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October 22, 2013

Table of Contents

Follett Offers New Release of Destiny Library Management System
Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education Accepting Applications for Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) and Siemens STEM Institute Programs
SETDA Releases Tools for Next Generation Standards Alignment of Digital Education Resources
Shmoop Launches College 101 Updates To Help Students With 2013-2014 College Admissions Process
Lectora Launches New, Quick-Deploying Learning Management System
Discovery Education and 3M Announce 2013 Science Competition Winners

Follett Offers New Release of Destiny Library Management System

The new release of Follett’s library management system, Destiny, will provide users with several key enhancements, including an improved ebook experience and increased integration between Destiny Library Manager and Titlewave, Follett’s collection development, curriculum support, and online ordering tool.

With the new 11.5 release, students and teachers will recognize a smoother, improved experience when searching, opening and reading ebooks. The improved Destiny Library Manager/Titlewave integration also will allow library staff to easily see suggested or recommended titles on Titlewave.

Other Destiny Library Manager 11.5 highlights include:

? increased personal and public “Resource List” capabilities, offering increased functionality for collaboration and curation of materials;

? a new district home page that allows larger customers to better share resources and news, and provide access to Destiny at their schools;

? improved searching in WebPath Express with an easier way to browse topics; and

? a link to the new Follett Community, a new professional learning community designed exclusively for educators.

The new 11.5 version also offers book cover viewing when checking books in or out to support self-service and improved accuracy.

In addition, Destiny Asset Manager will now provide a help ticketing system and new Dashboard Reports, while Destiny Textbook Manger will allow customers to cancel warehouse orders, run reports on open orders by title, and summarize textbook checkouts by teacher name, period and textbook user.


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Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education Accepting Applications for Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) and Siemens STEM Institute Programs

The Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education, along with their partner Oak Ridge Associated Universities, have announced they will begin accepting applications for the 2014 Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) and Siemens STEM Institute programs two months early.

Educators from across the country can submit an application to attend one of the prestigious professional development programs offered next summer. The STARs program selects 40 educators to attend one of two programs held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for two weeks to study and conduct research with some of the country’s top scientists. The Siemens STEM Institute selects 50 educators from around the nation to attend a hands-on, immersion program promoting STEM education at the Discovery Communications headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. These programs are part of the Siemens STEM Academy, a national professional development community designed to advance the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States.

For the two prestigious STARs professional development programs, 40 educators will work in small groups and collaborate with scientific teams from world-renowned labs to conduct individually designed research projects that will give them real-world experience they can bring back to their classrooms. In the past during these in-depth research experiences, STARs fellows have tackled a variety of STEM project topics, including the production, characterization and uses of nano-particles, examining the thermal performance of building materials and studying neutron scattering techniques.

The 2014 STARs programs will take place June 8-20, 2014 and July 20-August 1, 2014 – both at ORNL. In addition to the two-week, hands-on learning experience, each teacher will receive a grant to purchase equipment and/or supplies for their classroom.

The Siemens STEM Academy also offers the Siemens STEM Institute, a unique, week-long program that promotes real-world integration of STEM principles into the classroom. Occurring August 3-8, 2014, the select group of 50 middle and high school educators from across the country will attend an intensive professional development experience at the global headquarters of Discovery Communications located just outside of Washington, D.C. The Fellows will be exposed to leading scientists, thought leaders, personalities and innovators whose work across STEM disciplines shape and define our world today. In the past, STEM Institute Fellows have heard from guest speakers, including Dr. Roosevelt Johnson, deputy associate administrator for education at NASA and Camsie McAdams, senior advisor on STEM Education, Department of Education; have taken field trips to leading institutions of STEM innovation, such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum and engaged in discussions with executives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on opportunities for educators to enhance classroom teaching techniques.

The call for applications for the STEM Academy programs is now open through February 4, 2014. Educators across the country can apply for the 2014 STARs programs or the 2014 Siemens STEM Institute by visiting

Source: The Siemens Foundation,; Discovery Education,

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SETDA Releases Tools for Next Generation Standards Alignment of Digital Education Resources

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has released technical documentation to assist state and district education leaders, publishers, and educational software developers with ensuring high-quality alignment of digital K-12 education resources to academic content standards, such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

State-adopted academic content standards set forth expectations for what students should know and be able to do in core academic subjects and serve as the foundation for assessment development, instructional materials adoption, teacher professional development, and curriculum implementation in K-12 education. Despite the critical importance of standards alignment of education resources to school reform and improvement efforts and repeated calls for greater attention to that process, there remain significant challenges to the rigor, transparency, and usefulness of most current approaches to standards alignment.

“The shift to greater use of digital resources in education provides an important opportunity to address longstanding frustrations with the quality of standards alignment in education,” said Douglas Levin, SETDA executive director. “In adopting standards for what students should know and be able to do, states should further require that information on the alignment of education resources to those standards be rigorous, transparent, useful, and freely available to educators and the public.”

The resources released by SETDA provide recommendations for how the CCSS could be digitally encoded to support the transparent high-quality alignment of education resources to those standards, including an approach to encoding state-adopted extensions of the CCSS. While focused on the CCSS, the proposed approach is broadly applicable to the digital encoding of any learning standard.

To access the released technical documentation, please visit:

Source: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA),

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Shmoop Launches College 101 Updates To Help Students With 2013-2014 College Admissions Process

For high school seniors, October is also now synonymous with looming college application deadlines. Early decision applications are due in November and FAFSA becomes available in January, which means college bound seniors need to start shaping up their essays, test scores, and grades. Shmoop has launched its newly revamped College 101 just in time to take students through this all-important decision.

