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September 11, 2012

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Rand McNally's “Play the Election” Digital Learning Game and “Dear Mr. President” Essay Competition
Shmoop Partners with College Preparation Site Zinch
CoSN Releases New Report on the Safety and Security of Personal Devices in K-12 Schools
Follett Software Announces Digital Content Partnership with Curriki
ASCD Introduces Enhancements to PD In Focus
Follett Software Unveils Aspen Curriculum & Learning
Internet@Schools Xtra News: Free September/October 2012 Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
Follett Sponsors Website
Turnitin Adds Common Core Grading Rubrics to GradeMark
ASCD Launches Free Digital Common Core Implementation Tool, Announces Fall Common Core Webinar Series
Online Homework Help, Math Refreshers Now Available to Middle and High School Students Learning With Pearson's Common Core Programs
EBSCO Publishing Releases New Version of EBSCOhost Mobile

Free Resources: Rand McNally's “Play the Election” Digital Learning Game and “Dear Mr. President” Essay Competition

Rand McNally has announced the launch of "Play the Election" - a free collaborative, online tool that teaches students about the 2012 Presidential Election and election process through games, resources and competition. And while students are learning about electing the President, they can write to him with their concerns in a new essay contest open to 7-12th grade students ages 13 to 20 years old, entitled "Dear Mr. President."

"Play the Election" is an engaging community-driven experience that helps students learn about the election process through a series interactive games and competition. Students predict the election winners for each state on an interactive election map, and compare their predictions to their class and the country to see where they rank. The program also includes 11 digital mini-games that delve deeper into influential and battleground states, like Ohio and Florida.

An accompanying online teacher resource center includes lesson plans based on the Common Core Standards making it easy to integrate the games and activities into the classroom.

Key Features of "Play the Election" Digital Learning Game

  • Interactive electoral map - Breaks down the Electoral College by state, details past election results, real-time polling data, election-related headlines, and more.

  • Digital Mini-Games - Students can choose from eleven different mini-games that reinforce key concepts of the election, delve deeper into the issues of influential and battleground states, and tie core civics curriculum to current events.

  • Standards-aligned lesson plans - Professionally-created lesson plans for educators that cover key aspects of the 2012 Election, the Electoral College, and major debates.

  • Student Access - Each student creates their own unique profile that allows them to save and edit their own electoral map, play and track their progress through the games, and see how their answers stack up against those of others in their class or the country.

  • Create Your Own Games - Teachers can create their own mini-games to reinforce key concepts or to teach new, related events.

"Play the Election" was created in collaboration with ImpactGames and is powered by ImpactGames' Knight News Game award winning platform.

"Dear Mr. President" Essay Contest

As America prepares to elect its President, Rand McNally and USA TODAY Education invite students in the 7-12th grades to tell our President what's on their minds via Rand McNally's "Dear Mr. President" essay contest, running through November 27, 2012. Maybe it's climate change, or the challenges of managing our scarce natural resources. Or is it health care, the cost of college, or possibly the economy?

As technology has made the world smaller, the ability to think critically about global and local issues has become an important skill for 21st century life. Rand McNally's mission is to provide students with a love for geography and discovery, and also to provide them with a platform to express ideas about the issues they believe will shape their own futures.

From the submitted essays, ten finalists (five from 7-9th grade submissions and five from the 10-12th grade submissions) will receive a three-day, two-night WorldStrides DiscoverNOW! trip for two to Washington, D.C. The trip is sponsored by WorldStrides, the global leader in accredited educational travel programs. In addition, the finalists will have their essays published in a "Dear Mr. President" ebook and on USA TODAY's Education website,

Two Grand Prize winners will be chosen, one from the 7-9th grade finalist entries and one from the 10-12th grade finalist entries. Each Grand Prize winner will receive a $5,000 529 Scholarship. The schools for the Grand Prize winners will each receive $5,000 of Rand McNally product.

