks long, taking approximately 30 hours to complete. Teachers can earn professional development points, continuing education units, or graduate credit for recertification and career advancement.

The new spring and summer terms offer several of the most in-demand topics and highest-rated courses from PBS TeacherLine's catalog of more than 80 online courses that span the preK-12 curriculum, including:

Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline

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netTrekker Announces igotta Virtual Workspace

netTrekker has announced the release of igotta, a new product that provides a virtual workspace for students to find, analyze, organize, and use information to complete a wide-range of school assignments while developing the skills they need to be college- and career-ready. With the release of igotta, netTrekker provides a complete portfolio of integrated products and services that bring digital resources and student productivity tools into the classroom in a safe, relevant and engaging way, making it faster and easier for schools to offer personalized learning experiences for students, the announcement states. 

igotta is designed to help students develop 21st century skills such as information literacy and critical thinking, while completing reports, writing assignments, presentations, studying and other project work. Students learn how to take notes, cite sources properly, conduct research, organize their thoughts, paraphrase information in their own words, incorporate multimedia, and more. igotta supports project-based instructional goals and methods, providing students with the framework and guidance to complete independent projects.

When combined with the company's complementary product, netTrekker, igotta enables students to safely access the content they need and complete their school assignments and projects through one integrated solution, according to the announcement. Students improve their productivity by spending less time searching for relevant resources and keeping track of all the pieces of their assignments. netTrekker offers more than 300,000 safe, educator-reviewed digital resources from around the web and from partner offerings that are aligned to standards and span the entire K-12 curriculum.

igotta was developed by netTrekker in partnership with Zeus Learning. For more information, visit www.netTrekker.com/igotta.

Source: netTrekker, www.netTrekker.com

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World Book Launches World Book Mobile

World Book, Inc. has introduced World Book Mobile, a mobile-friendly version of its comprehensive reference database, which includes tens of thousands of authoritative articles and multimedia images, including maps, photographs, and illustrations.

With World Book Mobile, anyone can access a concise edition of the World Book database by visiting www.worldbookonline.com or m.worldbk.com from their phone's browser to perform quick searches and obtain reliable, understandable information. Additionally, they can stay updated on popular search terms through World Book's trending topics feature.

Subscribers to the World Book Web, including students who have access through their schools and both children and adults who have access through their local public libraries, also can dive deeper into the content simply by logging on through their school or local library subscription.

World Book Mobile is included in most online subscription packages. World Book Mobile is optimized for use with handheld devices including iPhone, Android, and Blackberry smart phones and iPod touch media player.

Source: World Book, Inc., www.worldbook.com

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Key Curriculum Press Debuts The Geometer’s Sketchpad Version 5 Curriculum Modules

Key Curriculum Press has announced the launch of The Geometer's Sketchpad Version 5 curriculum modules. Optimized for Sketchpad 5, the activities allow elementary, middle, and high school students to explore mathematical concepts related to the Common Core State Standards using a dynamic, hands-on learning tool.

The Sketchpad activities included in each module introduce students and teachers to the benefits of using Dynamic Geometry software. In addition to supporting the Standards for Mathematical Practice, many of the activities address concepts in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Content, guiding educators to successfully implement the standards as their students benefit from hands-on learning.

The Geometer's Sketchpad 5 dynamic mathematics software provides math students with a tangible way to explore fundamental concepts and relationships, according to the announcement. By allowing students to build and investigate their own constructions, the software offers a hands-on learning experience that leads to a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, and greater retention of the material.

Sketchpad 5 curriculum modules feature a number of teacher tools to support the use of Sketchpad in the classroom. Each module is accompanied by a collection of Sketchpad sketches available for download. Many activities include sketches designed for use with a projector or interactive whiteboard, either for a teacher presentation or a whole-class activity, along with Presenter Notes to help educators lead a classroom discussion.

Other teacher tools include Activity Notes, which help educators introduce the sketch, explore mathematical concepts with students through interactive models or constructions, and anticipate student questions and responses. In addition, Student Worksheets provide students step-by-step guidance, and pose "what-if" questions that promote deeper exploration and understanding.

Supplemental information and professional development are available online to support Sketchpad's users. Videos, tutorials, tip sheets, and additional resources are available at Sketchpad's online Learning Center. Online courses are offered to provide practical advice for teaching elementary and middle school math, as well as Algebra and Geometry. In addition, webinars addressing how to teach specific mathematics topics with Sketchpad are offered monthly (except December) and available for download.

For more information on the Sketchpad 5 curriculum modules, visit www.keypress.com/gsp5curriculum.

