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

Table of Contents

Jones e-Global Library launches ‘College Ready’ Edition of Online Library
Is Your School In Compliance With The July 1 Internet Safety Regulations?
Blackboard Launches 2-Way SMS Platform in United States
Discovery Education, 3M Announce National Finalists in Young Scientist Challenge
New CDW-G Survey Finds 'Learn Now, Lecture Later' Model Emerging in Education
Follett Software Partners With Leading Content Providers

Jones e-Global Library launches ‘College Ready’ Edition of Online Library

Jones e-Global Library has announced the launch of the 9-12 College Ready Edition of their online library. e-Global Library provides an online library solution for schools that may not have traditional brick and mortar libraries. For those schools that do have existing libraries, e-Global Library enriches the student's learning capability and provides online research experience critical for college preparation, according to the announcement.

e-Global Library's College Ready Edition provides students and teachers with a 21st Century research and learning tool that supports traditional studies and college preparatory efforts.  Much like a conventional library, e-Global Library allows students to research, access resources for specific courses, and collaborate. Unlike a conventional library, students are able to access the library site from any location with an internet connection 24/7. Articles, ebooks, journals, lessons and more are readily available for students at any time. With e-Global Library, students have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with online learning, research tools and practices that will prepare them for college and beyond.

e-Global Library has served as a library solution  for higher-education institutions since 1999.  The 9-12 College Ready Edition is a new product offering and is currently in use by Liberty Common High School, a charter school based in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Source: Jones e-Global Library, www.e-globallibrary.com

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Is Your School In Compliance With The July 1 Internet Safety Regulations?

Web Wise Kids' comprehensive approach to internet safety through games/programs and training can help schools prepare to meet the July 1, 2012 internet safety regulations. Federal legislation signed into law in October 2008 requires schools receiving E-Rate discounts on telecommunication services and internet access to make available online safety education for their students by July 1. These new laws focus on online behaviors including cyber bullying, responses to potential internet predators, and interactions on social networking web sites.

Schools needing to comply can visit the CyberCops Series School Kit or MISSING School Kit pages on the Web Wise Kids site. Along with the three games, schools will receive a training manual and consulting through scheduled webinars for a one-time cost of $995.00.

For almost a decade, Web Wise Kids (WWK), a national nonprofit organization, has delivered a research-based approach to internet safety education that can help schools effectively meet this new requirement.

In response to statistics on inappropriate internet behavior, Web Wise Kids' interactive games offer a positive, preventive, and proactive way to collaboratively engage youth, emotionally and cognitively. These games, based on real life situations, are distributed primarily through training sessions for local school personnel facilitated by WWK trainers.

Source: Web Wise Kids, http://webwisekids.org

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Blackboard Launches 2-Way SMS Platform in United States

Blackboard Inc. has announced the U.S. release of Blackboard ConnectTxt, a 2-way mass notification platform. With Blackboard ConnectTxt, users can send text messages and emails to a broad audience, through an inbound messaging engine, and receive replies via text as well. Blackboard ConnectTxt already helps more than 500 customers around the world - including more than half of all colleges and universities in the United Kingdom - improve response rates to communications and strengthen community engagement and participation.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 73 percent of mobile phone owners are active SMS users, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 send and receive an average of 3,200 text messages every month. Using Blackboard ConnectTxt, education, government and private organizations can leverage the popularity of text messaging for more meaningful conversations.

The admissions office of Westminster College, a private liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, participated in a pilot of Blackboard ConnectTxt. Officials used the system in an effort to increase response rates from prospective students that had not completed their applications and who were unresponsive by phone and email. In all, officials received responses from over 50 percent of the recipients.

The core Blackboard ConnectTxt messaging engine processes and routes inbound SMS with unique keywords, shortcodes and standard codes, QR codes, and inbox filters and workflow rules. These tools enable customers to improve communications and strengthen relationships with their communities by enabling clients to:

*         Increase response rates: text messaging is more immediate and interactive than email or other modes of communication. Blackboard ConnectTxt users report significantly higher open and response rates when communicating via SMS.

