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May 10, 2011

Table of Contents

Free Resources: WGBH Teachers' Domain Environmental Public Health Collection
Capstone Digital to Award $2 Million in Grants to Improve Literacy in Schools
SIIA Calls for Participants in 2011 Vision K-20 Survey
ASCD Introduces Four New Courses to PD Online Series
Study Island Announces Winners of Project-Based Learning Activities Contest
State Finalists Named in Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge
Internet@Schools Xtra News: Free May/June 2011 Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
StudyBlue Releases New Mobile Applications for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch
Scholastic, PBS Kids and iVillage Launch Summer Reading Programs

Free Resources: WGBH Teachers' Domain Environmental Public Health Collection

WGBH Teachers' Domain has announced the launch of the Environmental Public Health (EPH) collection. The EPH collection ( offers classroom-ready assets for middle and high school students that look at how researchers, communities, and policy makers are working to address health issues resulting from toxins and other factors in our environment. Produced by WGBH Teachers' Domain, this is a free online digital library of 4,000 media-rich resources for grades pre-K-16 from public media and other partnering organizations. The EPH collection currently includes 32 published resources, with plans to expand to 60 by the end of May 2011.

The EPH collection draws from highly respected public media sources such as Nova and Frontline, as well as other public organizations such as the National Library of Medicine and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Online assets available to classrooms include video clips and interactives supported by background essays, discussion questions, teaching tips, and related resources. Students are confronted with environmental conditions and diseases, including exposures and risks. Additionally, they gain awareness of how to take action through research, community activism, and policy. The content is also aligned with state and national standards as applicable.

The EPH Collection currently addresses five important areas of public health:

* Conditions and Diseases-General descriptions of human effects that are or may be the result of environmental agent exposure. Topics include: Air Quality Index; Autism: Genetic or Environmental?; Chemicals in Umbilical Cord Blood; Childhood Lead Poisoning; Clean Water Systems in Mexico; Eradicating Malaria with DDT; Farm Nitrates in the Water Supply; Heart Disease: America's Leading Cause of Death; Malaria; Malformed Frogs; Mapping Coal Contaminants; Organic Farms vs. Mosquito Control.

* Exposures and Risk-Describes the factors that make populations more vulnerable to conditions resulting from environmental agents. Topics include: Contaminating the Rockies; Don't Mess with Mercury; Environmental Justice in Dallas; Factory Farms and Organic Alternatives; Green Chemistry; Hazards at the Coast; Hazards in the City; Hazards on the Farm; Organic Farms vs. Mosquito Control; PCVs and Dioxins; Unintended Chemical Exposures

* Research Methods-Science in the making. Topics include: Careers in Environmental Health; Green Chemistry; John Snow: Pioneer of Epidemiology; Sunscreen Investigation; West Nile Virus Outbreak in NYC

* Community Action-Environmental justice issues. Topics include: Clean Water Systems in Mexico; Dead Zone; Environmental Justice in Dallas; Fighting for Superfund; Mapping Coal Contaminants

* Health Policy-Governmental programs and regulations, U.S. and abroad. Topics include: Childhood Lead Poisoning; Farm Nitrates in the Water Supply; Green Chemistry; Unintended Chemical Exposures

A video on the "West Nile Virus Outbreak in New York City" (grades 6-12), for example, follows the lead pathologist at the Bronx Zoo as she discovers the connection between animal and human illness. Students are asked to examine the method of scientific inquiry and weigh solutions going forward.

With "Mercury Calculator" (grades 9-12), student engagement is taken one step further with an interactive that shows exactly how eating fish can exposed them to an everyday toxin, mercury. Students see first hand the impact of their choices on their health.

"Mapping Coal Contaminants" (grades 6-12) shows a student who uses Google Maps to educate her community about a coal-burning plant that has contributed to asthma and other health problems. This resource tells a story that considers not just the nature of coal technology and environmental toxins but also what action teenagers might take to improve their local environment.

The Environmental Public Health collection was created with the support of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and WGBH will continue to add new videos, interactives, lesson plans, and self-paced lessons for students and for teacher professional development over the coming year. To access the collection and for additional information, visit

Source: WGBH Teachers Domain,

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Capstone Digital to Award $2 Million in Grants to Improve Literacy in Schools

Capstone Digital has announced CARE (Capstone Assisting Remarkable Educators), a $2 million grant program focused on improving literacy in schools.