Shmoop’s updated sections now feature a newly-updated College Essay Lab, checklists for every step of the admissions process, financial aid advice, and a ‘mad libs’ style assessment quiz that recommends relevant articles for you.

College Essay Lab

Shmoop’s new College Essay Lab is designed to prevent “writer's block” from happening for students, whether it’s warming up their creative juices with dozens of brainstorming exercises and personal statement examples, or narrowing down their focus so their essay really shines in front of those stone-faced admissions officers. All essay prompts are also adjusted to include the 2013 - 2014 Common Application prompts so students can actually use it when it’s time for the real thing!

Master Checklists

Shmoop has checklists by grade level written by students and experts who provide excellent guidance. For the more imminent tasks related to college admissions, students of all ages can take a look at the Senior Year Checklist to see what standardized tests to take, what the top deciding factors for choosing a college are, or what the the difference between early action vs. regular admissions is. After all that work is done, they’ll finally be able to check off the last item on the list after they’re admitted: how to prepare for college!

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Once students complete these steps, they’re ready to ask the question - how much does it really cost to go to college? What is the difference between grants, loans, and scholarships and how can they get one? Shmoop gives the real deal with the Real Costs of College page and lays down a comprehensive guide to teach students how to hack the FAFSA, apply for financial aid, and apply to more scholarships than you can dream of (there’s even one for designing the best duct tape prom dress). Shmoop even has a section on how to be smart with money once students are actually in college so they don't go broke buying energy drinks to pull all-nighters.

Shmoop’s College Assessment

If students are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, Shmoop’s created a fun, ‘madlibs’ style fill-in-the-blank quiz that personalizes and recommends content to help them on their totally clutch collegiate campaign. Whether students are juniors who want to get recruited for Division 1 fencing or a freshman who is freaking out, the quiz helps them get organized, narrow down their focus, and generate relevant recommended articles that will help them figure out that pesky future business in no time at all.

Students can get started on the college journey by visiting today!

Source: Shmoop,

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Lectora Launches New, Quick-Deploying Learning Management System

Lectora has just launched Lectora Express, a new on-demand learning management system. This new cloud-based LMS allows users to easily host, deliver and track e-Learning content in just minutes.

The new Lectora Express provides several easy-to-use features, including:

  • Quick and Easy Setup – Users can set up and configure Lectora Express in minutes. All content is hosted on Lectora servers, including video, documents and presentations.

  • Fast Content Sharing – Users can quickly deploy formal and informal learning across their organization, from graded AICC/SCORM e-Learning content to video and Web-based content.

  • Simple Tracking – Lectora Express tracks content views and completion status. It generates graphical reports to show content popularity, views and ratings.

To learn more about Lectora Express and for a link to the full list of features, please visit check out this video at

Source: Lectora,

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Discovery Education and 3M Announce 2013 Science Competition Winners

Discovery Education and 3M have named 11-year-old Peyton Robertson from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., winner of the 2013 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for his innovative sandbag design. Every year, millions of dollars of damage are incurred due to salt-water flooding, with the most recent claims being made during last year’s Hurricane Sandy. This prototype aims to help better protect flood zones against salt-water damage from future storms. Robertson, a sixth grader at Stanford University’s Middle School, competed alongside nine other finalists yesterday during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn., and was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” $25,000 and a trip to Costa Rica from Discovery Student Adventures.

To download hi-res images and b-roll footage of the science competition, go to

Over the past three months, Robertson and the other finalists had the exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M Scientist as they created their personal innovation as part of a summer mentorship program. The 3M Scientists provided guidance to the finalists as they developed their ideas from a theoretical concept into an actual prototype that would help solve a problem in everyday life.

During the final competition, the finalists shared their completed innovations with a panel of distinguished judges. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the 10 finalists competed in two additional challenges where they were asked to: 1) combine multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions; and 2) build a machine designed to turn on a light bulb using science and engineering principles. Finalists were evaluated on their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology. Chris Jacobs, on-air host from Velocity Network, served as master of ceremonies for the awards banquet.

The remaining nine finalists also received a variety of prizes from Discovery Education and 3M. The second, third and fourth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures to Costa Rica. These extraordinary students are:

  • Brooke Martin from North Central High School in Spokane, Wash. received second place for her innovative device – the iCPooch - that lets pet owners video chat and give their pets a treat while away from home.

  • Srijay Kasturi, a home-school student from Reston, Va., received third place for his innovation that helps the visually impaired detect objects in their path.

  • Daniel Culver from Montrose High School in Montrose, Colo. received fourth place for his innovative indoor cook stove design that greatly reduces harmful CO2 emissions.

The fifth through tenth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a $500 gift card from Discovery Experiences, which offers first-hand, memorable adventures they see and learn about on Discovery's networks. These finalists include:

  • Reeny Botros, homeschooled in Wichita, Kans.

  • Anish Chaluvadi, from Southside High School in Simpsonville, S.C.

  • Tim DeMember, from Windsor Knolls Middle School in Monrovia, Md.

  • Katie Hudek, homeschooled in Grafton, Mass.,

  • Edward Kim, from Midway High School in Waco, Tex.

  • Aishani Sil, from Rice Middle School in Plano, Tex.

For more information on the 2013 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and to learn more about this year’s finalists, go to

About the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

As the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade 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 would impact an everyday problem related to how we live, how we work or how we play. In addition to the 10 finalists, 34 students were selected as state merit winners in this year’s competition and received their own 3M Innovation Prize Package.

Source: Discovery Education,

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