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November 20, 2012

Table of Contents

ePals Launches News Now Journalism Center
Internet@Schools Xtra News: Complete November/December 2012 Internet@Schools Contents Now Available Online—Full Text, Text+Graphics, PDF
Alliance for Excellent Education Releases Report: 'The Nation’s Schools Are Stepping Up to Higher Standards'
StudySync Partners with Pearson's Online Learning Exchange To Offer Social Studies Educators Enhanced Digital Learning Experience
Britannica Launches Online Information Solution for Classrooms

ePals Launches News Now Journalism Center

ePals has announced the launch of News Now, a new learning center on www.ePals.com/journalism dedicated to helping high school students learn professional news and editorial reporting skills. The center provides resources aligned with "real world" journalism practices and communications standards such as the Common Core Standards in the United States, and encourages students to develop and showcase their own reporting and journalism skills.

Collaboration is at the heart of News Now with students encouraged to contribute articles, and critique and share comments with peers from around the world. A series of topic areas and "assignment desks," organized by genre, allow students to publish and learn simultaneously as they create and post their own work alongside that of professional journalists.

News Now provides a safe, collaborative and interactive environment where students can:

  • Read and comment on professional and student-generated news organized by topic areas including World, Sports, Science, Travel, and Lifestyle
  • Access content around media/news literacy to get students thinking about what they are reading with a critical eye
  • Gain critical college and career skills by writing and publishing their own stories to the website, and maintaining a portfolio of work they can share with others
  • Review and analyze different types of journalism with a toolbox that helps them generate hard news, opinion editorials, special interest pieces, and features
  • Participate in assignment desks - thought starters and challenges to help students get inspired

"ePals Learning Centers bring together people, resources and activities on educationally relevant subjects," says ePals President Ed Fish. "Our News Nowjournalism center, combined with the global scope and perspective of ePals provides a unique environment for aspiring young journalists to report on topics that affect them, learn best practices and share perspectives on issues that impact their futures in a connected world."

Source: ePals Corporation, www.epals.com

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Internet@Schools Xtra News: Complete November/December 2012 Internet@Schools Contents Now Available Online—Full Text, Text+Graphics, PDF

The November/December 2012  issue of Internet @ Schools magazine is all there now at our website www.InternetAtSchools.com. In addition to the free November/December reviews and the free full-text cover story (TOOLS FOR LEARNING: The Big Bang--Charting the Expanding Universe of Mobile Education), which have been available since the beginning of the month, now the remaining features, columns, and other November/December content have been processed. Some are free to view. Others are available in a variety of formats -- Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF -- on a pay-to-view basis by way of Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral and ProQuest Archiver.

For access, see the November/December 2012 issue contents HERE, click on any article, and follow the links.

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Alliance for Excellent Education Releases Report: 'The Nation’s Schools Are Stepping Up to Higher Standards'

The Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve education policy, has released a report entitled "The Nation's Schools Are Stepping Up to Higher Standards." Every school, district, and state leader, notes the report, must make critical decisions in the next two years involving digital learning that will shape education for decades.

The report identifies four key challenges that public school district leaders must systemically address in the next two years and outlines the essential elements for developing a comprehensive digital strategy. (Link to an infographic with further detail here: http://www.all4ed.org/criticalchallenges.)

The report and the webinar accompanying its release are the first steps in a major effort by the Alliance to help district leaders make smart, far-reaching decisions about implementing education technology that support teachers and improve student outcomes in K-12 public schools.

The four key challenges identified in the report that all school district leaders need to face include: 1) graduating all students college and career ready; 2) managing shrinking budgets; 3) training and supporting teachers; and 4) dealing with the growing technology needs of society and individual students, especially low-income students and students of color who are most at-risk of being left behind. By employing effective educational strategies that link and improve the "three Ts"-teaching, technology, and use of time-district leaders can create the conditions for whole-school reform and effective instruction, the report finds.

According to the Alliance, many school districts have already stepped up to address these challenges by developing comprehensive plans for digital learning strategies and will serve as examples to others in the next two years, while other districts are in the process of implementing aspects of digital learning. On the other hand, far too many districts have yet to begin preparation.

The major force driving the need to change is the move by all states to raise academic expectations by requiring students to graduate from high school ready for college and a career. For 46 states and the District of Columbia, adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) also requires using technology to prepare students for computer-administered assessments in the 2014-15 school year.

