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August 16, 2011

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Shmoop's Mythology Learning Guides
Cool Links: 2011 Vision K-20 Survey—Tech Still A Challenge
EBSCO Publishing and Innovative Interfaces Demonstrate Partnership with EBSCO Discovery Service and Encore
TCI Unveils New Version of Its Online Social Studies Curriculum
Key Curriculum Press Debuts Sketchpad Explorer for the iPad
Pearson Announces myWorld Social Studies and myWorld History

Free Resources: Shmoop's Mythology Learning Guides

Shmoop has announced the launch of Shmoop Mythology at www.shmoop.com/mythology. Mythology is the 11th subject area on Shmoop, which now offers more than 750 free online Learning Guides.

Hip coverage in the new learning guides includes:

--Profiles and Walls: Puzzle at Aphrodite's "complicated" and oft-changing relationship status. Her favorite quotes? Lyrics from fellow divas Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé.
 
--Email Inboxes and Diaries: In a leaked email exchange between Thor and his therapist, we learn that the supposedly tough muscleman of the Norse gods has some serious daddy issues.
 
--Photo Albums: Scope the gods with the beach bods. Peep the latest in toga fashions... Who wore it better? What were they thinking?
 
--Police Reports: See who got busted. Recidivist shoplifter Mercury, mischief-maker Loki, and drunken party boy Dionysus cannot seem to keep their hijinks out of the gossip blogs.
 
--Cliques: Navigate the complex social scene of the hallways and school cafeterias of the gods. Know your jocks, the nerds, the mean girls. Tip for survival: don't look at thuggish Neptune the wrong way or he might slam you into the lockers.

Source: Shmoop, www.shmoop.com

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Cool Links: 2011 Vision K-20 Survey—Tech Still A Challenge

On his edtechdigest site, Victor Rivero has put up a brief post on SIIA's newly released 2011 Vision K-20 Survey that's worth a look ... good synopsis, key findings, etc. From his post:

The results are in. Today the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) released findings of the 2011 Vision K-20 Survey, its fourth annual national survey to measure U.S. educational institutions' self-reported progress toward building a framework that embraces technology and e-learning. The report surveyed nearly 500 educators and education administrators, and suggests that K-20 institutions are not making progress toward the education goals and technology benchmarks set forth by the Vision K-20 Initiative.

Read the full posting HERE.

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EBSCO Publishing and Innovative Interfaces Demonstrate Partnership with EBSCO Discovery Service and Encore

EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) and Innovate Interfaces, Inc. (Innovative) are partnering to develop improved access into EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) via Innovative's Encore discovery platform. The result of the partnership is a smarter experience for mutual customers and library users who begin their search from Encore, according to the announcement. EDS will be available via a dedicated API with enhanced functionality.
 
Encore Synergy's Services Oriented Architecture seamlessly integrates powerful discovery services like EDS into the user experience without the limitations and trade-offs of ‘one size fits all' systems. With libraries facing an increasingly complex world of content and technology, it's a Web imperative that discovery systems interoperate and scale collaboratively to ensure that libraries have the freedom to choose best-of-breed functionality for their users, the announcement states.

Source: EBSCO Publishing, www.ebscohost.com

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TCI Unveils New Version of Its Online Social Studies Curriculum

TCI has unveiled a new version of its online social studies curriculum - fully optimized for teaching online - that allows teachers to immerse their students in active social studies using the broad spectrum of technology available in today's classrooms.

TCI's new online social studies curriculum combines best-teaching practices with great content, meaningful application of technology and interactive learning, according to the announcement. The program helps teachers engage students in learning when teaching with an interactive whiteboard or in a one-computer classroom. The lessons use a variety of activities that target different learning styles to ensure that all students grasp difficult concepts. In addition, the program provides teachers with ideas for differentiating lessons for specific student populations such as English language learners and advanced learners.

TCI's instructional activities immerse students in social studies. For example, a popular instructional strategy in TCI's curriculum is Visual Discovery. Teachers use a whiteboard or other projector to share a large, rich image of a historical event or person with students. Students answer a series of questions that spiral in difficulty to help them analyze the image. Teachers might spend 20 minutes on an image, asking increasingly more complex questions. Then, students are assigned a person or object in the image and come to the screen to act out what the person might be thinking or doing. Other engaging, interactive learning activities include the American Revolution tug-of-war, the "dot game" that recreates Cold War hysteria and a search of a sunken ship to learn about European explorers.

With the new version of the TCI curriculum, teachers can integrate their own expertise and resources into their presentations by adding images to slides or inserting their own slides. They can save as many versions of each lesson as they like to the "cloud," allowing them to access it anywhere, anytime. And navigation in the new program is reorganized to make it more intuitive for teachers.

