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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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July 19, 2011

Table of Contents

ITI Cross Links: Ebook Developments Were HOT at ALA
ITI Cross Links: Cengagement—Cengage Acquires National Geographic School Publisher
Edmodo Teacher Profiles Help Educators Connect and Collaborate
Discovery Education's Digital Textbook Launching in Classrooms Across the Country This Fall
CDW-G Releases Second Annual 21st-Century Classroom Report
DRM-Free eBooks from O’Reilly to Be Distributed Via OverDrive’s Global Network

ITI Cross Links: Ebook Developments Were HOT at ALA

Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief and NewsBreaks editor Paula Hane has posted a report on the ALA Annual Conference and news emanating from it. Here's her opening salvo:

Looking over the program of presentations and panels and at the vendors exhibiting at the recent American Library Association Annual conference, it's clear that librarians are focused on embracing the expanding digital world and specifically on providing ebooks as part of library services. Along with that, of course, come all the issues and considerations involved: copyright/DRM, rising costs of digital collections, format issues, and the rapidly evolving publishing market. For librarians, it's about how to provide enhanced services through the emerging technologies. They had a lot to look at and think about while in New Orleans.

Link to Paula's entire story, "Ebook Developments Were HOT at ALA," HERE on Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks site.

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ITI Cross Links: Cengagement—Cengage Acquires National Geographic School Publisher

Marydee Ojala, editor of Information Today, Inc.'s ONLINE Magazine, posted a NewsBreak recently on Cengage's acquisition of a component of National Geographic that will be of interest to the K-12 community. From her story:

Just as the annual conference of the American Library Association was getting underway in New Orleans, Cengage Learning announced its "definitive agreement" with the National Geographic Society to acquire National Geographic's School Publishing unit. The acquisition gives Cengage the National Geographic Science series, National Geographic Explorer! Magazines, and Hampton Brown's literacy and language programs.

You can read Marydee's story, "Cengagement-Cengage Acquires National Geographic School Publisher," HERE at Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks.

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Edmodo Teacher Profiles Help Educators Connect and Collaborate

Edmodo has announced it is now offering educators new ways to share expertise and showcase their professional experiences through its new teacher profiles.  The teacher profiles provide educators with a permanent space to connect with peers and the larger education community.

Educators can now add unique features to their Edmodo profiles, including their school and educational experience, teaching philosophy, interests and favorite content or resources.  In addition, educators are able to create a personal URL that will allow them to easily share their profile publicly with peers.

As educators are looking to connect with each other through Edmodo Communities and other online channels, teacher profiles will allow them to create their own branded page and share relevant information about themselves.  In addition, connecting offline at education conferences and other professional events will be easier through Edmodo's mobile website and updated iPhone and Android apps.  The apps now include built-in Bump functionality, allowing teachers to instantly connect through bumping their mobile devices.

Source: Edmodo, www.edmodo.com

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Discovery Education's Digital Textbook Launching in Classrooms Across the Country This Fall

Discovery Education has announced that nearly 80,000 elementary and middle school students across several states will be using the interactive Discovery Education Science Techbook in their classrooms this fall instead of traditional textbooks. A new core instructional resource, the Discovery Education Science Techbook meets students in the digital environment where they live, while igniting their natural interest in science.

Each edition of the Discovery Education Science Techbook series is built from the ground up to address individual state standards and is intended to serve as the primary instructional resource in elementary and middle schools nationwide. The Techbook provides dynamic, engaging resources, including virtual labs, video clips, ebook passages, an interactive glossary, and more.  Also included is a real-time assessment component that measures students' progress and recommends individualized resources that reinforce classroom instruction.

Unlike traditional textbooks, the Discovery Education Science Techbook has the ability to address individual students' learning modalities and abilities, and prescribe resources targeted to how each student performs, according to the announcement. The Techbook is dynamic and updated in real time, providing teachers the opportunity to incorporate up-to-date scientific issues into their curriculum, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Finally, the Discovery Education Science Techbook is a substantially less expensive option per student than textbooks, with additional savings derived from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs, the announcement states. 

Since introducing the Techbook last year, Discovery Education has made several updates, including hundreds of new Spanish-language content resources, upgrades to the site to improve accessibility compliance and simplified access to highly utilized elements, such as model lessons.


