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May 08, 2013

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Discovery Education's STEM Camp Curricula
Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey Results Released
Internet@Schools Xtra News: May/June 2013 Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
Sony K-12 Initiative Now Accepting Applications for Education Ambassador Program
Pearson Unveils Updates to WriteToLearn
Shmoop Opens the Doors of Its New 'Math Shack'
ASCD Summer Reading List Identifies 10 Books That Can Transform Teaching and Learning
PBS NewsHour Profiles Innovative STEM Teachers in New Web Series
Edmentum Expands Plato Courseware Curriculum With 30 New Courses

Free Resources: Discovery Education's STEM Camp Curricula

Discovery Education has announced the development of Discovery Education STEM Camp, a series of standards-aligned STEM curricula available at no cost to schools, districts, non-profit organizations and parents. Created for use as part of summer camps, after-school learning opportunities and other educational programs, Discovery Education STEM Camp supports President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign to encourage more students to pursue careers in STEM fields and is designed to keep students inspired and engaged in learning during the summer months and after school.

Created in collaboration with leading educators and launched in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance andSTEMconnector, Discovery Education STEM Camp features hands-on and virtual labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, videos and career connections designed to inspire and engage students in learning about STEM subjects. Launching this summer, STEM Camp will be deployed in conjunction with key partners, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Summer of Learning program and the Chicago Public Schools. STEM Camp is designed to support the grand challenges of science issued by the National Academy of Engineers with curricula built around STEM-related topics of water, urban infrastructure and energy.

Discovery Education STEM Camp is part of Discovery Communications’ “Connect the Dots” campaign, which is designed to help students connect the dots between learning and life. Other initiatives that are part of the campaign include the new science-focused series THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS on Discovery Channel, and a partnership between Science Channel and America’s manufacturers in support of Discovery’s ‘Discover Your Skills’ initiative to inspire STEM learning and careers in the skilled trades, among other programs.

In addition to the development of the Discovery Education STEM Camp, Discovery Education partners with like-minded organizations committed to STEM achievement to bring supplemental curriculum programs to schools at no cost. Some of Discovery Education’s long-term partners include the Siemens Foundation, 3M and America’s Navy. Through programs including the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge and Navy STEM for the Classroom, Discovery Education and its partners empower educators and promote STEM engagement in classrooms around the world.

For more information about Discovery’s “Connect the Dots” campaign and to access the Discovery Education STEM Camp curricula, visit www.discoveryeducation.com/STEM.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com/

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Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey Results Released

Pearson has announced results of the Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey. According to the study, nine in ten of today’s elementary, middle and high school students believe that mobile devices will change the way students learn in the future (92 percent) and make learning more fun (90 percent). The majority (69 percent) of elementary, middle and high school students would like to use mobile devices more in the classroom.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Pearson between January 28 and February 24, 2013 among 2,350 U.S. students, including 500 elementary school (4th-5th grade) students, 750 middle school (6th-8th grade) students, and 1,100 high school (9th – 12th grade) students. The survey also included a national sample of 1,206 college students. The survey of elementary, middle and high school students finds that more than one-third of 4th and 5th graders (36 percent), and a third of middle school students (34 percent), currently owns a tablet. Hispanic students are more likely to own a tablet than non-Hispanics (36 percent Hispanic vs. 30 percent white and 28 percent black). Black (51 percent) and Hispanic (49 percent) students are more likely to own a smartphone than white students (40 percent). Twenty-five percent of all students intend to purchase a tablet within the next six months. Forty-three percent of students own a smartphone, with older students more likely than younger students to own one (56 percent high school, 42 percent middle school, and 19 elementary).

One-third of elementary, middle and high school students said that they have used a tablet for school work this academic year (34 percent have used a full-size tablet and 32 percent have used a small tablet), and 44 percent said they have used a smartphone for school work. Among students who use a tablet for school work, more than half (52 percent) use a device that they own personally, rather than borrow from the school.

The Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey was conducted to better understand how students use mobile technology for learning. The survey focused on how students use the mobile devices they currently own for learning, and how they would like to use those devices in the future. It asked students from grade 4 through college about the mobile devices that they own and intend to buy; how they currently use mobile devices for school work and how they expect to use them in the future; and their attitudes towards tablets for learning.

The study showed that how many students want to use tablets in school varies by grade level. Two-thirds of elementary (76 percent) and middle school (75 percent) students say that they would like to use mobile devices more often in class, compared to 61 percent of high school students and only 43 percent of college students. Students also said that they want to do more schoolwork activities with full-size tablets rather than with small tablets. For example, 70 percent of elementary, middle and high school students want to use a full-size tablet to do homework, compared to 53 percent who want to use a small tablet for the same activity. Elementary and middle school students are more likely than high school students to want to use full-size tablets for doing homework (77 percent elementary, 72 percent middle school, 65 percent high school), while older students are more likely to want to use tablets to check class schedules (45 percent high school, 38 percent middle school, and 28 percent elementary) and take notes in class (52 percent high school, 47 percent middle school, 40 percent elementary).

