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September 27, 2011

Table of Contents

Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education Launch Fourth Annual Siemens ‘We Can Change the World Challenge’
Cerebellum Releases the ‘4th Edition Kelso’s Choice Conflict Management Curriculum’
OverDrive and Amazon Launch Kindle Compatibility with Library Ebooks
Adobe Announces Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Premiere Elements 10
Teachscape Reflect Live Helps Accelerate Shift from Paper-Based to Technology-Enabled Classroom Observations
New MyLexia App for iPhone Provides Real-Time Performance Data
Pearson Announces Webinars on Online Assessment Practices
Capstone Digital Launches PebbleGo Biographies, New PreK-3 Reading and Research Solution
Teachscape and ETS Join Forces to Develop Online Observer Training and Testing System for Teacher Evaluations

Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education Launch Fourth Annual Siemens ‘We Can Change the World Challenge’

The Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education have announced the launch of the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, now kicking off its 2012 edition. Students team up with classmates under teacher/mentors to solve environmental problems in their school (grades K-5), community (grades 6-8) and world (grades 9-12).

Now entering its fourth year, the challenge is a collaborative effort of the Siemens FoundationDiscovery Education, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the College Board. Students at all levels use scientific investigation and web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education to create a replicable green solution.

Nearly 18,000 elementary, middle and high school students competed in last year's challenge, offering innovations in areas such as food-waste-to-energy, community-scale battery recycling, phantom-power load reduction, systematic behavior change, erosion control, wildlife habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture for arid zones.

To join this educational initiative toward improving the planet's outlook, teachers and mentors can register for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, add their student teams and begin formulating their projects at www.wecanchange.com.

Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level and value more than $250,000 total, include scholarships, savings bonds, school grants, adventure trips and a chance to present their idea at the United Nations. A panel of environmental experts and science educators will judge teams based on their research, analysis and the ability of the solution to be replicated on a larger scale. High school students are specifically challenged to address: energy, biodiversity, land management, water conservation and cleanup, or air and climate.

The www.wecanchange.com  site will help teams get started, offering a robust resource section that includes lesson plans, ebooks, virtual labs and more to accompany each stage of the challenge. These materials are created by Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications that provides scientifically proven standards-based digital content and resources to classrooms nationwide.

The deadline for all entries is March 15, 2012. Finalists will be announced in April 2012 and the national winners will be announced in May 2012. For more information on the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, visit www.wecanchange.com or www.facebook.com/wecanchange.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Cerebellum Releases the ‘4th Edition Kelso’s Choice Conflict Management Curriculum’

Cerebellum Corporation, the producer and distributor of the Standard Deviants videos, has released the 4th Edition Kelso's Choice Conflict Management Curriculum, as well as two additional resources, to help aid in the emotional growth of elementary students. For more than 20 years, the Kelso's Choice program has empowered students to make positive choices and today it is a recommended resource among elementary guidance counselors.

Led by Kelso, a child-friendly frog that guides students through the lessons, the Kelso's Choice curriculum presents nine options students can use to resolve minor conflicts. By using the curriculum, students are able to determine the difference between problems they can handle on their own and problems that require an adult's help. 

The 4th Edition Kelso's Choice Conflict Management Curriculum operates on the same core concepts and philosophy as its predecessors - every child is capable of becoming a peacemaker - but has been further divided by grade levels to address the developmental difference for grades K-3 and grades 4-5. The complete kit provides a leader's guide with extensive lessons for the guidance counselor, a new DVD, a color Willow Pond storybook, Kelso and Lily puppets, and poster sets to be displayed throughout the school.

Cerebellum has created two additional Kelso's Choice kits to further supplement development at the elementary level.  The Kelso Booster Curriculum Kit is designed to complement the Kelso's Choice kit with an additional video, a flashcard game, and extensive lesson plans and activities. The Kelso Counselor Activity Toolbox is specifically geared toward counseling in small group sessions and encourages at-home use with a board game, video and take-home activities.