Source: Key Curriculum Press, www.keypress.com

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PCI Education Launches Momentum Math Grade Level Editions

PCI Education, a provider of resources for students with special needs, has announced the launch of Momentum Math Grade Level Editions, a flexible and targeted mathematics intervention solution for students in grades 6-8. The program is designed to engage all learners, including students with special needs and English language learners, who have given up on math because they have fallen behind. Through a series of dynamic and visually engaging lessons, Momentum Math helps students master the concepts, procedures and language that are the foundation for higher mathematics, including algebra.


Intended for students two or more years below grade level in math, Momentum Math builds conceptual understanding, procedural fluency and problem solving through lessons that follow research-based, scaffolded pedagogy. Once students understand a topic and achieve fluency in the related procedure, application lessons help students see the relevance of the math they have learned, and provide an opportunity for assessment of key concepts and skills.

To engage students, Momentum Math uses a graphic format with character guides to accompany students through the math lessons. The characters model example problems, present mathematical concepts, and share effective strategies with students. In addition, Momentum Math is built around a metaphor that appeals to adolescents - driving a car.

Momentum Math addresses a variety of needs and learning styles to differentiate instruction for struggling students. The program presents concepts through multiple representations. Momentum Math includes teaching suggestions for key vocabulary to support English language learners, and hands-on activities to help teachers adapt lessons for students with special needs. 

To inform instruction, Momentum Math offers a wide range of assessment, data analysis, and reporting tools. The program offers embedded assessments that allow teachers to monitor students' understanding in every lesson. Educators administer pretests to gather information about students' strengths and weaknesses, implement engaging, short lessons to improve specific math skills, and follow-up with a posttest to verify students have mastered targeted skills.

Computer-based assessments powered by ExamView also help teachers target instruction based on a student's area of need. The ExamView Assessment Suite allows teachers to manage students' instructional paths with the ExamView Test Manager. Students can take the Momentum Math assessments directly on the computer, or teachers can print them and scan the results to the classroom computer through the ExamView Test Player. 

For more information about Momentum Math, visit www.pcieducation.com/momentummath.

Source: PCI Education, www.pcieducation.com

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Project Tomorrow Releases Report on Usage of Emerging Technologies for Education

Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit group based in Irvine, California, has released a report entitled "The New 3 E's of Education: Enabled, Engaged and Empowered - How Today's Students are Leveraging Emerging Technologies for Learning." The report was released at a recent Congressional Briefing held in Washington, DC.

Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, discussed selected student and parent national findings from the Speak Up 2010 report and moderated a panel discussion with students and parents who shared their insights and experiences.

Key findings:

* 67 percent of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61 percent said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.

* 53 percent of middle and high school students reported that the inability to use cell phones, smart phones or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Additionally, 71 percent of high school students and 62 percent of middle school students said that the number one way schools could make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to the digital content and resources that Internet firewalls and school filters blocked.

* Parents are increasingly supportive of online textbooks. Two-thirds of parents view online textbooks as a good investment to enhance student achievement compared to 21 percent in 2008. However, E-textbooks are still a relatively novel concept in the classroom. Slightly over one-third of high school students report they are currently using an online textbook or other online curriculum as part of their regular schoolwork.

* Nearly 30 percent of high school students have experienced some type of online learning.

Over 100 people attended the Congressional Briefing including congressional staff members, student and staff representatives from some of Project Tomorrow's Speak up schools, and staff from many Project Tomorrow sponsors, champion outreach partners and non-profit partners.

At the briefing and panel discussion, Project Tomorrow welcomed staff from multiple institutional supporters, including ACT, Afterschool Alliance, Alliance for Excellent Education, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Association of State Colleges & Universities, American Youth Policy Forum, Best Buy, Blackboard, CDW-G, Center for Educational Excellence, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Dutko Worldwide, EDC, Gale/Cengage, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Intel Corporation, ISTE, K12, Learning First Alliance, Learning.com, Library of Congress, Lowenstein Associates, MD Department of Education, Microsoft, NASA, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, National Council of Teachers of English, National Art Education Association, National Education Association, National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, National Science Foundation, New America Foundation, One Economy Corporation, PBS, P21, Qualcomm, Smithsonian Institution, State Ed Tech Directors' Association , SMART Technologies, Symantec, TechAmerica, The Pearson Foundation, and U.S. Department of Education.

Students and parents from Arlington Public Schools (VA) and Baltimore City Public School District (MD) also participated, sharing their insights regarding mobile learning, online learning and the use of digital content.

Source: Project Tomorrow, www.tomorrow.org/

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