Source: Pearson, www.pearsoned.com/

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Internet@Schools Xtra News: May/June 2013 Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the May/June 2013 issue of Internet@Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to the cover story, The Etext Revolution: Rewriting the Textbook Model, plus to all the May/June reviews.

Check out the full May/June 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 May/June 2013 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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Sony K-12 Initiative Now Accepting Applications for Education Ambassador Program

Sony Electronics has announced it is expanding its K-12 Education Ambassador program, and inviting educators to submit applications to join its team of advocates for classroom technology. Interested educators are encouraged to download the application from the Sony Education Ambassador community website, a free online destination that provides solutions for educators looking to implement technology in the classroom and fosters dialogue about how technology can enhance student learning.

Since its launch, Sony’s Education Ambassador community has built a comprehensive library of over 100 resources made for educators, by educators. The selected ambassadors will receive a Sony Xperia Tablet Z and travel and lodging for an orientation session at the International Society of Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) in San Antonio in June. As part of the SEA team, the selected ambassadors will be asked to contribute content to the community website about how to leverage classroom technology.

The Sony K-12 Education Initiative focuses on helping schools easily integrate devices into the classroom, allowing teachers and administrators to better harness the power of tablet and mobile technologies for education. The program not only includes access to tablets and other devices at special pricing, but also provides schools with additional services and support needed for long-term success. The 360-degree solution includes support such as a real-time, online community where resources are continuously updated by a network of distinguished educators, software to manage and protect devices and information, user training and tailored programs for districts and schools.

Applications will be accepted until May 24. To apply, educators should download an application at the Sony Education Ambassador community website.

For more information, to submit inquiries or to access education resources, please visit www.educationambassador.com.

Source: Sony Electronics Education Ambassador Program, www.educationambassador.com/

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Pearson Unveils Updates to WriteToLearn

Pearson has unveiled major updates to WriteToLearn that take its support for Common Core learning to a higher level.

With WriteToLearn, students build the literacy skills outlined in the new Common Core State Standards by practicing essay writing and summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by Pearson’s Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine. Now with nearly 60 new Common Core-aligned argumentative writing prompts in WriteToLearn, students are challenged to think critically, a core skill delineated in the Common Core State Standards, while developing the writing and reading comprehension skills required by the more rigorous learning goals.

WriteToLearn introduces engaging Visual Writing Prompts across all grade-levels and types, including argumentative, allowing students to make a visual connection to the topic they are being asked to write about. For example, the prompt, "Explain the educational importance of a field trip to an amusement park," is accompanied by a photograph of a roller coaster, sparking students' creative juices and helping them take their writing to a deeper level.

Earlier in 2013, WriteToLearn added Pearson’s text complexity measure, the Reading Maturity Metric, to its nearly 1,000 informational reading passages along with Common Core State Standards’ text complexity grade bands. This additional information is now available to teachers to help them select the most appropriate readings for their students using Common Core criteria. The Reading Maturity Metric offers 30 percent improvement over previous reading formulas.

Source: Pearson, www.pearsonassessments.com

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Shmoop Opens the Doors of Its New 'Math Shack'

Shmoop, a publisher of digital curriculum and test prep, is now offering a new SAT Math practice tool. Math Shack features more than 200 types of problems that will hone a user’s skills in all test areas—Numbers and Operations, Algebra and Functions, Geometry and Measurement, and Statistics and Probability.

Every problem comes with hints and detailed explanations of the answer, so that if a student didn’t know what in the world they were doing before they started the problem, they will when they’re done. There is also a tracking feature that maintains stats on a student’s progress, and shows them the areas where they may still need work. And it’s guaranteed not to laugh and point and mock the user for any wrong answers.

Math Shack is something like a dojo, a gym, or a training center where one can go to bulk up on smarts. By the time a student leaves, their brain will be absolutely ripped.

Once inside Shmoop’s regular SAT product, Math Shack is instantly accessible. A user can simply jump back and forth between the two as they pump their noggin full of formulas and variables. A student can learn a concept in Shmoop’s SAT Math test prep section, then head immediately over to Math Shack to test out their newfound knowledge on a handful of sample problems. It’s a funky little shack.

Source: Shmoop, www.shmoop.com

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ASCD Summer Reading List Identifies 10 Books That Can Transform Teaching and Learning

ASCD has assembled a diverse list of books essential to educators who seek to improve their practice over the summer months.

These books—organized by how they help educators transform teaching and learning—offer readers the opportunity to dive deep into the hottest topics in education, including using data to focus improvement, project-based learning, child development, and neurodiversity. All books are currently available in paperback and ebook formats.