The 4th Edition Kelso's Choice Conflict Management Curriculum sells for $399.98. The Kelso Booster Curriculum Kit includes a Putting Kelso into Play DVD with additional scenarios, "The Choice is Right" card game, and new teacher's guide and lesson plans for $149.98. The Kelso Counselor Activity Toolbox includes a DVD with additional scenarios, full-color Willow Pond Storybook, Workbook of activities, crafts, parents' letters and reward charts, and the Kelso "Hoppin' Home" Board Game for $149.98. To learn more about this series, read reviews and success stories visit www.kelsoschoice.com.

Source: Cerebellum, www.cerebellum.com

 

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OverDrive and Amazon Launch Kindle Compatibility with Library Ebooks

OverDrive has announced that it has begun adding Kindle compatibility to all of the U.S. public and school libraries in its network and expects to have all sites updated within days.  This is a very significant step in a series of OverDrive WIN platform enhancements to streamline user experience and help libraries meet the increased demand for ebooks, according to the announcement.

OverDrive, a multichannel digital distributor of ebooks, audiobooks and other digital content, supplies 15,000 public and school libraries worldwide and more than 11,000 in the U.S.  To see if your local library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit OverDrive Search.

The process for borrowing a public library or school ebook for Kindle is similar as for other devices.  Most ebooks already in the library's catalog supplied by OverDrive are compatible with Kindle, so users simply browse or search for "Kindle Book," check out a title with a valid library card, and then click "Get for Kindle."  Access to the Kindle Book will occur at Amazon's website after signing in and selecting delivery to the user's Kindle device or any of the free Kindle reading apps.  As with all ebooks and other digital content at OverDrive-powered libraries and schools, titles are available 24/7 and incur no late fees because they automatically expire at the end of the lending period.  For more details on Kindle compatibility, including the availability of Amazon's Whispersync technology, please visit OverDrive's Digital Library Blog.

In addition to Kindle, OverDrive provides support for all major desktop and mobile devices, including Windows, Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Sony Reader, NOOK, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Source: OverDrive, www.overdrive.com

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Adobe Announces Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Premiere Elements 10

Adobe has announced Adobe Photoshop Elements version 10 and Adobe Premier Elements version 10, the newest versions of its consumer photo- and video-editing software.  

Available for Windows and Mac OS users, the software gives teachers exciting new ways to make learning 21st century literacy skills come alive while building creativity and communication skills for future success, the announcement states. New features enable students to more easily produce meaningful images, professional-looking movies, and digital stories that combine photos and videos in creative ways. Teacher resources, including step-by-step tutorials and ready-to-use lessons for incorporating the software into classroom learning, are available online at the free Adobe Education Exchange.

Photoshop Elements 10, fueled by the same engine as Adobe Photoshop, features these new enhancements and more:

  • 30 new Smart Brush options, including Pencil Sketch, that allow users to apply effects by simply brushing over an area
  • New guided edits - step-by-step instructions for making more advanced edits such as Depth of Field and Picture Stack
  • Improved text features, including the ability to add text that automatically follows the outline of a subject or a customized path
  • Easy Facebook tagging, making it easy to quickly share photos and movies

Premiere Elements 10, which now offers enhanced performance for 64-bit Windows 7 users, has several new tools that take the work out of video editing.  Movie making is now as fun as movie watching. New features include:

  • One-click tools that easily correct and enhance visual clarity for perfect color throughout a project
  • InstantMovie themes that intelligently build movies in seconds
  • Improved pan and zoom capabilities
  • Easy uploading to Facebook and YouTube, plus the ability to export in the AVCHD format to burn high quality HD movies
  • Seamless export of audio and video to the web enablesteachers and students to create rich media podcasts that can be downloaded to personal computers and mobile devices

Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Premiere Elements 10 are available individually or as part of the Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 & Adobe Premiere Elements 10 bundle.

Students, faculty and staff in K-12 and higher education institutions can take advantage of education pricing offered by Adobe Authorized Education Resellers and the Adobe Education Store. For more information, including details on education volume licensing, go to www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/volumelicensing/education/.

