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July 09, 2013

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Five ASCD PD Resources to Transform Summer Learning for Educators
Turning Technologies Releases Latest Version of TurningPoint Polling Software
Brain Parade Announces See.Touch.Learn. Site Edition
Jones eGlobal Library Offers Free Digital Library Analysis
Promethean Advances Connected Learning with First Free Multi-Device Education App
New Schoology Features Enhance Blended Learning
Lexia Reading App for iPad Now Available
SunGard K-12 Education Releases eSchoolPLUS 3.0
Gale Expands Nineteenth Century Collections Online Program
Edmentum Unveils New Platform for Targeted Learning
Benesse America Offers StraightAce Learning Middle School-Exclusive Learning System

Free Resources: Five ASCD PD Resources to Transform Summer Learning for Educators

ASCD is offering educators of all levels a selection of five high-impact, in-depth professional development resources at no cost.

These offerings let educators take professional learning into their hands by selecting desired areas for growth and immersing themselves in targeted learning at their own pace. All five are available anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection.

1) ASCD School Improvement Tool—Designed for use in schools and school systems around the world, this online tool offers educators a comprehensive needs assessment as they prepare for the coming year. The tool launches a 15-minute survey that evaluates a school’s strengths and weaknesses in areas of school climate and culture, family and community engagement, curriculum and instruction, and ability to provide and sustain a whole child approach to education. It also recommends targeted resources that will help educators make the most significant schoolwide improvements and ensure all learners are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

2) The EduCore digital tool—This digital tool is a repository of evidence-based strategies, videos, and supporting documents that help educators transition to the Common Core State Standards. Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the tool was developed for U.S. educators implementing the Common Core State Standards in both mathematics and literacy.

3) ASCD’s policy page—This one-stop shop for educators interested in advocacy and education policy offers tips on how to get informed, get involved, and make a difference. Educators can stop by to access ASCD’s legislative agenda (PDF); sign up to receive action alerts; and read ASCD’s policy publications, including the Capitol Connection e-newsletter.

4) Summer Boot Camp Webinar Series —This five-part summer webinar series just kicked off and will run through August. Attendees will hear tips and strategies from renowned ASCD authors including Harvey Silver, Donald Kachur, Mike Fisher, Janet Hale, Wendy Ostroff, and Judy Willis. Featured topics include teacher-led walk-throughs, curriculum, and motivation and engagement from a developmental science perspective. Sessions will be archived for later viewing. The full ASCD webinar archive dates back to May 2010 and features ASCD’s collection of targeted, expert-led webinars.

5) Book study guides and more—ASCD publishes more than 40 education books a year, often offering free study guides and author interviews that enable educators to read between the lines of their favorite professional development publications. ASCD has also released the ASCD for iPad app, which allows for easy reading of ASCD e-books and lets users explore free electronic versions of member benefits like Educational Leadership, Education Update, and Policy Priorities.

“This lineup of free online tools is a perfect starting point for the resourceful educator planning a summer of learning,” said ASCD Executive Director and CEO Dr. Gene R. Carter. “We hope teachers around the world will make the most of this not-to-be-missed opportunity for professional growth.”

To learn more about ASCD's professional development resources and to sign up for free trials of ASCD’s online learning programs, visit www.ascd.org/pd.

Source: ASCD, www.ascd.org

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Turning Technologies Releases Latest Version of TurningPoint Polling Software

Turning Technologies has announced the release of the latest version of flagship product TurningPoint. The new release of TurningPoint is the easiest-to-use and most powerful version to date, offering additional capabilities and an enhanced overall user experience. TurningPoint consolidates the company’s most popular products into one simple interface for polling in PowerPoint on both PC and Mac, polling in any application and self-paced polling.

The latest version of TurningPoint touts a dashboard interface, giving users instant management of polling, participants, content, sessions and reports. Other basic features have been redesigned with specific customer feedback in mind, including the ability to poll natively in PowerPoint for Mac 2011. TurningPoint offers native PowerPoint integration for both PC and Mac with the same user experience. Available in install and no-install versions for both PC and Mac, the newest version of TurningPoint creates a versatile solution for assessment delivery and data collection in any environment.

With the integration of TurningPoint, presentations become engaging, collaborative experiences that involve audiences in real dialogue instead of pure lecture, the announcement states. Participants use handheld response devices, ResponseCard keypads, or Internet-connected devices via a ResponseWare application, to answer questions. Results are instantly displayed on screen and collected in detailed reports for analysis. Offering a multitude of features and simple, familiar interface, TurningPoint has been readily adopted in K-12 classrooms, college and university lecture halls as well as professional meetings and events.