Play the Election and more detailed information and complete contest rules for "Dear Mr. President" are available at and

Source: Rand McNally,

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Shmoop Partners with College Preparation Site Zinch

Shmoop, a publisher of digital curriculum and online test prep, has announced a new partnership with Zinch, a Chegg Company and an online resource for college preparation and admissions. Shmoop has offered valuable teaching and learning resources for years, but they know that students often benefit when educators combine efforts.

The two companies are offering a six-month program during which Zinch users will have special access to Shmoop material through Chegg Presents Zinch Prep, a college counseling program providing information and materials to guide high school seniors through the college admissions process.

By registering on Zinch, a high school student acquires exclusive access to any one test prep resource, be it for the SAT, ACT, or PSAT. Of course, once a student tries one, they'll want to collect the whole set. No worries - they can always head over to Shmoop, where a wealth of additional instructional materials awaits them.

Both Shmoop and Zinch are leaders in the college readiness category, and have proven track records of putting valuable resources in the hands of college-bound students, and helping more of them set their sights on success in post-secondary school and beyond, according to the announcement.

Zinch offers access to numerous scholarships, and aids in the college recruiting process, while Shmoop boasts a continually growing library of study guides, as well as test prep materials to help students on federally mandated tests.

Source: Shmoop,

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CoSN Releases New Report on the Safety and Security of Personal Devices in K-12 Schools

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released a Fall 2012 EdTechNext Report, titled "Safe & Secure? Managing the Risks of Personal Devices." The latest in a series of mini-reports that explore emerging technologies and trends, this new report examines today's advancing Bring Your Own (BYO) initiatives and related safety and security risks facing school districts nationwide.

The report outlines leading BYO initiatives - namely, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Bring Your Own Network (BYON) and Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) / Bring Your Own Applications (BYOA) - and explains the factors driving BYOD, including ensuring students receive a 21st century education and decreasing district costs. Consequently, BYO initiatives have created safety and security risks in schools, which the report identifies, including:

  • Student safety - students who own such devices becoming the targets of theft or physical harm;

  • Device theft or damage - district liability if a student-owned device is stolen or damaged;

  • Inappropriate student (and staff) use - cyberbullying, sexting, cheating or accessing inappropriate content or websites;

  • Data and network breaches - hacking or unauthorized access to data or computing resources; and

  • Legal and regulatory compliance - requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in relation to student-owned devices.

In addition, the report provides real-life examples of solutions to effectively address these challenges and includes information on the most preferred technologies for mitigating mobile security risks. This section of the report also provides a table detailing the solutions that provide the recommended protections and notes their advantages.

CoSN's EdTechNext Reports are a series of mini-reports developed to keep educators up to speed on the latest trends in education technology. They provide a brief introduction to new and emerging technologies and insight on their educational value. Sponsors of the reports include Adobe, Comcast, Gartner, GlobalScholar, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HP, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, Lightspeed Systems, Pearson, PolyVision, Qualcomm, SAS, SchoolDude, SMART Technologies and Wireless Generation.

The reports are only available to members of CoSN.

To learn more about the report, visit To learn more about CoSN or to become a member, visit

Source: Consortium for School Networking (CoSN),

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Follett Software Announces Digital Content Partnership with Curriki

Follett Software has announced it has partnered with Curriki, the latest example of digital content partnerships that the company has forged with leaders in the Open Education Resources (OER) marketplace. Curriki is the online global community for K12 educators, parents and students to find, share and contribute high-quality open curricula to improve teacher effectiveness and student performance.

Curriki's database will be integrated into Follett Software's Destiny Library Manager and Aspen Curriculum & Learning solutions. With nearly 50,000 primary, secondary and teacher training resources across all subject areas, and more than 6.5 million users, Curriki provides learning content that is contributed by teachers from around the world, and is peer-reviewed and classroom tested.

Follett Software is part of the Follett School and Library Group (FSLG) that also includes Follett Library Resources, Follett Educational Services and Follett International. FSLG has more than 70,000 K-12 customers and helps to guide more than 35 million students toward achievement.