Source: Adobe, www.adobe.com

 

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Teachscape Reflect Live Helps Accelerate Shift from Paper-Based to Technology-Enabled Classroom Observations

Teachscape has announced Teachscape Reflect Live, its new observation management and reporting system. Teachscape Reflect Live allows observers to move from traditional paper forms to a technology-enabled process that allows them to seamlessly schedule classroom observations, collect and organize observation data, align evidence with a framework, and then store it on one secure platform.

With Teachscape Reflect Live, observers can use any internet-connected tablet device or laptop to schedule and plan observations and request a pre-observation form from the teacher, including lesson artifacts and samples of student work. The system allows observers to take notes during the live observation and associate the evidence collected to framework components. Teachscape Reflect Live comes pre-loaded with Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching. However, districts have the flexibility of loading any instructional rubric and pre- and post-observation forms.

Upon completion of the observation, the system's reporting tools allow users to see a teacher's self-review and observer feedback side-by-side, summarize strengths and weaknesses, and document recommendations. Observation data is securely stored for measuring teaching effectiveness trends over time, viewing aggregated results across a school or district, and easily accessing individual observations when needed.

When Teachscape Reflect Live is combined with other recent additions to Teachscape's evaluation and observation product family - the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System, Teachscape Reflect Video and Teachscape Walk - it creates a comprehensive set of tools that support professional growth, strengthen teaching practice, and provide a platform for scalable, systematic, and consistent evaluations, according to the announcement. This, in conjunction with Teachscape's Professional Learning Suite of online professional development courses, provides a robust teacher improvement program for districts.

To learn more about Teachscape Reflect Live, visit  www.teachscape.com/reflectlive/.

Source: Teachscape, www.teachscape.com

 

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New MyLexia App for iPhone Provides Real-Time Performance Data

Lexia has announced the MyLexia App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, a mobile app to provide real-time student skills data and norm-referenced performances measures. With mobile access to Lexia's Assessment Without Testing technology, teachers and administrators have actionable performance data at the point of instruction.

The MyLexia App helps teachers recognize which students are struggling, grouping students by specific skills for individual or small group instruction. As students complete each skill level, the MyLexia App helps celebrate student progress by notifying teachers when students have earned a certificate of achievement, which can then be emailed to parents or sent to a wireless printer.

The app also provides a detailed view of each student's performance, including a prediction of his or her percent chance of reaching end-of-year, grade-level benchmark. This allows teachers to prioritize the students who are at greatest risk of reading failure. At the school and district level, principals and superintendents can see-by class or by grade-students' probability of reaching grade-level benchmarks. With this information in hand, administrators can detect performance trends and deploy resources accordingly.

A recent survey by the Haselton Group concluded that 70% of administrators own a smartphone; yet less than a quarter (24%) have ever used their smartphone for instructional purposes. However, 67% of administrators said they would find an app like the MyLexia App a valuable instructional tool, including 20% who deemed it as an essential tool.

The MyLexia App is part of Lexia's product, Lexia Reading. The app is available for free on the Apple App store, and requires an active subscription to the Lexia Reading software. Lexia Reading is a technology-based system of differentiated practice, embedded assessment and targeted instruction, designed as an essential component of every reading curriculum.

As students work independently on Lexia Reading's systematic, structured skills development activities, the software records each response and adjusts each student's experience on the program according to his or her demonstrated skill level. This embedded assessment, known as Lexia's Assessment Without Testing technology, provides real-time data on students' specific skill gaps, as well as norm-referenced predictions of each student's percent chance of reaching the end-of-year benchmark. Based on these data, the program recommends structured, teacher-led lessons and intensity of instruction necessary to help each student reach benchmark.

Source: Lexia Learning, www.lexialearning.com

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Pearson Announces Webinars on Online Assessment Practices

Pearson has announced a new series of webinars designed to help states and districts navigate the transition from paper-and-pencil to online assessments. These webinars are one more component in Pearson's overall campaign to help states make the transition from paper-and-pencil to online assessments by 2014.

