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October 25, 2011

Table of Contents

Cool Links: Textbooks of Tomorrow
Second Monograph Released from 2011 CoSN Compendium
PBS KIDS GO!’s Cyberchase Math Series Website Is Redesigned
Inspiration Software to Offer New Hands-On Professional Development Workshops
National Center on Response to Intervention Endorses Pearson’s Reading and Math Diagnostic Assessments as Approved RTI Solutions
Shmoop Offers SAT and ACT Exam Prep in Spanish
Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networks Institute and Web Wise Kids Launch Free Educational Social Networking Mobile App for Kids
Teachscape Increases Video Recording Options, Adds Video Clipping Functionality to its Reflect Video Platform
Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up 2011 Survey Open through December 23rd

Cool Links: Textbooks of Tomorrow

Link from Victor Rivero's edtechdigest (thanks Victor) to Textbooks of Tomorrow, an interesting infographic on digital textbooks, originally from OnlineEducation.net. Statistically and visually, it communicates mounds of information on what textbooks of the future will look like and do. The edtechdigest post and link are HERE. Goto it!

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Second Monograph Released from 2011 CoSN Compendium

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released the second monograph from its 2011 Compendium, titled "The Big Shift: Curriculum and Technology Leaders Advancing Digital Learning." The monograph provides districts with strategies on how to strengthen the collaboration between K-12 curriculum and technology leaders in the use of digital learning resources and technology infrastructure.

Barriers preventing strategic collaboration between K-12 curriculum and technology leaders range from the fast day-to-day pace at which district leaders work to a lack of district vision centralizing each department's work on student success, among others. The monograph notes that curriculum and technology leaders can develop common ground and build more cohesive, engaging and effective educational environments that leverage digital technologies through such approaches as:

--"Flipping the classroom," for example, through digital video lessons, peer learning and guided practice;

--Developing a collaborative connection between learning management systems and Common Core State Standards;

--Representing information in graphic and nonlinguistic ways; and

--Leveraging social media and other collaborative Web 2.0 platforms.

The monograph also provides additional recommended reading for curriculum and technology leaders.

The monograph is only available to current CoSN members as a PDF download in MyCoSN.

To read the executive summary, please click here.

For more information about the 2011 CoSN Compendium, visit www.cosn.org/Resources/CoSNCompendium/2011/tabid/8852/Default.aspx.

Source: The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), www.cosn.org

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PBS KIDS GO!’s Cyberchase Math Series Website Is Redesigned

THIRTEEN for WNET New York Public Media, producer of PBS KIDS GO!'s math series Cyberchase, has redesigned the Cyberchase website with all-new features and hundreds of videos, math games and hands-on activities in support of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning.

The online experience, relaunching October 25, captures the fun and adventure of the series while strategically engaging children in standards-based math concepts across different types of media. Produced with funding from The National Science Foundation (NSF), the site will comprise one of the largest math resources on the web for kids.

The website (PBSKIDSGO.org/cyberchase) brings together in one place all of Cyberchase's rich multimedia content - 94 episodes, hundreds of videos, including videos in Spanish, and 100+ math games and activities - and is a culmination of nine years' research that demonstrates the power of Cyberchase to improve children's problem-solving and math skills, and increase positive attitudes toward math, according to the announcement. The site is restructured for kids, parents and educators to make their favorite experiences more thematically and mathematically linked, and easier to find.

Central to the redesign are new recommended content paths - prompts designed to keep kids moving through math experiences across a single theme. When users select their favorite Cyberchase games or episodes to play, they automatically can choose from other media selections related to the same math topic or character. With the all-new Find It! page, users can browse through content organized by popular topics such as fractions, science & engineering and geometry.

Visitors to the Cyberchase site will now discover:

 o        A new look and feel that immerses users in the world of Cyberchase and engages them in character- and math-driven adventures across a vast media offering

o        A Find It! section that allows users to navigate collections of content by math topic or themes like Holidays and Money

o        A video player on which kids can watch all of Cyberchase's 94 full episodes plus hundreds of short videos

o        Videos En Español and videos with embedded games

o        A math games area that features rotating recommendations for nearly 50 interactive games, including four immersive Quests

o        An activities area that makes it easy to select fun, hands-on printables kids can do alone or with others both in and out of school


Targeted for kids 8 to 11, the redesigned Cyberchase site will also serve older and younger kids, along with parents and educators looking to bolster math learning with engaging -and entertaining - math content.

Source: PBS Kids, http://pbskids.org/

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Inspiration Software to Offer New Hands-On Professional Development Workshops

Inspiration Software, Inc. has announced new hands-on professional development workshops focused on using visual thinking and learning strategies to improve student achievement. The three-hour, on-site workshops will help participants increase their knowledge of visual learning concepts and techniques, as well as how to apply these techniques to increase students' critical thinking, planning, organization, outlining and writing skills.

