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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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October 11, 2011

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Discovery Education and Partners’ Supplemental Classroom Materials, Grants, Award Programs
Kaplan K12 Learning Services Offers Online Educator Toolkit for Differentiated Instruction and Professional Development
eChalk Releases New Mobile App to Access eChalk’s Online Platform
ITI Crosslinks: Amazon Launches Library Ebook Lending Support for Kindle and an All-New Kindle Family
Sokikom Launches New Shapescape Game
Winners Announced in Ninth Annual Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes from CDW-G and Discovery Education

Free Resources: Discovery Education and Partners’ Supplemental Classroom Materials, Grants, Award Programs

Discovery Education has partnered with numerous companies to create an assortment of free resources for educators, students and their families. Designed to support and advance student achievement at the start of a new school year, these resources span a variety of topics from science to internet literacy. Focused on providing fun and engaging tools to classrooms and homes, these joint efforts include components like supplemental family activities, K-12 curriculum programs, interactive classroom lessons and more. These programs include:

New Teacher Survival Central
Created alongside Elmer's, American College of Education, Learning.com and Discovery Student Adventures, New Teacher Survival Central is an online destination welcoming, supporting and rewarding educators new to the teaching profession with an array of helpful and timely classroom resources. Now open for entries, the ‘New Teacher Survival Central Sweepstakes' will award one grand prize winner an all-inclusive trip to Costa Rica and a prize pack, which includes a classroom set of NOOK color tablets, a STEM Survival Prize Pack, an Elmer's Classroom Prize Pack, a tuition scholarship toward a master's degree and a collection of Discovery Education DVDs. Teachers are invited to encourage their colleagues to enter the sweepstakes. Those who refer a winning teacher will also be rewarded with an Elmer's Classroom Prize Pack and an all-expense-paid trip to a professional development conference of their choice. Entries are due by December 17, 2011.

Science of Everyday Life
Opening young minds to science with a unique online resource center, Discovery Education and 3M created Science of Everyday Life, a destination for teachers, students of all ages and their parents to explore the surprising and important role that science plays in our daily lives. The site offers K-12 curriculum and interactive tools that bring to life the science that's happening all around us and family activities that encourage students to make connections to what they are learning in school. New high school resources help engage students on a higher level with lesson plans and career clips featuring Discovery Channel personalities like Reed Timmer of Storm Chasers.  In addition, the new Young Inventors Hall of Fame highlights recent finalists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Siemens Science Day
Entering its fourth year in 2011, Siemens Science Day is a joint effort with the Siemens Foundation offering teachers hands-on activities to help reinvent science class for grades K-6. Each activity is partnered with a video from Discovery Education.  Teachers also have access to a special ‘Teacher Support' area, related websites, and a teacher toolkit. In addition to the digital content, teachers have the opportunity to win an "Ultimate Cool School Assembly." These assemblies are not only fun and interactive, but also underscore the importance of science literacy and the need for science resources among schools. Entries for the sweepstakes will be accepted through February 28, 2012.

USADA True Sport Awards Program
The third annual USADA True Sport Awards Program, a partnership between Discovery Education and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), encourages youth-influencers to propose and implement ideas and programs that motivate young people to lead safe, healthy and ethical lives, free from performance-enhancing drugs. Now accepting submissions, the awards program gives entrants a chance to win more than $3,500 in prizes for their efforts in shaping positive beliefs and behaviors in their communities. New this year, awards will also be given to the top student and district administrator applicants. Entries are due December 1, 2011.

Web 20.11
Discovery Education joined CDW-G and SMART Technologies to create Web 20.11, an online destination for teachers seeking helpful techniques and strategies to assist them in integrating digital content into curriculum. Web 20.11 offers free resources in media literacy, internet safety, Web 2.0, presentation tools and blogs from educational experts. Teachers can also enter the ‘Web 20.11 Tech Tune-Up Sweepstakes' for a chance to be the grand prize winner of an AverMedia AverVision F50 Document Camera, a trip to ISTE 2012 in San Diego and a $1500 digital media grant from Discovery Education. Two runners up will receive a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. The sweepstakes closes on December 31, 2011. 

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com 

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Kaplan K12 Learning Services Offers Online Educator Toolkit for Differentiated Instruction and Professional Development

Kaplan K12 Learning Services has launched an online toolkit with robust instructional and professional development resources to help teachers transition between what students learn now and future expectations. Based in pedagogical best practices and aligned to state-specific and Common Core standards, Kaplan's Teach! Strategies & Resources is a web-based platform with resources to support rigorous differentiated instruction, training and assessment. It includes:

* Teaching resources: an online library of more than 3,000 lessons, assessments, and videos that educators can filter by grade (2-12), subject area, state-specific standards, and/or Common Core State Standards to find immediate actionable tools for classroom use

*  Professional development support: multimedia assets and hundreds of case studies, activities, and resources enabling educators to enhance instructional practice

*  Tracking: reporting tools that measure teacher, school and district usage, making it easy to view and monitor highly-rated resources and downloads

 Teach! Strategies and Resources is $1,900 for an annual school license for all teachers and $59 for an annual individual teacher license. For more information, please go to www.KaplanK12.com/Teach.

 The Common Core State Standards are an effort led by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association to define the knowledge and skills in English language arts and mathematics that students will need upon high school graduation. Forty-four states have adopted the Common Core State Standards and are turning their attention to the critical work of how and when to implement the new standards.

Source: Kaplan K12 Learning Services, www.kaplank12.com

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eChalk Releases New Mobile App to Access eChalk’s Online Platform

eChalk has released a new mobile app designed to extend its school communication and instruction management software to more computing devices and give students, parents and teachers another way to stay connected. With versions for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices, the app helps school communities foster greater parental involvement and embrace mobile learning, according to the announcement.