Key features include:

· Poll in Any Environment & Application - same user experience on PC and Mac

· PowerPoint for Mac 2011 Integration - native polling integration for Mac platforms

· One Download for PC or Mac - available in install and no-install versions

· Dashboard Interface - manage polling, participants, content, sessions and reports

· Robust HTML Content Editor - supports pictures, characters and question lists

· Create Content Once - use in all polling environments for easy implementation

· Participant List Editor - simplifies ability to create, import and export lists

· Session Data Manager - toggle views, see points, set benchmarks and scales

· Reporting Engine - customizable views, reports export to .CSV, .XLS and .PDF

· “On-Demand” Integrations - import LMS Participant Lists and “sync” sessions

For more information about TurningPoint, visit www.TurningTechnologies.com.

Source: Turning Technologies, www.TurningTechnologies.com

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Brain Parade Announces See.Touch.Learn. Site Edition

Brain Parade, a developer of learning solutions for children with special needs, has announced the Brain Parade, a developer of learning solutions for children with special needs, has announced the release of See.Touch.Learn. site edition. The company’s visual learning iPad application is available for private implementation in classroom, school and district settings. The package provides training sessions to educators and enables them to share custom content with teaching aides, therapists and parents in their own private school communities. The company’s visual learning iPad application is available for private implementation in classroom, school and district settings. The package provides training sessions to educators and enables them to share custom content with teaching aides, therapists and parents in their own private school communities.


The new See.Touch.Learn. site edition provides a platform for educators and therapists to better communicate with each other, and with parents, by sharing exercises and maintaining a consistent lesson plan for each student. See.Touch.Learn. brings picture card learning into the 21st Century, the announcement states.

The program's lessons combine high-quality images with the interactivity of the iPad, eliminating bulky, expensive flashcards. Additionally, the Brain Parade Community provides the ability to exchange lessons with others, creating a collaborative library of content with more than 350,000 users worldwide.

Based on feedback from users, Brain Parade developed the option to create private communities where teachers can share individualized, custom lessons with others involved in the child’s education plan. It’s another step in the company’s mission to develop innovative technology solutions for children with special needs.

Future capabilities of the application and its online counterpart will enable both teachers and parents to monitor a student’s progress and success, improving communication channels between the home and school settings.

Source: Brain Parade, www.brainparade.com

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Jones eGlobal Library Offers Free Digital Library Analysis

Jones eGlobal Library is offering a free analysis to help education leaders understand how their digital libraries compare to the evolving “Gold Standards” when it comes to developing students’ information literacy skills.

Offered for a limited time, the three-step analysis pairs school leaders with digital library experts from eGlobal Library. After answering a series of questions from Library Solutions Consultants, participants submit their current digital libraries for an extensive review by MLIS degreed librarians. The librarians evaluate the libraries based on:

- Single sign-on capabilities
- Search tools and search functionality
- Relevancy and accuracy of search results
- User interface and ease of navigation
- Student tools

The librarians then provide written analyses, which are delivered to participants by the Library Solutions Consultants. The process of reviewing and analyzing a participant’s library takes between two and three months.

To begin the digital library analysis, school leaders can call 888-235-6637 or visit www.eGlobalLibrary.com/analysis. 

Source: Jones eGlobal Library, www.eGlobalLibrary.com

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Promethean Advances Connected Learning with First Free Multi-Device Education App

Promethean has announced the launch of CoolStreet, a multi-device app for education. With the release of CoolStreet, Promethean demonstrates how a connected learning environment can be created in a mixed digital device classroom. The app allows teachers to take advantage of mobile devices, ActivBoards, ActivTables and laptops to complete a simulation that reinforces basic economic principals through practical application.

CoolStreet engages high-school-age students in a real-world exercise of running a business with the goal to maximize market share and earnings. Players, or students, own pizza shops on the same street and when the game begins, they compete for business against each other during a “Pizza Battle.” The game organizer, or teacher, opens “CoolStreet” for business and play begins.

During the game, players are encouraged to review financial statements, growth charts and operational statistics. With this data, they can make changes to store operations. Each pizza shop is taken “public” and shares of the stock are traded and monitored. Teachers use data captured during the game to reinforce lessons and supplement course content.

CoolStreet is a Windows 8 Store app, and its development was guided by Promethean’s alliance with Microsoft. It can be downloaded for free in the Windows Store under games or by searching for “CoolStreet”.

Source: Promethean, www.PrometheanWorld.com

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New Schoology Features Enhance Blended Learning

Schoology has announced new features that extend its capabilities as a blended learning solution, including deeper integration of learning resources, and improved communication tools and data-driven instruction.