In addition, participants will develop their own skills for using Inspiration Software's thinking tools, Inspiration 9, Kidspiration 3 and Webspiration Classroom, to teach. Each workshop is led by an Inspiration Software certified trainer who guides participants in exploring ways to use visual thinking and learning instructional strategies with their elementary, middle or high school students, integrating technology into the curriculum and becoming proficient users of Inspiration 9, Kidspiration 3 or Webspiration Classroom.

Participating teachers will learn how to tap the power of active visual learning to help students better analyze, synthesize and demonstrate their understanding, as well as increase their knowledge of visual learning concepts and techniques and how to apply those techniques to help students learn.

Inspiration Software is offering the workshops to schools and districts in two sessions of three hours, with a maximum of 25 participants per session. Each full day of training - two sessions - is $3,200. Designed to be hands-on, the workshops are most effective when each participant has access to a personal computer and the featured Inspiration Software tool being used.

For more information, contact Inspiration Software at (800) 877-4292 or sales@inspiration.com.

Source: Inspiration Software, www.inspiration.com

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National Center on Response to Intervention Endorses Pearson’s Reading and Math Diagnostic Assessments as Approved RTI Solutions

Pearson has announced that the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) now includes GRADE (Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation) and GMADE (Group Mathematics Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation) on its list of approved RTI solutions. NCRTI gave the diagnostic assessments the highest possible rating for reliability and endorsement on certain convincing evidence to support classification accuracy and validity, according to the announcement.  NCRTI reviewed GRADE and GMADE as a part of its annual evaluation of Reading Screening Tools.

GRADE and GMADE are normative diagnostic reading and math assessments that determine what developmental skills students from preK-12 have mastered and where they need instruction or intervention. As GRADE and GMADE tests levels progress, each measures sequentially more challenging skills appropriate to the specific levels. With such diagnostic assessment data, educators can determine placement of students, analyze strengths and weaknesses, plan instruction, monitor growth from grade to grade, and help with post-secondary educational planning.

Located at the American Institutes for Research, NCRTI is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. The center partners with researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas to build the capacity of states to assist districts in implementing proven models for RTI.

In support of its mission, NCRTI established a standard process to evaluate the scientific rigor of commercially available tools and interventions that can be used in an RTI context. The review process requires three Technical Review Committees of national experts evaluate each product against evidence standards. Once tools are found to meet NCRTI's standards, information on the tools is disseminated through the center's technical assistance activities and websites.

For more information about GRADE and GMADE call 877-324-2401.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsonassessments.com/

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Shmoop Offers SAT and ACT Exam Prep in Spanish

Shmoop celebrates America's most popular second language in producing the ACT and the SAT exam prep universes in Spanish. 

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, "Driven by a single-year surge of 24 percent in Hispanic enrollment, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college hit an all-time high of 12.2 million in October 2010." Getting into college is tough. Brutal, even. It is a battle for which you must prepare - you eat the exams like a hungry lion - or you become lunch.

Key points you gotta know about El Shmoop:

--Shmoop uses relatable allegories drawn from the boob tube to keep students engaged. ACT Scientific Reasoning becomes a little less painful when deconstructed like a CSI crime scene.

--Learning punctuation and rhythm becomes a little less soulless when students get in the groove of a So You Think You Can Dance? Salsa vibe.

--Shmoop uses beloved video games like Oregon Trail, Tetris and Mario Bros. as metaphors for various challenges that students will face (and overcome!) on the SAT and ACT.

--3 Full-Length Timed Practice Tests and Hundreds of Practice Problems (with on-the-spot feedback and explanations).

--Only Spanglish that will help you prepare for the big day. Our explanations are in Spanish, but the drills and questions are in English. Since you will be battling the monster in English, we didn't want to send you to fight the battle of wits unarmed.

--Flex to the max. This is your to-do list as you prep for your exam. Check off the boxes in our suggested order. Or be a rebel and jump around. It's your call. You can retake sections to try to improve your understanding and final scores. Or your Shmoints for prize winning purposes, too!

For more on Shmoop's SAT and ACT en Español, visit, www.shmoop.com/sat-espanol/test-prep.html and www.shmoop.com/act-espanol/test-prep.html.

Source: Shmoop, www.shmoop.com

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Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networks Institute and Web Wise Kids Launch Free Educational Social Networking Mobile App for Kids

Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute (INI) and Web Wise Kids have announced the launch of an educational mobile application that engages kids who are beginning to use social networks in a game about online safety when accessing social networking websites via their mobile devices. The free mobile app, BeSeen, is now available in the Apple iTunes store

It was developed in collaboration with The Wireless Foundation and Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids and Family, with additional funding from The Verizon Foundation. It was created to enable kids around the world to learn how to use social networks safely and responsibly. The app is available on Apple's iOS and will be available on the Android OS later in the year.