If schools and districts adopt a comprehensive digital learning strategy, says the report, the effective application of technology assists in the implementation of the CCSS by supporting profound changes to teaching and learning. Technology also plays a critical role guiding educational, administrative, budgetary, and policy decisions by providing constant data about student and school performance to educators, parents, students, and policymakers.

The Alliance, which will be partnering with national membership organizations on this initiative, has identified a framework that will provide education leaders in states and school districts with tools to make good decisions about how technology aligns with the goals and vision for their students. This growing effort, which includes access to a team of experts, a self assessment tool, and other resources, will help districts through a comprehensive planning process around seven interconnected areas within the education system where technology and digital learning can maximize the impact on student achievement:

  • academic supports;

  • budget and resources;

  • curriculum and instruction;

  • data systems and online assessments;

  • professional learning;

  • technology and infrastructure; and

  • use of time.

On November 15, the Alliance held a free webinar--to be archived at http://media.all4ed.org/webinar-nov-15-2012--featuring early digital learning adopters who discussed the need for states and school districts to develop plans that incorporate the use of technology in school improvement efforts. State and district leaders are encouraged to view this webinar discussion of the tools and resources district leaders will need to address technology's role in the successful implementation of the CCSS in K-12 public schools.

The complete report is available at www.all4ed.org/files/SteppingUp.pdf.

Source: Alliance for Excellent Education, www.all4ed.org

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StudySync Partners with Pearson's Online Learning Exchange To Offer Social Studies Educators Enhanced Digital Learning Experience

StudySync, the web-based Common Core curriculum from BookheadEd Learning, has partnered with Pearson's Online Learning Exchange (OLE) to deliver a robust collection of social studies content, taking advantage of OLE's unique customizable options.

The partnership will enhance Pearson's Online Learning Exchange's overall course offerings by adding a new set of social studies modules designed to maximize learning outcomes through student engagement. StudySync aligns to the Common Core and engages students in reading and writing across the curriculum through an extensive digital library of hundreds of texts, award-winning multimedia lessons, and proprietary online writing and peer review tools.

A web-delivered academic tool, StudySync offers multimedia lessons designed to increase reading, writing, critical thinking and academic collaboration. The product includes a diverse selection of texts, both fiction and nonfiction, TV-quality video lessons, and customizable writing prompts and assessment rubrics.

Using OLE, social studies teachers will now be able to create customized lessons, access etexts, and quickly search for content from Pearson and curated partners. StudySync's quality materials combined with OLE's unique set of collaboration tools and services will enable social studies teachers to interact with other educators, share experiences, offer up best practices, and engage in real-time conversations, the announcement states.

OLE was created with a vision to offer teachers and students an affordable single destination for finding high quality K-12 content coupled with a powerful set of personalized options and collaboration features.

For more information about Pearson's Online Learning Exchange, visit www.onlinelearningexchange.com. Sign up for a free 30-day trial at www.olecommunity.com/trial.

Source: Pearson, www.pearson.com/; StudySync, www.studysync.com/

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Britannica Launches Online Information Solution for Classrooms

Britannica Digital Learning has announced a comprehensive new online information solution designed for classrooms in grades preK-12. Entitled Britannica School, it provides rich multimedia resources for lessons and lesson planning, curriculum support, student and teacher research and homework help.

The web-based service supersedes Britannica's previous school website, providing a host of features and benefits the company says make it ideal for the digital classroom and for access by parents and teachers at home. It includes a wide range of resources such as encyclopedias, journals and periodicals, atlases, primary sources and multimedia linked to Common Core state standards and tailored to the needs of teachers and students.

With content for all grades, Britannica School is designed to enable students to move to higher or lower reading levels easily and whenever necessary, helping teachers conduct individualized instruction. It works on any digital device, a benefit to schools as they use more mobile devices and students bring their own devices to school.

The product provides an extensive array of up-to-date, texts on all subjects needed to fulfill the new Common Core state standards. It also enables teachers to build lessons around those standards.

Free trials are available to schools, districts and consortiums. Interested educators can call 1-800-621-3900 or go to http://info.eb.com/products/britannica-school/ for more information.

Source: Britannica Digital Learning, http://corporate.britannica.com/

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