In these two new online workshops, participants will be walked, step by step, through   Considerations for Next Generation Assessments: A Roadmap to 2014, a comprehensive guide for making the transition, released by Pearson earlier this year. The series host, Pearson's director of Online and Technology Implementation Bryan Bleil, will be joined by other experts from the company, who will delve deeply into the roadmap and answer questions about initiating or expanding online testing.

Other components, such as white papers and a video series, illustrating Pearson's efforts to help states transition to online assessments and increase personalized learning for all students, are featured on a special website, Next Generation Assessments.

A complete list of the webinars and topics follows:

  • Step 1: "Conducting a Needs Analysis," and Step 2: "Develop a Transition Strategy"

Oct. 6, 2011 - 1-2 p.m. CT

Participants will learn how to evaluate the tools and resources they already have available and create a detailed strategy, action plan and timeline for initiating or expanding online testing. Bleil will be joined by Ellen Strain-Seymour, Ph.D.,

Pearson's director of Digital Content Development.

Register here.

  • Step 3: "Ensure Operability," Step 4: "Communicate Proactively" and Step 5: "Anticipate Ongoing Change"

Nov. 1, 2011 - 1-2 p.m. CT

This session will address evaluating and understanding state-specific portability and interoperability needs, creating a forum for sharing technical knowledge, establishing ongoing staff training and ensuring that ongoing needs are anticipated.

Register here

Source: Pearson, www.pearson.com

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Capstone Digital Launches PebbleGo Biographies, New PreK-3 Reading and Research Solution

Capstone Digital has launched its newest PreK-3 reading and research solution, PebbleGo Biographies. The database builds upon the success of previously released databases PebbleGo Animals and PebbleGo Earth and Space which employ reading scaffolding strategies to strengthen emergent readers' literacy and research skills through a streamlined interface, audio supports, and easy-to-read articles.

PebbleGo Biographies is correlated to state and national social studies standards and features biographies on famous figures in history, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Alexander Graham Bell, and Barack and Michelle Obama, in 12 easy-to-navigate categories, such as athletes, explorers, inventors, and presidents and first ladies. The database includes articles discussing subjects' early life, life's work, milestones, and legacy. PebbleGo Biographies includes expertly leveled and fully narrated text, animated highlighting, glossary words, visual searching, educational videos and games, an interactive timeline of key dates, and encompassing activities which teach students how to cite articles, create reports, and share what they've learned. The database is available over the internet 24/7 as an annual subscription for enrolled students.

With this latest launch, all of the PebbleGo databases were transitioned to a cloud computing platform. The move provides users with a faster experience, minimal management from their school's IT department, and 24/7 availability from any location with Internet access.

A free demonstration is available at www.PebbleGo.com.

Source: Capstone Digital, www.capstonedigital.com

 

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Teachscape and ETS Join Forces to Develop Online Observer Training and Testing System for Teacher Evaluations

Teachscape and Educational Testing Service (ETS) have partnered to create the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System. Developed in conjunction with Charlotte Danielson, the developer of the Framework for Teaching, the Proficiency System offers a research-based online solution for training and testing observers to accurately and reliably assess teaching practice.

The Teachscape and ETS partnership stems from the companies' work on the Measure of Effective Teaching (MET) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of the project, Teachscape captured video footage of 20,000 lessons from 3,000 classrooms. The systems, tools and methodology for then scoring these classroom lessons relative to the Danielson instructional framework was also developed by Teachscape, in collaboration with Danielson and ETS.

As a result of state and federal policy initiatives and an increasing emphasis on performance-based teacher evaluation systems, there is an urgent need to train observers and provide evidence of their ability to accurately and reliably assess teaching practice, the announcement states. To address this need, the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System offers three components containing more than 15 hours of self-paced online training and more than 100 master-scored videos covering all proficiency ranges for grades K-12.

To learn more about the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System, visit www.teachscape.com.  

Source: Teachscape, www.teachscape.com

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