More than two million users at over 40,000 schools and universities use Schoology’s collaborative interface to boost student engagement and streamline curriculum management. The new features include customizable award badges for use in motivating students; a new parent interface to improve communication between parents, students and teachers; and updates to the iOS and Android mobile apps that enhance the use of external media.

In addition, Schoology CEO Jeremy Friedman says, “The most significant new feature for Schoology is Resource Apps. LMS platforms currently treat third-party app content as a separate element that, when accessed, disrupts the user’s workflow. Resource Apps transform third-party content into ‘attachable’ items that can be used in conjunction with existing learning resources. This provides our students and teachers with a better way to use their third-party tools and content, such as SoftChalk and KHAN ACADEMY.”

Streamlined access to third-party content is critical to making blended learning the most effective model it can be. Schoology’s user-centric interface and open integration platform enable educators to deliver digital learning resources in a seamless and engaging way, making blended learning more interactive and personalized.

Schoology will release these new features this summer, in advance of the next school year.

Source: Schoology, www.schoology.com

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Lexia Reading App for iPad Now Available

The Lexia Reading app for iPad is now available on the Apple app store at www.itunes.com/appstore/. The new app from Lexia Learning, a provider of reading instructional technology, allows students to use the Lexia Early Reading and Lexia Primary Reading programs on iPad 2 and higher. This provides students in grades K–3 greater access to the program in tablet-enabled classrooms and computer labs, and extends use outside of the school day in blended learning environments.

Lexia developed Lexia Reading to accelerate reading development for students of all abilities. The predicts which students are unlikely to meet their year-end benchmarks and then provides a customized action plan and instructional resources for teacher-led, direct skill instruction to address specific skill gaps. Each of the age-appropriate, skill-specific activities conforms to the Common Core State Standards and the program delivers systematic, structured support that advances each student to higher levels as they demonstrate proficiency.

In addition to supporting foundational skills development, Lexia Reading includes an embedded assessment feature that can help reduce educators’ dependence on traditional testing methods. This approach, known as Assessment Without Testing, gathers student performance data without administering a test. The norm-referenced measures are correlated to, and highly predictive of, student outcomes on commonly used measures such as DIBELS and AIMSweb, the announcement states. Assessment Without Testing identifies and prioritizes students for small group or individual instruction, providing teachers and intervention specialists with recommended targeted instructional strategies and structured lessons, including the minutes-per-week of software usage each student needs to improve performance on grade-level assessments.

Lexia Reading for the iPad is the latest app innovation from Lexia. In 2011, Lexia launched the powerful myLexia app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The myLexia app gives teachers and administrators the power of Assessment Without Testing in the palm of their hand, with detailed school-wide, classroom-by-classroom and individual student proficiency data.

An iPad app version of Lexia Strategies for Older Students, a program supporting struggling students in grades 4–12, is currently in development with an anticipated launch date of August 31, 2013.

Source: Lexia Reading, www.lexialearning.com

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SunGard K-12 Education Releases eSchoolPLUS 3.0

SunGard K-12 Education has released a new version of its student information system, eSchoolPLUS. Developed in collaboration with school districts nationwide, eSchoolPLUS 3.0 provides a host of new functionality that responds to the needs of 21st-century schools.

eSchoolPLUS 3.0 features a completely redesigned Teacher Access Center, which is the heart of the software solution’s classroom management system. The new Teacher Access Center allows teachers to quickly access information and processes they need and helps them communicate efficiently with parents and school administrators. The software solution’s gradebook is easily customizable and provides tools for rapidly adding new assignments, entering scores, and extracting grades. eSchoolPLUS 3.0 reflects the input of technology leaders and innovators from school districts across the country.

The eSchoolPLUS solution helps educators manage day-to-day student administration, monitor student performance, and facilitate communications between district staff, parents, and students. Part of the PLUS 360 suite, eSchoolPLUS is a recognized industry-leading student information system. It has received Gartner’s highest possible rating and was named to District Administration’s Top 100 products list.

Source: SunGard K-12 Education, www.sungard.com/K12

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Gale Expands Nineteenth Century Collections Online Program

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, has announced the launch of the next four archives in its Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) program, a multi-year global digitization and publishing program that brings together rare primary source materials from the nineteenth century and beyond. The launch of the new archives brings the total number available in the NCCO program to eight, and the total number of collections within the resource to more than 170. Gale partners with more than 80 institutions from around the world to bring NCCO to life, and the list is growing.