The new app provides parents and students with mobile access to the eChalk online platform to receive timely notifications of school activities, and to view grades, homework assignments, learning resources, and class discussions. Parents with more than one child in a school or district can access all of their children's information in one place, and contact teachers in seconds. Teachers have the ability to view their accounts and easily send notifications to students and parents from their mobile device.

A recent study conducted by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory indicates that "children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer and like school more" when their parents and communities take interest in their academics. Schools are able to create a connected, collaborative environment through eChalk. Schools easily create their own websites, host student-safe social networking, manage classroom workflow, and more - all to foster social learning, increase parental involvement, and ultimately improve student achievement, the announcement states.

The company recently released Version 12.0 of its online software. In addition to launching Version 12.0 and the mobile app, eChalk is enhancing its software to seamlessly integrate with Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Live@edu by late 2011. 

Customers can download the mobile app by logging into their eChalk accounts online. For more information, explore www.echalk.com/browse/mobile.

Source: eChalk, www.echalk.com

 

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ITI Crosslinks: Amazon Launches Library Ebook Lending Support for Kindle and an All-New Kindle Family

Ebook news is big these days, and matters increasingly in the K-12 realm. Here are the opening paragraphs, plus a couple of teaser sentences to entice you to read more, from a report on Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks yesterday:

On Sept. 21, 2011, Amazon and its partner OverDrive  announced Kindle and Kindle app support for lending library ebooks. More than 11,000 public libraries in the OverDrive network in the U.S. will now offer their users who have Kindle e-readers and Kindle app software access to library ebooks. OverDrive, based in Cleveland, Ohio, is a leading digital distributor of ebooks, audiobooks, music, and video to the public library marketplace. Using the OverDrive platform, library customers will be able to access ebooks that have been selected or leased by the local public library.

Amazon’s Kindle support for ebook lending has almost taken a back seat to the company’s Sept. 28 announcement of its All-New Kindle Family, including the long-anticipated tablet computer the Kindle Fire, a powerful full-featured tablet that will be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPad. At $199, the Kindle Fire offers the complete range of content with a brilliant color touchscreen. The next generation of Kindles will range in price from $79 up to the Kindle Fire at $199. Shipments of the new Kindle Fire will begin on Nov.15.

Support for ebook lending is a major departure for Amazon and is an important milestone for libraries. Previously, Amazon only sold ebooks and did not support ebook lending for libraries even though there has been significant demand from libraries. ...

Read Dan Tonkery's entire report, "Amazon Launches Library Ebook Lending Support for Kindle and an All-New Kindle Family" HERE on Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks.

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Sokikom Launches New Shapescape Game

Sokikom has launched its fourth game - Shapescape. Appropriately named, the new game is designed to help kids in grades 1-6 build an understanding of geometry. Shapescape joins Sokikom's three other games: Frachine, which focuses on fractions, decimals and percents; Opirate, which emphasizes mathematic operations and algebra; and Treeching, which concentrates on the principles of measurement, algebra, patterns, time and money.

In keeping with the engaging animation of Sokikom's other games, Shapescape is hosted by an amusing shark, who is already winning rave reviews from kids who have previewed the game.

When students log on to Sokikom, they create an avatar and take a placement test. Then they are placed in a gaming level according to their abilities and quickly begin playing engaging games and solving real-life math problems.

Sokikom offers kids the ability to play individually or with a group. During individual game-play, kids go through a personalized math program that adapts to their abilities. If a student is stuck on a problem, the character, such as the friendly robot in Frachine, points them to a "help" button where the concept is reviewed. During team-based multiplayer games, students play together in real time and help each other complete math tasks. As they master levels, challenges and multiplayer games, they earn Soki-Coins, which they can use to purchase items online to dress their avatar.

For more information on how online games are helping children develop a love of math and build their math abilities, visit Sokikom's blog at https://www.sokikom.com/blog/.

Source: Sokikom, www.sokikom.com

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Winners Announced in Ninth Annual Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes from CDW-G and Discovery Education

CDW Government LLC (CDW-G) and Discovery Education have announced the winners in the 2011 Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes. The 2011 sweepstakes awarded nearly $200,000 in customized classroom technologies to 53 schools nationwide.

Grand prize winners Piner Elementary School (Morning View, Ky.), Spaulding School (Gurnee, Ill.) and St. Veronica Catholic School (Chantilly, Va.) each won one of three state-of-the-art 21st-century classrooms, which include notebook computers or tablet PCs, an interactive whiteboard, a student response system, a projector, a document camera and more.  

CDW-G and Discovery Education received more than 600,000 entries from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Of those, nearly 7,000 unique entries came via Twitter - the second year that entry method was available. 

Each grand prize winner will receive a 21st-century classroom valued at approximately $43,000, including:

Ø  $5,000 Discovery Education digital media grant

Ø  Customized package of at least 20 notebook computers or tablet PCs from HP, Lenovo or Toshiba

Ø  3 wireless access points from Cisco, D-Link or HP

Ø  1 mobile cart from Bretford

Ø  1 interactive whiteboard from PolyVision

Ø  20 student response devices from Qwizdom

Ø  1 video projector from Epson

Ø  1 document camera from AVerMedia

Ø  1 laser jet or ink jet printer from Epson, HP or Xerox

Ø  1 digital camcorder from Sony

For a full list of prizes, please visit http://cdwg.discoveryeducation.com/wawl/prizes/.  The full list of winners is available at http://cdwg.discoveryeducation.com.

Source: CDW-G, www.cdwg.com/k12 

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