Source: Follett Software Company,

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ASCD Introduces Enhancements to PD In Focus

ASCD has introduced version 2.0 of its PD In Focus online professional development tool. Based on research and user feedback, the enhancements in version 2.0 help teachers and administrators better meet their personal and systemic professional development goals. ASCD provides programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner.

The PD In Focus tool provides educators with cost-effective, on-demand access to hundreds of hours of high-impact videos, plus related resources and activities. The program is designed to bring practical classroom applications to life, coupling examples from contemporary teaching with insights from some of the most important voices in education today. PD In Focus is web-based, so users can access it anywhere there's an internet connection, any time they need it-including from mobile devices and tablets.

Among the PD In Focus enhancements, which are helping personalize professional development and connecting users in communities of learning, are

  • Customizable channels. Users can now build custom PD In Focus channels and sub-channels tailored to their specific professional development goals.

  • New group discussion boards. Individual professional development can be extended even further with PD In Focus's group discussion boards. Educators can ask questions, leave comments, and connect with users for their perspective on the topics of interest to them.

  • Video comment tool. A new comment tool offers educators the opportunity to comment directly on the videos they see, providing another venue to continue the dialogue on PD In Focus's powerful content.

In addition, administrators will appreciate new features that can help them both better guide learning and improve accountability. Those new features include

  • Enhanced assignment capabilities. School or district leaders can personalize assignments for individual teachers and highlight portions of important video content to direct online discussions.

  • Automatic e-mail alerts. With PD In Focus's new e-mail alert feature, educators can receive instant updates on the status of assignments. Not only can administrators receive an email alert when assignments are finished, but they can also broadcast new assignments or assignment modifications to teachers.

  • Downloadable reports. School and district leaders are able to easily drag and drop user information to create reports that they can downloaded them in PDF, Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft Word formats.

For more information about PD In Focus and ASCD's other professional development resources, visit For more information on ASCD's other programs, products, and services, or to join ASCD, visit

Source: ASCD,

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Follett Software Unveils Aspen Curriculum & Learning

Follett Software Company has announced that Aspen, its Student Information System (SIS), has evolved to now serve as a fully-integrated instructional, curriculum and learning management system, allowing for seamless access to digital content, online learning and collaboration tools all in one product.

Known for its flexibility and adaptability in meeting even complex local requirements, Aspen includes full special education capabilities, health office functionality and professional development tracking in addition to traditional student information.

Aspen's newest chapter - the addition of curriculum and learning - creates a collaborative environment for curriculum teams, media specialists, librarians and teachers, bringing paid digital content, free and open-source content, and locally created resources together in a single system. All of these standards-aligned resources are usable by teachers, students and parents to augment lessons and extend the classroom to anytime, anywhere learning.

Aspen Curriculum & Learning, for example, will help districts seamlessly connect their standards-aligned curriculum maps to their instructional resources, and distribute them to all teachers and onto the student/parent portals with drag-and-drop simplicity. Individual lessons can be attached to the planner, so all teachers will be equipped - with materials on-hand - and ready for each lesson.

Teachers will be able to enhance their existing class web pages so all the class activities, including assignments and resources are available to the family via the student/parent portal. Students can download an assignment, complete it online and submit back to the teacher. Other assignments, such as online quizzes or tests, can be auto-graded and the grades immediately sent to the Gradebook for real-time results.

Six districts piloted Aspen Curriculum & Learning during the 2011-12 school year and users were very happy with the functionality, breadth of what can be accomplished and ease of use.

Existing Aspen customers can simply "add on" the Curriculum & Learning feature to their subscription.

Source: Follett Software Company,

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Internet@Schools Xtra News: Free September/October 2012 Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the September/October 2012 issue of Internet@Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to the cover story, TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Content Collaboration--25 Resources for Accessing (and Sharing) It All, plus to all the September/October reviews.

Check out the full September/October table of contents HERE, including the additional features and columns, available in synopsized form. If you're a subscriber to the print publication, you'll be receiving your issue soon! If not, well, SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Later this month, once all the issue articles have been processed electronically, you can access any of them in Full Text, Text+Graphics, or Page Image PDF format from the September/October 2012 table of contents. They'll be available on a pay-to-view basis via Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral, powered by ProQuest. Check back soon.