The new NCCO archives cover a variety of topics and have been brought together with the help of an expanded advisory board that includes specific subject matter experts. The newly launched NCCO archives include:

* Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest – This archive documents the motivations, activities and results of the European conquest of Africa by bringing together monographs, manuscripts, and newspaper accounts covering key issues of economics, world politics, and international strategy.

* Photography: The World Through the Lens – The invention of photography initiated a mania for explorers, artists, scientists and ordinary people to document their surroundings. This archive assembles collections of photographs, photograph albums, photographically-illustrated books and texts covering remote places, the landscapes of the American West, scientific records of archaeological digs and anthropological studies, police photography, images of war, images of the urban and rural poor, and more. The archive covers the subject from key points of view: photography as a technical process; photography as an art form; photography as documentary evidence; and photography as an information type.

* Science, Technology and Medicine, 1780-1925 – The period is characterized by industrial, technical and social revolution. With a changing society came new approaches to the study of natural history, physics, mathematics, medicine, and public health. This interdisciplinary collection consists primarily of journals and monographs and major topics covered include: electricity and physics, the Darwinian revolution and global reception of evolution, civil engineering, mathematics and the social history of American medicine.

* Women: Transnational Networks – The collection contains information on European and North American movements, but also includes collections from other regions. Using a wide array of primary source documents – serials, books, manuscripts, diaries, reports, and visuals – this archive focuses on issues at the intersection of gender and class from the late eighteenth century to the era of suffrage in the early twentieth century, all through a transnational perspective.

For more information on Nineteenth Century Collections Online, including guided tutorials and a video on the making of the program, visit http://gdc.gale.com/nineteenth-century-collections-online/.

Source: Cengage Learning and Gale, www.cengage.com or www.gale.cengage.com

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Edmentum Unveils New Platform for Targeted Learning

Edmentum has debuted its new student-achievement platform Edmentum Sensei. The platform delivers a real-time picture of student progress by managing performance data from Edmentum’s online learning solutions and providing insightful charts, graphs and other visuals. This gives educators greater visibility into student achievement and enables them to incorporate more data-driven decisions into the learning process.

Educators can use Edmentum Sensei to track student engagement, subject mastery, recent activity, grades and other data in just a few clicks. Information can be monitored at any level – from an individual student or class to a specific grade level or an entire school – to help educators identify needs or patterns, measure growth, and glean insights. Edmentum Sensei is optimized for laptops and mobile devices for “anytime, anywhere” use.

Edmentum Sensei will be available to schools and districts later this year for Edmentum’s Plato Courseware online curriculum and Edmentum Assessments. The platform will eventually encompass all of Edmentum’s prekindergarten through post-secondary online learning solutions.

In addition to automated data collecting and student-progress monitoring, teachers can communicate with students using Edmentum Sensei to answer questions, comment on their work or help them through problems. Teachers also can use it to deliver assignments or assign work to individuals in subject areas they may be struggling with.

Source: Edmentum Inc., www.edmentum.com

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Benesse America Offers StraightAce Learning Middle School-Exclusive Learning System

StraightAce Learning, a digital learning system from Benesse America designed specifically for middle school students, focuses on math and English concepts, resulting in an interactive, multi-platform learning tool that is fully aligned with Common Core State Standards. The learning system prepares students for high school and post-secondary success, and is available on any web-connected device – saving progress between devices for a seamless learning experience.

“StraightAce Learning was created for middle school students and brings 21st Century learning right to their computers, smartphones and tablets,” said Shigeki Matsuo, president of Benesse America. “Our goal is to provide fun and engaging educational tools that prepare students for high school and offer educators more options to track class progress. Teachers can easily incorporate the StraightAce Learning system into classroom activities or use it as an effective homework management tool.”

Benesse America is launching the second module in the English series, StraightAce English: Writing, which enhances 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students’ ability to hone their composition skills. Also aligned with Common Core State Standards, this series focuses on skills such as writing introductions and conclusions, forming and supporting a thesis, editing and revising, and researching.

StraightAce English: Writing joins Grammar and Vocabulary, as well as StraightAce Math. These learning supplements are available on any web-connected device, including personal computers, tablets and mobile devices. The cloud-based system saves progress between devices for a seamless, mobile learning experience for students to learn wherever they are. Teachers are encouraged to use the StraightAce Link for Educators as an effective homework management tool for instant grading and daily progress reports for the whole class.

Currently, Benesse America is offering a free three-month trial pilot of the StraightAce program to educators. For information and to sign up, visit https://straightace.com/iste/.

Source: Benesse America Inc., www.benesse.com

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