As a result of the massive cuts in federal government programs, including the Improving Literacy through School Libraries Program, all K-12 public, private, parochial or charter schools in the United States are encouraged to apply for more than $2 million in matching CARE grants towards the purchase of myON reader, a personalized literacy environment that focuses on increasing student literacy rates.

The CARE matching grant program will match schools funding dollar for dollar towards the purchase of myON reader, an online personalized literacy environment that matches student interests and reading levels to a recommended book list with more than 1,100 digital books. myON reader provides students with an online environment where they have access to a large digital library with reading supports, gives teachers access to  personalize reading programs for their students, and gives administrators the ability to monitor and forecast reading growth based on class, grade, building and district.

The application and more information are available at

Source: Capstone Digital,

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SIIA Calls for Participants in 2011 Vision K-20 Survey

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has announced the opening of its fourth annual Vision K-20 Survey. Sponsored by the organization's Education Division, the Vision K-20 Survey gives educators, administrators and faculty members from K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions the opportunity to take a short, online survey to evaluate their current technology use. 

Focusing on goals outlined in the Vision roadmap, including 21st Century tools, accessibility, differentiated learning, assessment tools and enterprise support, institutions - schools, districts, two-year colleges and four-year universities - will be able to use the Vision's benchmarks to monitor their progress, and can complete the survey periodically as they work toward the Vision for K-20 in education.

SIIA member organizations worked together to develop the Vision K-20 initiative to serve as a guide for educational institutions to implement technology district- and campus-wide. This survey aims to collect additional data that will broadly assist educators in taking this important project to the next level of knowledge and success.

To learn more about this initiative, and to participate in the 2011 Vision K-20 Survey, visit The survey closes May 31, 2011.

SIIA values the support of its partners and their commitment to improving students' preparedness for an innovative and global economy. Partners committed to supporting the Vision K-20 initiative and survey include: 1105 Media, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN),, eSchool Media, The League for Innovation, WeAreTeachers and WeTheTeachers.

Source: The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA),

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ASCD Introduces Four New Courses to PD Online Series

ASCD has announced the addition of four new courses to its PD Online series. The four new courses announced are

With a flexible, multimedia design and a deep course catalog, the PD Online series supports the needs of almost any type and size of learning group-from individual learners and small professional learning communities to districtwide professional development, and integration into university courses and programs, according to the announcement. In addition, ASCD's PD Online courses allow states, districts, and schools to personalize and monitor professional development for individuals or groups of educators when and where it is most convenient and effective.

Source: ASCD,

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Study Island Announces Winners of Project-Based Learning Activities Contest

Archipelago Learning, a subscription-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of education products, has announced the winners of its project-based learning contest. The challenge was designed to spotlight excellence in educator-created learning activities that engage students in authentic, curriculum-based and interdisciplinary activities.

First place winners for the four grade level categories received an iPad and will have their original activities published in the Study Island product beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. The first place winners are:

-- K-2: Todd Beard, International Academy of Flint, MI

-- Grades 3-5: Kimberly Urbaniak, Stowers Elementary, Lithia, FL

-- Grades 6-8: Chris Blackstone, Franklin Middle School, Franklin, NH

-- High School: Valerie Gray, East Tech High School, Cleveland, OH

Entrants in the contest were encouraged to submit as many individual project-based learning activities as they wanted, as long as the submissions were original work. A panel of expert judges reviewed each activity and winners were selected based on creativity, relevance, quality and broad appeal. Second and third place winners for each of the four grade-level categories received Amazon gift cards. A complete listing of the winners can be found at

Study Island offers innovative practice activities, customized assessments, and productivity tools that improve the performance of K-12 students and their teachers. Used in more than 23,000 schools across the country, the web-based educational program combines rigorous content in math, reading, writing, science and social studies with engaging, interactive features that reinforce and reward student accomplishments.

Source: Archipelago Learning,

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State Finalists Named in Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

The Siemens FoundationDiscovery Education, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the College Board have named the 24 middle school and 24 high school state finalists in the third annual Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. The national Challenge aims to educate, empower and engage students and teachers to become "Agents of Change" in improving their communities and world.

More than 625 middle and high school teams comprised of 4,069 students competed in the 2011 Challenge. This year's Challenge includes a first-ever high school division, in which over 1,200 students competed. Projects addressed a wide variety of topics, ranging from decreasing cafeteria waste to creating programs to clean up polluted community lakes and rivers. High school entrants were specifically challenged with identifying an energy-related issue that has local, national and global implications, and then creating a sustainable solution that can be replicated around the globe. 