BeSeen is a single-player game that simulates a social networking site where players create a profile and travel through a condensed school year, with each game day equaling a fraction of a minute in real life. To earn awards, the player must make positive choices when presented with challenging social situations and solve puzzles along the way. The game is designed to help kids understand responsible online behavior such as securing their personal information, protecting their privacy, and defending their peers against cyber bullying.  

More information can be found at www.PlayBeSeen.com. To download the app, visit: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beseen/id463888757?mt=8.

Source: Web Wise Kids: www.webwisekids.org; Carnegie Mellon University, www.cmu.edu

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Teachscape Increases Video Recording Options, Adds Video Clipping Functionality to its Reflect Video Platform

Teachscape has announced the addition of a feature to its Reflect Video platform allowing uploading of video from most video-recording devices, including its new Mini Camera Kit, and to clip and share video examples of best teaching practices. These new features, along with Reflect's existing functionalities, facilitate collaboration among educators and provide a video-based tool for the observation and evaluation of teaching practices, all within a secure online platform.

Teachscape Reflect Video expands the use of the platform from solely using Teachscape's Lucy Pano Camera Kit to include most video-recording devices, including Teachscape's new Mini Camera Kit. The kit is a low-cost, non-intrusive video recording system that includes a wide-angle lens attached to an optional iPod Touch, a condenser microphone, and an adjustable, lightweight tabletop tripod to provide educators with a compact, portable and professional-grade solution for video capture.

The new clipping feature allows educators to save a clip of specific teaching moments or sections of best practices in action. TeachscapeReflect Video includes the same tagging, commenting and sharing found in the original Reflect platform. With these clips, educators and schools or districts can build a personalized video library of best practices. In addition, it allows educators to collaborate with colleagues on lesson planning and receive more effective feedback on teaching practices.

The system's reporting tools allow administrators to create usage, observation and participation reports that track number of videos captured, comments, shared videos, and more, thus allowing them to easily measure teaching progress, deliver data-driven feedback on instructional practices and guide individual teacher growth anchored in a common definition of teacher effectiveness.

To learn more about Teachscape Reflect Video, visit www.teachscape.com/reflectvideo/.

Source: Teachscape, www.teachscape.com

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Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up 2011 Survey Open through December 23rd

Project Tomorrow's Speak Up 2011 survey is open now until December 23rd. "Are schools ready for online-only assessments mandated by 2014? Do parents think online tests are valid? How do students prefer to learn math? How are schools funding their technology? What do students think is the difference between reading in print vs. digital formats?" These are just some of the questions being asked during the national survey.


Now in its 8th year, the Speak Up online survey will be completed by more than 300,000 K-12 students, educators and parents around the country. The annual survey about education and technology is facilitated through public, private and charter schools all around the country; every school is eligible to participate. The results provide important insights about education, technology and student aspirations to individual schools, state departments of education and national leaders.

The 2011 online surveys - open to all K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators at www.tomorrow.org/speakup/- offers the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered input on education and technology from those "on the ground" in the schools, the announcement states.

More than 23,000 schools from all 50 states and the District of Columbia pre-registered to participate this year. This year's survey polls key stakeholder groups (including students) about many of the key education topics being discussed from the halls of Congress to school district board meetings, including:  

--With tight budgets, how are school and districts funding technology today?

--Will school districts be ready for the online-only assessments coming in 2014?  How do parents feel about these new online assessments?

--How do students prefer to learn math?  How do they want to learn about STEM careers? 

--Should schools allow students to use their own smartphones in class? 

--Can digital learning really personalize instruction? 

--How are digital content and e-textbooks being used by students and teachers?

--Is there a place for Facebook and other social media in schools?  

--How can technology support arts education?

Project Tomorrow will share the national data findings from the survey in the spring with federal, state and local policymakers.  Additionally, every school or district that participates in Speak Up receives a free online report with all of their locally collected data - and the national data findings to use for benchmark comparison.

Individual participation and responses provided in the Speak Up survey are completely confidential and completing the online survey takes only 20 minutes.  Schools and district must register to participate in Speak Up.  Speak Up is open to every public and private school and district in the United States, American schools on military bases and other interested schools worldwide.

Since 2003, more than 2.2 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 30,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many of our nation's most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard, Inc., DreamBox, Hewlett-Packard, K12, Inc., Qualcomm's Wireless Reach Initiative, Schoolwires and SMART Technologies.

Project Tomorrow partners with more than 75 different education associations, organizations and think-tanks for outreach to the schools and development of the survey questions including the American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National Science Digital Library, National Secondary School Principals Association, Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors' Association.

Source: Project Tomorrow, www.tomorrow.org

 

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