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December 20, 2011

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Scholastic’s ‘Teaching with Brian Selznick’ Website
Shmoop Launches Pre-Algebra Worksheets and Quizzes
Follett Software Company to Release Destiny 10.0
Gale Cengage Announces Redesigned User Interface for Gale Virtual Reference Library
Adobe Announces Latest Edition of Digital School Collection

Free Resources: Scholastic’s ‘Teaching with Brian Selznick’ Website

Scholastic has launched a new free website for classrooms, Teaching with Brian Selznick, with a virtual field trip to the American Museum of Natural History, the setting for Selznick's newest bestselling children's book, Wonderstruck. The virtual field trip, which is also available in closed caption, is hosted by Selznick and museum president Ellen V. Futter, and takes students on a tour through three exhibits in the museum: the Wolf Diorama, the Ahnighito Meteorite, and the Giant Anopheles Mosquito, all prominently featured in Wonderstruck. Students will also learn about the museum's history, exhibits, and collections from a museum curator, an exhibitions manager, and a senior scientist. Paired with the virtual field trip are activities for each stop on the tour to help students and teachers further explore the subject matter through science, language arts, social studies and art resources and activities.

Additionally, the new Teaching with Brian Selznick site includes classroom resources for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick's Caldecott Award-winning book and the basis for the celebrated film, Hugo, by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese.

Teaching with Brian Selznick offers teachers and students easy access to Brian Selznick interviews, book reviews, and discussion guides for both books. The site adds even more rich classroom resources to the more than 100,000 pages of free content, lesson plans, activities, and videos available on Scholastic.com.

Brian Selznick's newest release, Wonderstruck, expands upon the genre-breaking form he invented in his debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. With 460 pages of original artwork, Wonderstruck is another multi-layered reading experience that weaves together two compelling, independent stories-one told in words and the other in pictures-set fifty years apart.

Source: Scholastic, www.scholastic.com

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Shmoop Launches Pre-Algebra Worksheets and Quizzes

Shmoop has announced the launch of its expanded free Pre-Algebra resource at www.shmoop.com/pre-algebra/.

The new Pre-Algebra section starts with the most basic fundamentals and focuses on making algebra fun, easy and - for the most part - painless. The section provides a number of worksheets and quizzes designed to steer even the most fervent algebra-hater gently and comfortably through the learning process. There is also an extensive glossary of terms and series of learning guides covering  everything from Basic Operations to Ratios and Percentages to Basic Algebra. Once students have gone through and studied all of the material, they'll be able to identify alternate exterior angles "like nobody's business," according to the announcement

They will also be able to quickly and confidently solve problems like these:

--Poppy has five dresses, four hoodies and three pairs of shoes to choose from. How many different outfits can she make from these choices (no matter how hideous they might be)?

--In a recent survey, two-thirds of people questioned preferred Wired Energy Drink to Awake Soft Drink. If 732 people were surveyed, how many preferred Awake? (Assuming they were all able to respond before crashing and conking out.)

--Ambiance, which sells jeans, is having a great sale. All jeans are one-third off the original price. You find a great pair for $79.50. How much are the jeans after the discount, assuming there is no sales tax?

--The Krispy Kreme "hot" light is on! You buy a dozen doughnuts for $7.50 and then stop at Starbucks and get three lattes for $8.85. You are splitting this treat with two friends. How much does each of you owe? And do you really need more sugar after downing all those Wired Energy Drinks?

--You are a master procrastinator. You can quite easily waste one-fourth of an hour on Facebook, one-third of an hour chatting with friends, and one-fifth of an hour on iTunes. How many minutes (of that precious hour) are left to do homework?

Source: Shmoop, www.shmoop.com

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Follett Software Company to Release Destiny 10.0

Follett Software Company will release Destiny 10.0 next week, featuring more than 50 new enhancements and features designed for the 21st century learner, including the Destiny Quest Mobile App providing users 24/7 mobile access to their school library.

The mobile app for Destiny Quest - a K-12 student-friendly searching interface included with Destiny Library Manager - will allow students, librarians and teachers to search, navigate and instantly access their school library catalog anytime, anywhere via smart phones and tablets. Users will now be able to remotely browse their school catalog, place items on hold, save books into their resource list and view a detailed summary of account information.

Current Destiny 9.9 users will be able to upgrade to Destiny 10.0 beginning Dec. 19, timed so that schools can implement the upgrade over the holiday break.