A panel of environmental advocates and science educators selected finalists based on the project's ability to creatively engage their communities to resolve a local environmental issue or global energy dilemma. From the 48 state finalist teams, two national winning teams and one grand prize-winning team will be chosen in both the middle school and high school categories and announced on May 18, 2011. A complete list of the state finalists can be found at

The middle and high school state finalists have already won a Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge green prize pack. Each member of the middle school grand prize-winning team will receive a $10,000 Savings Bond, a Discovery Adventures trip to Costa Rica and a pocket video camera to capture their trip. The high school grand prize-winning team will receive an equal share of a $50,000 scholarship and a chance to present their project at the United Nations.

Over 17,500 students have participated in the Challenge since its inaugural year in 2008. Last year's middle school grand prize winner, Team "No1Idling" from Novi, MI, raised awareness of the negative financial and environmental effects amongst parents idling their engines while waiting to pick up their kids from school. As the Challenge winners, they had the opportunity to take part in the White House Science Fair in October.

For more information on the Challenge and the state finalists, visit

Source: Discovery Education,

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Internet@Schools Xtra News: Free May/June 2011 Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the May/June 2011 issue of Internet@Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to the cover story, From Social Networking to Academic Networking ... A Paradigm Shift, plus to all the May/June reviews.

Check out the full May/June 2011 table of contents HERE, including the additional features and columns, available in synopsized form. If you're a subscriber to the print publication, you'll be receiving your issue soon! If not, well, SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Later this month, once all the issue articles have been processed electronically, you can access any of them in Full Text, Text+Graphics, or Page Image PDF format from the May/June 2011 table of contents. They'll be available on a pay-to-view basis via Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral, powered by ProQuest. Check back soon.

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StudyBlue Releases New Mobile Applications for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch

StudyBlue has announced the release of mobile apps that allow high school and college students to study their notes and online flashcards stored or created on anytime, anywhere.

The new iPhone, iPod Touch and Android apps have been put to the test by thousands of students worldwide, and the new releases incorporate their feedback. The most popular request from students was "offline study mode," which allows them to review their most recent materials when no internet connection is available.

Susan Dillon, a high school English teacher in Modesto, California was one of the first high school teachers to implement StudyBlue in her classroom. She reported finding increased engagement with studying and improved quiz scores. "I am amazed that students now 'recommend' that I use StudyBlue for a myriad of activities and that they wish their other teachers would use it. Vocabulary quiz grades improved. I believe the immediacy and efficacy of and its mobile applications have contributed to this success."

StudyBlue Mobile App features include the following:

* OFFLINE MODE. Study online flashcards and notes even when there's no internet.

* MULTIMEDIA FLASHCARDS. It's easy to study photos, diagrams, and audio.

* SEARCH. Find online flashcards and notes to supplement your own.

* CLASS MANAGEMENT. Add and remove classes from your account.

* MESSAGES. Contact classmates to collaborate.

Source: StudyBlue:

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Scholastic, PBS Kids and iVillage Launch Summer Reading Programs

iVillage, Scholastic and PBS KIDS have announced the launch of an alliance between the three organizations. With the goal of sustaining children's reading during the summer months, the three brands are running two summer reading challenges designed to be entertaining and easy enough to fit into every family's busy summer schedule. Both challenges, the Scholastic Summer Challenge and the iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge, will be available through

The Scholastic Summer Challenge is a free reading program dedicated to stopping the "Summer Slide," a term which describes the loss of academic skills that many children experience during summer vacation. Now in its fifth year, the Summer Challenge motivates kids to read more over the summer and to log the minutes they spend reading as they Read for the World Record. The 20 schools with the most minutes logged will receive recognition in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records. Kids can participate in weekly challenges, earn digital rewards, enter sweepstakes to win fun prizes, and more.

The iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge runs from June 6 to July 15 and features free literacy-building resources for parents and children designed by the experts at PBS Parents and PBS KIDS. As Challenge Coach, Angela Santomero, Creator, Executive Producer and Head Writer of SUPER WHY!, will provide daily reading activity assignments, answer parent questions and offer advice throughout the online event. Guest coaches such as cast members, characters, authors and series creators from PBS KIDS will also provide activities and ideas each week. Sign-ups begin now at

To support reading at the local level, iVillage and PBS KIDS will sponsor reading parties hosted by iVillage members and bloggers. Participants will also have a daily chance to win a $100 gift card, for building home libraries. iVillage will also renew its "Read-Along" series, featuring videos of notable authors and celebrities reading children's books on tape.

Sources: iVillage,; Scholastic,; PBS KIDS,

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