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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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April 10, 2012

Table of Contents

Cool Links: Clive Thomson on Why Kids Can’t Search
Discovery Education/Siemens Foundation Webinar Takes Students Beyond the Classroom for a Journey to the Arctic
Common Sense Media Launches Learning Ratings Initiative for Digital Media
HarperCollins UK Launches “Wonders of the Universe” Astronomy App
Promethean Releases ActivTable Collaborative, Interactive Education Solution
Capstone Digital Launches 2012 Summer Reading Olympics

Cool Links: Clive Thomson on Why Kids Can’t Search

From Wired, a while back but, boy, still current!: Clive Thompson on Why Kids Cant' Search. Here are some teasers to get you to read the brief article.

First paragraph:

We're often told that young people tend to be the most tech-savvy among us. But just how savvy are they? A group of researchers led by College of Charleston business professor Bing Pan tried to find out. Specifically, Pan wanted to know how skillful young folks are at online search. His team gathered a group of college students and asked them to look up the answers to a handful of questions. Perhaps not surprisingly, the students generally relied on the web pages at the top of Google's results list.

And then:

But Pan pulled a trick: He changed the order of the results for some students. More often than not, those kids went for the bait and also used the (falsely) top-ranked pages.

And one more tidbit:

Who's to blame? Not the students. If they're naive at Googling, it's because the ability to judge information is almost never taught in school.

Interested? Riled up? Read the entire article HERE at Wired magazine online.

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Discovery Education/Siemens Foundation Webinar Takes Students Beyond the Classroom for a Journey to the Arctic

On Thursday, April 12, Discovery Education and the Siemens Foundation's Siemens STEM Academy will offer students and teachers a classroom expedition to explore the Arctic and Antarctic poles. Producers and scientists from Discovery Channel's series FROZEN PLANET will discuss their experiences filming the series in the polar regions and the work they are doing there to study the evolving landscape and ecosystems. They will discuss how their career enables them to make a positive impact on the environment every day, and what students can do to make a difference. Every student has the power to help protect our environment, from their local community to the polar regions. The free webinar will also feature an exclusive sneak peek of yet-to-be-aired episodes of the series.

WHEN:     Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 1PM EDT 

WHO:     Dan Rees, Producer/Director, Frozen Planet

             Bob Bindschadler, former Chief Scientist of NASA's Laboratory for Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences

             Ron Naveen, Founder, Oceanites, Inc./Principal Investigator, Antarctic Site Inventory

WHERE:     To register and view the free live webinar, visit:

CONTACT:    Alana Carchedi, Discovery Communications


Source: Discovery Education,

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Common Sense Media Launches Learning Ratings Initiative for Digital Media

Common Sense Media, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology, has launched a new learning ratings initiative that will evaluate the learning potential of websites, video games, and mobile apps. The ratings and reviews provide parents, teachers, teens, and kids with a guide to find the games, sites, and apps that can extend learning time, make learning fun, and build skills that the next generation will need to be successful in the 21st century, according to the announcement. The new initiative is made possible through a partnership with SCE, a foundation created by Susan Crown.

A 2011 poll from Common Sense Media found that while many parents recognize that digital media can provide learning benefits, they are skeptical about the products' educational claims. Common Sense Media's learning ratings address that problem by communicating the learning potential of a website, game, or app, along with offering suggestions on how to get the most out of the user experience. Reviewers analyze digital media products for core academic content like reading, math, and science, as well as deeper learning and social skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. They also assess each product's overall learning potential, looking both at how engaging it is and how it's designed to support learning.

Visitors to and users of the Common Sense Media app will now see a new rating for learning at the top of each mobile app, video game, and website review. These icons appear in addition to Common Sense's standard rating for age appropriateness and quality. Under the tab "Learning Potential," users see summary reviews of what kids can learn, what the product is about, how kids can learn, and how parents can help. Along with the summaries, a section called "Subjects and Skills" lays out both the core subjects and the 21st-century skills that the product addresses. The entire review culminates in an overall learning rating, ranging from "Not Meant for Learning" to "Best for Learning." Common Sense will rate and review both products that were intentionally designed to be educational as well as conventional entertainment media.

Common Sense Media's learning ratings are based on comprehensive research and a rigorous evaluation framework. The framework was developed after conducting interviews with academic experts, a literature review of key 21st-century learning skills, and research with national samples of parents and teachers, who voiced a real need for learning ratings like these. The learning ratings initiative builds on Common Sense Media's successful media ratings and education programs. Through and content partners, Common Sense Media already provides ratings on more than 16,500 titles and offers education resources to more than 26,000 schools in all 50 states and 67 countries.

Learning ratings and reviews are available now for more than 150 mobile apps, games, and websites, with more than 800 expected by the end of 2012. New digital media products will now be reviewed for learning potential as they enter the market, while earlier digital media reviews will be updated on an ongoing basis. In addition, Common Sense's editors will be compiling special recommendation lists by age and subject or skill to help parents identify the products that best meet their kids' and teens' learning needs.