*         Establish text-based hotlines: institutions can invite community members to use Blackboard ConnectTxt to report issues or problems, or to request assistance.

*         Drive contact database registration: organizations can encourage members to sign up for community updates by registering by text.

*         Run real-time SMS surveys: clients can run live, text-based surveys to make presentations, lectures and community programs more interactive.

*         Track message delivery: audit capabilities enable users to track message delivery to reduce errors and improve quality of database.

*         Integrate mobile into marketing campaigns: Shortcodes, keywords and QR codes make it easy for recipients to interact with marketing campaigns, print collateral and social media.

Blackboard ConnectTxt also offers a range of outbound messaging capabilities. Users can leverage mail merge tools to personalize each message, plan and schedule message distribution, and track message delivery. Visual demonstrations of Blackboard ConnectTxt and its specific applications for K-12, higher education, government and the private sector are available at www.blackboard.com/connecttxt.

Source: Blackboard Inc., www.blackboard.com

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Discovery Education, 3M Announce National Finalists in Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education and 3M have announced the top 10 finalists in the 14thannual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (www.youngscientistchallenge.com), a science competition for students in grades 5-8. Students nationwide were asked to create a short video describing a new innovative solution that would impact an everyday problem, and these budding young scientists rose to the top of their peers due to the scientific ingenuity and inventive thinking demonstrated in their entry videos.

Each finalist will have an exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M Scientist during a summer mentorship program where the finalist will be challenged to create an innovation that solves a problem he/she has identified in everyday life. Mentors will provide guidance as the finalist develops their ideas from a concept into an actual prototype, which they will present at the competition's final event at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. Throughout the program, each student will have access to resources and support provided by 3M and Discovery Education.

Each finalist will receive $1,000 and be awarded a trip to 3M Headquarters to participate in the final event on Oct. 15-16. During the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge final event, students will demonstrate their scientific acumen, creativity and communication skills in a series of three different challenges, including a presentation of their completed innovation. Each challenge will be scored independently by a panel of judges. The winner will receive $25,000, a trip from Discovery Student Adventures and the title of "America's Top Young Scientist."

The 10 finalists are (in alphabetical order)*:

  • Aidan Dwyer, Northport, N.Y., Northport Middle School
  • Naren Gaurev, Beaverton, Ore., Meadow Park Summa Middle School
  • Brandon Gong, Garden City, N.Y., Garden City Middle School
  • Carolyn Jons, Eden Prairie, Minn., Central Middle School
  • Deepika Kurup, Nashua, N.H., Fairgrounds Middle School
  • Chase Lewis, Chapel Hill, N.C., Homeschool
  • Gabriel Mesa, Canton, Conn., Canton Intermediate School
  • Anin Sayana, Cupertino, Calif., Challenger School
  • Patrick Shea, Jacksonville, Ill., Our Saviour School
  • Anishaa Sivakumar, Murrysville, Pa., Franklin Regional Middle School

* Schools listed are from time of competition entry (January - April 2012).

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to wane and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. In January, students nationwide were asked to create a short video describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem related to the way we move, keep ourselves healthy or make a difference. In addition to the 10 finalists, 42 students were selected as state merit winners in this year's competition and will each receive a 3M Innovation Prize Package.

For more information on the challenge, including photos and bios of the 10 finalists and a list of the state merit winners, go to www.youngscientistchallenge.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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New CDW-G Survey Finds 'Learn Now, Lecture Later' Model Emerging in Education

The traditional lecture model - with a teacher standing at the front of the classroom conveying information - is changing.  Across the country, high schools and universities are exploring alternative ways to connect with students and how technology can help support this change. 

According to "Learn Now, Lecture Later," a new report released by CDW-G, nearly half (47 percent) of teachers surveyed said they are moving beyond  the lecture-only model, and 71 percent of students and 77 percent of teachers say they are using more classroom technology today than just two years ago, including laptops/netbooks, digital content and learning management systems. Other technologies are on the rise in the classroom, too, including smartphones, student response systems and blogs.