Focus on Results

  1. Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom—Veteran teacher Mark Barneswalks middle and high school teachers through fundamentals of results-only learning, which eliminates traditional practices of homework, worksheets, tests, and grades and replaces them with student-driven, yearlong projects.

  2. Using Data to Focus Instructional Improvement—Experienced educators Cheryl James-Ward, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp offer simple instructions that help focus school improvement efforts and result in increased teacher expertise.

Expand a Crucial Skill Set

  1. Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding—The creators of the Understanding by Design framework, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, provide practical guidance on how to design, initiate, and embed inquiry-based teaching and learning in the classroom.

  2. Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life—Best-selling author Thomas Armstrong argues that we should embrace strengths of students with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders.

  3. Assignments Matter: Making the Connections That Help Students Meet Standards—Seasoned teacher coach and curriculum design expert Eleanor Dougherty demystifies and streamlines assignment-making and helps educators prepare for the Common Core State Standards.

Get Inspired

  1. Overcoming Textbook Fatigue: 21st Century Tools to Revitalize Teaching and Learning—ReLeah Cossett Lent, former educator and founding member of a statewide literacy project, shows how to reclaim the curriculum by shifting the textbook from sole source to resource.

  2. When Teaching Gets Tough: Smart Ways to Reclaim Your Game—Seasoned educator Allen N. Mendler shares accessible tips to use when challenged by different aspects of teaching: working with difficult students, feeling underappreciated, and beyond.

Translate Research into Practice

  1. Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom—Cognitive psychology expert Wendy L. Ostroff offers a developmental science approach to key components of children's learning—motivation, attention, memory, cognition, and action.

Examine Practices from Top Education Systems

  1. A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation—International education expert Vivien Stewart shares best practices for developing and maintaining a high-quality teaching profession and discusses implications of global trends.

Sharpen Leadership Skills

  1. 100+ Ways to Recognize and Reward Your School Staff—Former superintendent Emily E. Houck provides school administrators with practical, easy-to-use, and inexpensive ways to reward and recognize the efforts of their staff.

To learn more about ASCD's books program or to read sample chapters from past books, visit www.ascd.org/books.

Source: ASCD, www.ascd.org

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PBS NewsHour Profiles Innovative STEM Teachers in New Web Series

As part of its STEM coverage, and extensive coverage of educational issues in the U.S, PBS NewsHour is launching a multi-part web series profiling innovative STEM teachers from across the country.

The first profile in that series is has been posted as part of PBS NewHour's Science Wednesday coverage. The short video is of Jerriel Hall, a teacher in Leckie Elementary in southwest D.C., a school where 92% of students receive free or reduced lunches. To prepare his students for standardized tests and review material, he turns his classroom into a fictional space several times a year. When PBS NewHour was there, he had created a foreign planet, with all the kids being cadets who had to solve problems in order to get their spaceship back in working order to return to Earth. He himself took on the role of alien ambassador. At other times, the classroom has been an ER, a restaurant or a beach.

Science reporter Rebecca Jacobson was inspired to start the series in January after profiling two 5th grade math teachers who used dance to teach their students about patterns. The segment, "How Math Got Its Groove Back," was the 7th most popular on our site that week. Seeing the enthusiasm of the classroom and the interest of our audience inspired Rebecca to expand the project, which will be reporting on elementary, middle and high school teachers across the country.

Upcoming profiles in this monthly series include that of a New York City high school chemistry teacher who is having her students figure out how to distill biofuel, and an Elizabeth City, North Carolina teacher who uses a wetland to train his students as free-range observers.

Each week, PBS NewsHour Science Wednesdays highlights science news on its program and website. Also check out Lunch in the Lab for regular coverage of unusual science stories, discoveries and innovations.

Special funding for PBS NewsHour STEM reporting comes from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the S.D. Bechtel Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Source: PBS NewHours, www.pbs.org/newshour/

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Edmentum Expands Plato Courseware Curriculum With 30 New Courses

Edmentum has announced the availability of 30 new semesters of its Plato Courseware standards-based online curriculum. With the addition of these 30 new semesters, Edmentum has increased its Plato Courseware secondary library by 17 percent and its individual middle school and high school libraries by 30 percent. Across all 8-12 grade curriculum, Edmentum now offers 179 semesters of Plato Courseware content.

Educators can customize the Plato Courseware curriculum to their own needs. Not only does this ensure educators meet state and Common Core standards, but it also ensures a deep alignment to their district-required objectives. The program is highly flexible and can be implemented in a lab setting, virtual experience or through a blended learning environment that incorporates a combination of online and traditional classroom courses. Educational experts from Edmentum also help with training for the programs, as well as the implementation of programs specific to each classroom.

The new courses are now available. For more information, visit www.edmentum.com.

Source: Edmentum Inc., www.edmentum.com

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