To see all learning reviews, visit To download video materials for broadcast, visit

Source: Common Sense Media,

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HarperCollins UK Launches “Wonders of the Universe” Astronomy App

App publishers Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins, has announced the launch of its "Wonders of the Universe" app for the iPad 2 and the New iPad. The app combines educational content from Professor Brian Cox's books Wonders of the Solar System and Universe books with the award-winning BBC TV series for an interactive learning experience that can be enjoyed by astronomy experts and novices alike.

Animated graphics and high-resolution images (optimized specifically for the New iPad) enable Wonders app users to discover a spectacular array of 3D marvels of the Universe, the announcement states, from the beauty of the lagoon nebula to the daunting vision of a black hole sucking down a hapless star.

Wonders of the Universe is designed for people with any level of understanding of astronomy, from casual explorers interested in the aesthetics to those looking for an educational experience. Users can travel with Professor Brian Cox on his personal tours through the 3D Universe, or jet off on a solo voyage of discovery through the planets of the Solar System to local stars and onwards through the Milky Way.

Wonders of the Universe takes full advantage of the extensive capabilities of the New iPad, using a powerful 3D engine capable of handling high-resolution textures and complex animations created exclusively for iOS5.

Key app features include:

-- Seven apps in one, all of which are linked 3D environments to explore: Subatomic, Atomic, Local Stars, Solar System, Milky Way, Galaxy and the Universe

-- High-resolution images optimized for New iPad screen resolution

-- Two-and-a-half hours of BBC video from Brian Cox's award-winning series

-- 210 full color articles that tell the story of the Universe and reveal its wonders

-- Hundreds of detailed, galactic photos

-- "Pinch" and scrolling capabilities to zoom and grasp the magnitude of the universe and our place within it

The full text from the Collins books Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe are also included in the publishing platform. A scrollable column of text introduces rich media elements -- video, image galleries and interactive graphics -- at appropriate moments in the narrative. Videos and images seamlessly expand as you glide through.

To download Wonders of the Universe for your iPad, visit The app is available for a promotional price of $6.99 for the first 3 weeks. An iPhone version will follow at a lower price point.

Source: HarperCollins,

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Promethean Releases ActivTable Collaborative, Interactive Education Solution

Promethean has announced the release of a  new collaborative and interactive education solution, the ActivTable. The touch-screen interactive table is designed to empowers students to take a more active role in their learning. The more than 25 activities, mapped to standards, inspire students to get involved and participate in group-based projects, the announcement states.

Using natural touch gesture-based movements on the multi-touch screen, students work in teams, pairs or individually to manipulate content and engage in activities that support lessons aligned to core subjects. Students collaborate by sharing work with others across the ActivTable or collectively creating content or conducting research to complete a common goal on lessons.

The ActivTable supports wireless web browsing and integrates with the Promethean ActivBoard. Educators and learners have easy access to a wealth of tools and resources including web browsers, virtual keyboards, an image bank and offers the ability for teachers or learners to easily record sound files. Up to six students can simultaneously use these activities to build collaboration skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and consensus decision-making.

Features and Benefits:

* Using the ActivTable's reporting tools, teachers can track individual student participation, learn who contributed and how each student participated based upon activity of student avatars.

* Teachers can leverage the ActivTable to deliver personalized learning by groups and tailor lessons to support different levels of comprehension and learning styles.

What is new?

* 46" Full HD LCD display

* Individual tool library including keyboards, maths tools, web browsers, etc.

* Easy table access for chairs and wheelchairs

* Embedded sound system for multi-media lesson and voice recording

See the ActivTable in action:

Source: Promethean,

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Capstone Digital Launches 2012 Summer Reading Olympics

To support summer reading, Capstone Digital has announced the 2012 Summer Reading Olympics. All schools using myON reader, the personalized literacy environment that provides access an integrated library of digital books with multimedia supports, are invited to participate in this summer reading program.

The 2012 Summer Reading Olympics awards prizes for the top summer readers, in addition to the school that earns the distinction of 2012 Summer Reading Olympics Champion. Prizes include:

--Gold Medal: An iPad for the student who spends the most time reading.
--Silver Medal: A Kindle Fire for the student who spends the second-most time reading.
--Bronze Medal: An iPod touch for the student who spends the third-most time reading.
--The top 100 readers receive a myON backpack.
--Every student who participates receives the myON Medal of Honor.
--Teachers, librarians and staff can also earn a PolyVision interactive whiteboard for their school by promoting the contest to students and achieving the highest participation rate among schools.

Schools and districts that aren't currently using myON reader can still implement the personalized literacy environment in time for students to participate in the 2012 Reading Olympics. myON reader provides a virtual backpack of more than 2,500 books customized to a student's interest and reading ability as measured by the Lexile Framework for reading. Students can also track their progress throughout the summer. For more information about myON reader, visit

The 2012 Summer Reading Olympics starts on June 1 and runs through August 15, and winners will be notified through the Capstone Connect blog. To register and receive more information, visit the 2012 Summer Reading Olympics contest page.

Source: Capstone Digital, 

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