For more information about the Discovery Education Science Techbook, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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CDW-G Releases Second Annual 21st-Century Classroom Report

CDW Government LLC (CDW-G) has released the second annual 21st-Century Classroom Report, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students, faculty and IT staff. Technology skills are essential to a successful future, according to students surveyed in the report.  Ninety-four percent of students said learning and mastering technology skills will improve their educational and career opportunities, and 97 percent of faculty agreed. 

Despite those results, just 39 percent of students say their high schools are meeting their technology expectations. 

The report, released during the recent ISTE conference in Philadelphia, seeks to understand how students and faculty want to use technology, measure how classroom technology is evolving and identify opportunities for continued growth. 

Faculty and IT staff are making a concerted effort to advance technology in the classroom, CDW-G found.  Today, faculty say technologies such as wireless internet, interactive whiteboards and digital content are essential to the 21st-century classroom.  Just one year ago, faculty limited must-have technology to an internet connection, teacher computing device and LCD projector.  This year's survey also found that 64 percent of IT staff say the technology at their high schools is cutting edge or current, up from 41 percent in 2010.

Despite technology advancements, 86 percent of students note that they use more technology outside the classroom than inside.  Nearly all - 94 percent - say they use technology to complete homework assignments, yet just 46 percent of faculty say they regularly assign homework that requires the use of technology. 

Leading school districts are using digital content, an emerging component of the 21st-century classroom, according to this year's survey.  Eleven percent of districts are using digital content as an alternative to traditional print textbooks, and 62 percent of IT staff said their districts are considering it.  Nearly three-quarters of faculty noted that digital content is essential because of its ability to provide faculty and students with better access to updated information. 

Other key findings of the CDW-G 21st-Century Classroom Report include:

*  Districts are looking beyond current budget challenges:  Despite the expectation that 47 percent of district IT budgets will decrease from current levels during the next school year, 65 percent of districts plan investments in classroom technology over the next two years

*  Districts have an opportunity to leverage mobility devices in the learning process, as students say smartphones (30 percent) and MP3 players (36 percent) are essential tools in a 21st-century classroom.

*  High school students and faculty use technology to communicate - but not necessarily collaborate - with peers.  Asked about technology as a communication tool, 59 percent of students say they communicate with other students every day, but only 23 percent use it to collaborate on assignments and projects with other students.

In order to successfully prepare students for their future, the 21st-Century Classroom Report recommends that districts:

*  Understand the impact:  Getting teachers to a point where they can easily integrate technology into the curriculum requires additional planning time.  Professional development can help faculty increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their lesson planning.

*  Invest in engagement:  Experimenting with innovative teaching methods may help students collaborate more amongst themselves.  Create an environment where teachers can test instructional techniques and share best practices with each other.

*  Seek student input:  While more than 70 percent of faculty and IT staff believe they understand how students want to use technology as a learning tool, just 49 percent of students agree.  Consider using the 21st-Century Classroom survey tool to get an accurate picture of student, faculty and IT staff needs on your campus.  Use the results to discuss 21st-century skills with students to determine what technology they find most beneficial and seek guidance on how to effectively incorporate technology into the curriculum.

For more information on the 21st-Century Classroom Report and to download the complete study, please visit www.cdwg.com/21stCenturyClassroomReport.   

Source: CDW-G, www.cdwg.com/

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DRM-Free eBooks from O’Reilly to Be Distributed Via OverDrive’s Global Network

OverDrive has announced that booksellers, libraries, and schools in its global network will soon have access to DRM-free eBook titles from O'Reilly Media. The publisher's entire eBook catalog will be available to OverDrive's channel partners, including those in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and dozens of other territories worldwide. Bestselling eBooks on computer technologies available through the distribution agreement will include: "iPad 2: The Missing Manual, Second Edition," "Head First Java, Second Edition," and "Windows 7:Up & Running," as well as O'Reilly's legendary ‘animal books' like "Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript."

To find a bookseller, library, or school in OverDrive's global network, visit OverDrive Search.

O'Reilly's catalog of 1,500 eBooks features titles from popular technology writers, such as David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer, and Robin Nixon. Bestselling series provide developers, administrators, and users with information on topics, including JavaScript, iPad, iPhone, Perl, jQuery, PHP, HTML5 & CSS, Windows 7, Mac OS X, and more.

The launch of premium DRM-free eBooks in OverDrive's library channel is part of ‘OverDrive WIN,' a series of platform enhancements to streamline user experience and provide access to more content.

OverDrive provides digital distribution services for more than 15,000 libraries, retailers, and schools worldwide with support for Windows, Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Sony Reader, NOOK, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.

Source: OverDrive, www.overdrive.com

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