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Follett Sponsors Website

Follett has sponsored a new website,, a timely and robust resource to help educators and districts navigate the eReader highway and answer the critical question "Which Comes First ... Content or Device?"

Follett Library Resources and Follett Software, part of the Follett School and Library Group (FSLG) that also includes Follett Educational Services and Follett International - sponsored the website to serve as a one-stop resource for school and district librarians and administrators to find the information that will help them create the best digital strategy customized to their specific needs.

When users sign up for the free digital diagnostic tool kit, the website will present a clear step-by-step process to help evaluate digital content resources, hardware needs, and understand content licensing terms. Ultimately, will enable districts and schools to connect the right digital tools to their desired learning outcomes.

The website also includes several insightful articles, including:

  • Navigating the eReader Highway
  • Purchase or Lease? Options for School Library eBook Acquisition
  • One Tablet Per Child?
  • eBooks and School Libraries
  • Tips for BYOD K12 Programs
  • Interactive eBook Apps: The Reinvention of Reading and Interactivity
  • School Administrators Are More Open to Mobile Devices, Study Says

Whether it is sorting out the advantages and disadvantages of various mobile devices, such as commercially available dedicated eReaders, or learning how to compare and contrast various licensing agreements, addresses core digital issues with practical information to help educators make the best decisions for their school or district.

Visit to explore the new website.

For more information aboutFollett Library Resources, visit, or visit Follett Software Company at

Source: Follett Corporation,

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Turnitin Adds Common Core Grading Rubrics to GradeMark

Turnitin has announced the addition of writing rubrics aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to its cloud-based grading service, GradeMark. The six rubrics are available within Turnitin for secondary and two-year instructors in the United States. A video from Turnitin is available HERE for more information on the Common Core rubrics.

The rubrics were developed in partnership with the English Professional Learning Council to better prepare secondary students for college-level course work. The Council is comprised of educators from Saddleback College, the University of California (Irvine), California State University (Fullerton), and the Orange County Department of Education.

The Council assisted Turnitin in developing six CCSS-aligned writing rubrics for grades 9-10 and 11-12 for argumentative, narrative and informative essay assignments. Instructors using GradeMark can attach a standard CCSS rubric to any writing assignment to convey their expectations to students, assess submitted work, and track student progress.

Source: Turnitin,

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ASCD Launches Free Digital Common Core Implementation Tool, Announces Fall Common Core Webinar Series

ASCD has introduced its new, free EduCore digital tool for educators implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in both mathematics and literacy. Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the EduCore tool is a repository of evidence-based strategies, videos, and supporting documents that help educators transition to the CCSS.

The EduCore tool supports CCSS implementation for mathematics and features a variety of formative assessment lessons and videos ready for classroom use, including more than 20 formative assessment mathematics lessons. Developed by the Shell Centre, these middle and high school Classroom Challenges include problem-solving and content-development formative assessments on subjects such as solving linear equations in two variables and applying angle theorems. Useful plans, student materials, PowerPoint slides, and other materials round out the many mathematics resources available.

The EduCore tool's three templates for argumentation, informational, and narrative teaching support middle and high school educators who are implementing the literacy standards in all disciplines. Created by the Literacy Design Collaborative, each template offers secondary teachers fill-in-the-blank "shells" built from the Common Core standards that allow educators to insert the texts students must read, writing students must produce, and content students must address. In addition, the EduCore tool empowers content-area teachers to create their own tasks for students that support engagement and growth within the CCSS. Related resources include videos that instruct educators how to create their own templates and Microsoft Word templates teachers can use to develop their own modules.

Through a simple registration process, educators can access additional EduCore features, such as the ability to save searches, organize tools, and annotate resources. In the coming months, ASCD will add additional mathematics formative assessment lessons and sample literacy modules to further enhance this valuable, free digital resource.