CDW-G surveyed more than 1,000 high school and college students, teachers and IT professionals to understand how different learning models, such as hands-on and group projects, independent study, virtual learning and one-on-one tutoring, are impacting high school and college classrooms.  CDW-G also sought to further understand the role that technology plays in helping students and teachers maximize their time in the classroom.  

When asked how the shift to different learning models is impacting the way they learn, one student noted, "I think it makes the learning real.  You are able to take the concepts you learn in lectures and use them in real, hands-on situations."  Another student said, "Technology makes you ready for a real-world experience and makes school work seem more like a job."

Shifting away from the lecture-only model may make sense for many educators, but 88 percent reported challenges to making the shift.  "Lack of budget continues to be the top roadblock for both high schools and higher education institutions," said Julie Smith, vice president of K-12 education, CDW-G.  "But more importantly, the other challenges differ depending on who you ask.  Teachers and IT professionals have very different ideas of how to make the move easier - ranging from access to technology and lack of professional development to class size and lack of time.  We need to ensure that educators and IT are talking to one another."   

Despite the challenges, students and teachers are open to moving away from lecture only, with requests coming in many forms.  CDW-G's Learn Now, Lecture Later identified requests for:

*  More help:  Seventy-six percent of IT professionals report increased teacher requests for help with technology integration and related professional development

*  More tech:  High school and higher education teachers both want laptops, netbooks, tablets and digital content to help them move away from the traditional lecture model

*  More IT:  IT professionals noted that in order to support a change in instruction, their institutions need to add or improve servers/storage, wireless infrastructure and cloud computing.

For more information about Learn Now, Lecture Later and to download the full report, visit www.cdwg.com/LearnNowLectureLater.

Source: CDW-G, www.CDWG.com

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Follett Software Partners With Leading Content Providers

Follett Software Company has announced a first round of partnerships with leading providers to sell reliable and relevant third-party digital content. Follett Software - part of the Follett School and Library Group (FSLG) that also includes Follett Library Resources, Follett Educational Resources and Follett International - says the partnerships are reflective of a larger digitally focused initiative to strengthen the connection between the library and the K-12 classroom curriculum.

The third-party content is specially selected and provided by Follett to make districts' digital library more robust, with information available from top providers across a multitude of subjects and specialized disciplines. The databases are now available for purchase for current Destiny and Aspen customers, and students and educators are offered an integrated search experience, maximizing content investments and promoting greater usage.

Follett Software's initial five digital content partners are:

  • Soundzabound - this digital content subscription provides students and staff access to royalty-free audio that meets all licensing requirements for grades K-12. Soundzabound royalty-free music is a copyright compliant solution for all multimedia uses that will guard against copyright infringement.

  • CountryReports - this digital content subscription provides students and staff access to 35,000 pages of online content covering culture, countries, geography, social studies, history, the United States, and current events. Content is available in Spanish, French and German.

  • A.D.A.M. Interactive Anatomy - these digital content subscriptions provide students and staff access to engaging interactive online resources for teaching and learning of anatomy, physiology, clinical applications, allied health, and health education topics. A.D.A.M. solutions will enhance any libraries' databases of learning materials with interactive content, HD videos, animations, images, and quizzes.

  • TeachingBooks.net - this digital content subscription provides students and staff with instructional materials that add a multimedia dimension to the reading experience. TeachingBooks' online database is developed and maintained to include thousands of resources about fiction and nonfiction books used in the K-12 environment, with every resource selected to encourage the integration of multimedia author and book materials into reading and library activities.

  • ABC-CLIO - this digital content subscription provides students and staff access to online resources offering authoritative, continually up-to-date coverage of essential topics in U.S. history and government, world history, geography, and a range of multicultural and popular culture subjects.

For more information on Follett Software's Content Partners, visit www.follettsoftware.com/digital-content-partners. For more on how to become a third-party digital content partner with Follett Software, visit www.follettsoftware.com/become-a-partner.

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com

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