In addition, TCI has made preparing to teach with the program faster and easier for teachers. Lesson support materials are available with the click of a link on the web, and lesson overview videos give teachers a snapshot of what students will be learning. Embedded professional development includes video tutorials throughout the program, offering teachers on-the-fly introduction to the new features.TCI

TCI's new social studies curriculum's online Student Text features text-to-audio, dynamic highlighting and engaging graphics. Student progress is monitored by reading comprehension quizzes that are automatically scored and posted to the teacher's subscription. The TCI Student Text and handouts are now available in Spanish, and the text-to-audio feature can be read to the students in Spanish. The program's dynamic and easy-to-use social media tools allow students to travel beyond the walls of the classroom and invite TCI teachers to communicate with their colleagues across the nation to share ideas, lesson plans and tips.

Schools and districts with current TCI subscriptions will be automatically upgraded to the new version for the life of their subscription. 

Source: TCI, www.teachtci.com

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Key Curriculum Press Debuts Sketchpad Explorer for the iPad

Key Curriculum Press has announced the debut of Sketchpad Explorer, an iPad app offering an intuitive environment for exploring Dynamic Geometry mathematics. Sketchpad Explorer gives users access to the library of The Geometer's Sketchpad mathematics content on the web-including Sketch Exchange, the Sketchpad Resource Center and dozens of teacher-published websites-where they can view and share sketches across a diverse range of mathematics topics and levels.

In addition to providing unlimited access to a user's own and others' Sketchpad documents, Sketchpad Explorer comes with ready-made explorations, in which learners can dynamically manipulate visual mathematical representations to investigate and generalize their understanding of fundamental concepts in elementary mathematics, geometry, algebra, trigonometry and even calculus. Sketchpad users can also create and share documents with and for their iPad using iTunes File Sharing.

Sketchpad Explorer comes with many features that help further mathematical discovery and teaching. Touch indicators (accessible from the Settings menu) visibly track up to 11 finger locations on the iPad screen, which is especially useful when projecting the iPad screen to viewers who cannot see the presenter's hands. Users can double-tap a digital picture to resize or replace it with an image from the clipboard, their photo album, or their iPad 2 camera. As with other apps, you can drag the background with two fingers to scroll, and pinch to zoom for closer exploration. Users can also listen to sine waves by dragging x to change the frequency and the amplitude. Users of The Geometer's Sketchpad on desktop computers can create and design mathematical sketches that can be shared with iPad users by email or over the web. Sketchpad Explorer will be available for free until September 1, 2011, after which date the price per unit will be $3.99.

Sketchpad Explorer connects directly to Sketch Exchange, a free, online community for sharing Sketchpad activities, tips, questions and ideas. Visitors to the site can browse sketches by grade level, topic or tag. A discussion forum is also available for Sketchpad users to encourage the exchange of best practices and new models for learning. In the forum, users can find helpful guidelines for iPad sketch design. For more information, visit http://sketchexchange.keypress.com.

The Sketchpad Resource Center at www.dynamicgeometry.com offers sample activities to help instructors teach a wide range of mathematical topics, from counting techniques for third graders to calculus applications and beyond. The site provides a wealth of information, including tips for getting started with Sketchpad, access to technical support, libraries of sketches, user groups, links to presentations and related news and websites.

Source: Key Curriculum Press, www.keypress.com

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Pearson Announces myWorld Social Studies and myWorld History

Pearson has announced myWorld Social Studies and myWorld History, two social studies programs that offer digitally robust content aimed at helping young people make personal connections and build long-term understanding of key social studies concepts.  myWorld History, a middle school curriculum available immediately, and myWorld Social Studies, an elementary curriculum available for the 2012-2013 school year, join the myWorld Geography program to bring blended learning opportunities to students throughout the nation. 

With myWorld Social Studies, teachers can make the most out of limited instructional time to cover academic standards with print, digital and blended learning opportunities, while reinforcing reading and writing skills found in the Common Core Standards, the announcement states.  Students explore concepts, build knowledge, and transfer what they have learned beyond the classroom leading to deeper and lasting comprehension and understanding

The program encourages students to make personal connections with the content through storytelling, the oldest means for conveying knowledge, but with a digital twist.  Research shows that such connections help students retain and comprehend information.

myWorld Social Studies will incorporate a unique interactive online platform from Tikatok, a division of Barnes & Noble, to offer K-5 learners an opportunity to create digital books tied to social studies content. The myStory System will focus on authentic assessment of students; the transfer of learning to demonstrate understanding; 

digital literacy, independent thinking, and a mastery of digital tools; and peer collaboration and review.

In addition to myWorld Geography, Pearson's new myWorld History program for middle school is ready for classroom implementation this school year. 

Each myWorld History print and digital chapter opens with a fact-based narrative describing how people throughout history have coped with tragedy and triumph. These illustrated stories and engaging online resources help students make personal, emotional and enduring connections to the content, according to Pearson.  

myWorld History's fully digital content includes

  • project-based learning and game-like assignments in which students explore regions and time periods, gathering information by watching videos;
  • interactive simulations;
  • maps, data, primary resources, and artifacts;
  • and an online tracker that enables students to capture their thoughts and record their observations online.

All of the myWorld programs fully support teachers with point-of-use professional development, teaching strategies, and reporting functions to save hours in administrative work, and online training for easy implementation.

For more information, visit www.pearsonschool.com/socialstudies.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsoned.com

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