In addition to the EduCore tool, ASCD will provide even more support for nationwide CCSS implementation this fall through a series of new, free webinars that provide educators actionable strategies and tactics for integrating the standards into classroom activities. Covering a variety of topics related to the CCSS, including project-based learning, teacher effectiveness, mathematics, and English language arts education, this webinar series begins Monday, September 17, at 3:00 p.m. eastern time with a presentation by ASCD faculty member Maria Montalvo-Balbed. During her presentation, Montalvo-Balbed will discuss practical approaches for teaching English language learners within the CCSS.

The next webinar is an overview of the EduCore tool presented by ASCD's Tools for Teachers Project Director Sherida Britt on Wednesday, October 3, at 3:00 p.m. eastern time. More information on these webinars and a complete schedule of topics and presenters are available at

ASCD is a global leader in providing programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner. In May 2010, ASCD became an endorsing partner of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Source: ASCD,

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Online Homework Help, Math Refreshers Now Available to Middle and High School Students Learning With Pearson's Common Core Programs

Pearson has announced that middle and high school students learning with its Common Core math programs can now turn to Virtual Nerd interactive videos for on-demand quick refreshers or homework help anytime they need support.

Available free to students learning with Pearson High School Math Common Core 2012, Pearson High School Math 2011, or Pearson Integrated High School Mathematics 2014, Virtual Nerd's collection of online interactive video tutorials support 21st Century learning by delivering personalized content to students. Virtual Nerd tutorials support every lesson in the high school math programs, allowing students to learn in multiple ways. Learners get the benefits of private tutoring through content-aligned tutorials presented on Virtual Nerd's Dynamic Whiteboard instructional platform, which anticipates students' questions and allows them to drill down on specific areas where they are having difficulty.

Virtual Nerd is also a featured channel on myMathUniverse, a free site developed to support Pearson's middle grades math program, digits. myMathUniverse is free to students - whether or not they are learning with the digits program. digits is the first middle school mathematics core curriculum that leverages technology to personalize student learning and optimize class instructional time.

To see an example of a Virtual Nerd interactive video, click here.

Virtual Nerd ( offers math tutorials covering grades 6-12 in its patent-pending Dynamic Whiteboard. The multimedia instructional content is delivered online and provides a highly interactive learning experience. Students using Virtual Nerd take a personalized path and learn at their own pace to achieve a fundamental understanding of math concepts. Teachers and administrators benefit from Virtual Nerd School Edition's integrated planning, assessment and intervention tools.

Source: Pearson,

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EBSCO Publishing Releases New Version of EBSCOhost Mobile

EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) has released an updated version of EBSCOhost Mobile providing library patrons and researchers with optimal searching from the most popular smartphones and mobile devices. With ease of use and more functionality, the new EBSCOhost Mobile will provide users with an improved search experience for accessing EBSCOhost databases and EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) on the go, the announcement states.

EBSCOhost Mobile can now be accessed without any initial administrative profile set up or software download required. EBSCOhost Mobile's new smart technology auto-detects when an EBSCOhost user is visiting from a mobile device. The platform automatically directs the user to the optimal search experience for their device, making login and access faster and more streamlined. In the case of iPads, users will be directed to the EBSCOhost full site, which has been optimized for iPad use.

In addition to a more modern mobile site and usability enhancements, new EBSCOhost Mobile allows libraries to customize the interface with their own brands, colors, and logos, and to benefit from patron analytics provided with enhanced, device-specific usage reporting. For EDS users, EBSCOhost Mobile provides guest access and real-time availability checking for items in the library catalog. Library patrons and researchers worldwide benefit from user interface translation into 28 languages, full access to facets and search options, the integration of folders, plus the addition of book jackets images and publication-type icons for a more visual experience. Users have the option of toggling between the mobile site and the full EBSCOhost site. Direct-to-device download support for e-books will be added to the EBSCOhost Mobile site in the coming months.

More information about EBSCOhost Mobile and the latest upgrades to mobile searching for EBSCOhost and EBSCO Discovery Service is available at

Source: EBSCO Publishing,

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