Other Destiny 10.0 highlights include:

  • Greater accessibility for students in Destiny Quest.Students can research, make citations on items such as eBooks, videos, or digital resources, view textbook checkouts and navigate around the library resources with ease.
  • Improved management of social networking features.With improved administrative options, librarians can delete comments and add recommendations instantly.
  • Fountas and Pinnell Reading Program Service.Follett's Reading Program Service helps students become better readers by directing them to books that are in their optimal reading zone, encouraging learning and literacy while improving test scores.
  • Support Resource Description & Access (RDA) cataloging.Functional improvements have been made for future support of RDA cataloging standards.
  • Flexibility with loading class schedules.Class schedules can be added after the school year begins and new functionality allows users to better manage resources when students transfer or drop classes.
  • Enhanced search results for a targeted learning experience.WebPath Express boasts improved search capabilities, new limiter options and better grade-level alignment.Results can now be filtered by topic, format, source, domain, reading level and language.
  • No need for barcodes on consumable items.Destiny Textbook Manager will allow tracking and distribution of consumable items to patrons - the items are then automatically removed from the patron's record after the specified due date.
  • Track fines and renew asset checkouts.Destiny Asset Manager has been improved to track lost and damaged fines, and to support renewals of asset checkouts.

Existing Destiny customers with current technical support are entitled to the 10.0 upgrade at no additional cost.

To learn more about Destiny 10.0, visit www.FollettSoftware.com/Destiny10.

Source: www.follettsoftware.com

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Gale Cengage Announces Redesigned User Interface for Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, has announced a totally redesigned user interface for Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), its online ebook platform. After extensive user analysis and market feedback, the interface has been overhauled with improved navigation and organization, and a vibrant and engaging display to draw in students, researchers, professionals and general readers, the announcement states.

Based on market feedback, Gale redesigned the homepage of GVRL to display book cover images that replicate a familiar in-library browsing experience. The interface is available in 34 languages ensuring the majority of library patrons will be able to navigate reference content in the language which they are most comfortable. ReadSpeaker technology (text-to-speech functionality) is embedded in the resource and is available in 19 languages. In addition, GVRL features on-demand machine-aided content translation into 14 languages.

The new GVRL interface offers a multi-page viewer that allows users to choose either a one- or two-page view, providing for an interactive, book-like experience. The new page flipper feature allows readers to page through a section or an entire book, replicating a traditional library research experience, but one that can be done from anywhere, at any time and with an unlimited number of users.

GVRL titles can de downloaded as article-level pdf's which can then be uploaded to most readers, making it easy for patrons to download the articles they need. Users can also download books to their MP3 player.

GVRL hosts more than 7,000 full-text titles from Gale and more than 80 other publishers. It contains full-text interdisciplinary content on virtually any subject area to tackle assignments, papers, projects and presentations, according to the announcement. GVRL offers titles for all audiences - children can enjoy full-color titles, students can learn about current topics with Gale's Greenhaven Press titles and educators and administrators can access the best in professional development titles from ISTE and ASCD. Scholars will be able to access publications from university and academic presses and professionals can choose from a growing collection of business references. Libraries can also cross-search their GVRL eReference collection via Gale PowerSearch as well as other Gale holdings including InfoTrac and select InContext resources to build a customized resource.

Libraries can also customize their collection by subject, assignment, topic or class and increase use with free search widgets on their library or course web site. The Gale Admin features allows libraries to easily generate usage reports for their collection. For tips and information on how to boost usage, please visit the Re:sources Blog at http://blog.gale.com/resources/.

For more information on Gale Virtual Reference Library or to request a trial, visit www.gale.cengage.com/gvrl.

Source: Cengage Learning and Gale, www.gale.cengage.com

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Adobe Announces Latest Edition of Digital School Collection

Adobe has announced the latest edition of Digital School Collection (ADSC) for K-12 students and educators, available for Windows and Mac OS. The bundle - which gives students, including those with learning disabilities, a way to visually express what they've learned across curriculum - incorporates the recently announced Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Premiere Elements 10 software, as well as Adobe Acrobat X Pro. Together, ADSC allows students to create projects and classroom presentations that include:

*         polished photos and photo books

*         compelling movies with professional-quality effects

*         media-rich documents and ePortfolios

ADSC helps educators improve student engagement by encouraging creative expression, and teach critical media skills that prepare students for success in college and beyond, the announcement states. To equip teachers up for success, Adobe has published additional resources that can help educators deploy ADSC quickly and efficiently, including:

*         ready-to-use lesson plans, tutorials, tips and tricks and video lesson examples - all instantly available on the free Adobe Education Exchange

*        one- and two-day instructor-led onsite workshops through Knowledge Network Solutions, which give teachers hands-on experience using the software

*        online training through Total Training

Adobe also announced a new pricing model- Digital School Collection is now exclusively available as a 50- or 100-pack K-12 Site License through flexible Cumulative Licensing Program or Transactional Licensing Program plans, ensuring schools and districts can maximize their software budget through wide, cross-platform distributions. These site licenses also come with supporting resources for teaching 21st century skills and engaging students in cross-curricular learning through digital storytelling.

Source: Adobe, www.adobe.com

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