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November 05, 2013

Table of Contents

Make It @ Your Library Launches, Connecting Librarians With Makerspace Projects and DIY Resources
Nepris Service Connects STEM Professionals, Students, and Curriculum
Cool Links: About Google's Launch of Connected Classrooms
Knovation Launches Professional Learning Program Leveraging netTrekker
Gale Launches Innovative Purchase Model for Ebooks
Lumosity Education Access Program Provides Free Cognitive Training to 14,000 Students Worldwide
Gale Virtual Reference Library Continues to Grow with the Addition of Nearly 200 New Ebooks from Encyclopaedia Britannica
Scholastic's Common Sense for Common Core Website Upgraded

Make It @ Your Library Launches, Connecting Librarians With Makerspace Projects and DIY Resources

In collaboration with and the American Library Association, Make It @ Your Library has introduced, a new website tailored to librarians interested in implementing makerspace projects in their libraries. Fully searchable, Make It @ Your Library connects users to projects, based on library-specific search criteria.

“Since around 2011, ‘makerspaces’ have really become a buzzword in libraries. Everyone is talking about them. A common misperception is that makerspaces require the purchase of high cost items like 3D printers, or the installation of full workshops. This site will cut down on librarian anxiety,” said Victoria Rakowski, assistant director of youth services at Lisle Library District.

“We created for people to explore, document and share projects they are passionate about,” said Eric Wilhelm, founder of and director of communities at Autodesk. “Hands-on experience is key to unlocking that passion. Make it @ Your Library is a great opportunity for people to start making things and learn through doing. We’re thrilled to offer our extensive DIY content to this nationwide educational endeavor.” is an online DIY community for people over age 13 to make and share their projects, ideas and how-to information. DIY projects posted to include such categories as technology, crafts, home improvement, art, cooking and more. With its link to the new site, librarians can identify and select DIY projects that are cost-, age- and content-appropriate for specific communities.

Make It @ Your Library, with Web development by Sean Fitzpatrick of LIS Host, aids librarians in identifying maker projects and classifies them by several elements including tools and space needed, age level, category, cost and time needed for the project.

? “Tools and Space,” adapted from the research of a leading member of the Maker movement Travis Good, defines the type of space (classroom, workshop, garage) and tools (household tools, robotics, power tools) that the project requires.

? “Age Level” defines the appropriate age of the project. The age categories are broad: “0-10” “11-18” or “Adult.” Users can choose all three options to identify any “all ages” projects.

? “Category” defines the character of the completed project. Options for categories include Workshop, Living, Outside, Play, Technology and Food.

? “Cost” will help librarians to determine the price per person of each project. Options range from “Less than $5 per person” to “More than $20 per person.” This search option will allow librarians to estimate a budget for the project, including cost of materials to create the project.

? “Time per Project” defines the estimated amount of time a project will take. Options include “Less than 1 Hour,” “1-2 Hours,” “2-3 Sessions,” and “More than 3 sessions.” This search option will allow librarians to determine the amount of labor and scheduling needed to implement a project or program.

Library makerspaces are opening across the Chicago area. Examples include the Maker Lab at the Chicago Public Library and the Idea Box at the Oak Park Public Library. CPL’s Maker Lab includes 3D software, 3D printing, laser cutters, a milling machine and a vinyl cutter. The lab offers free workshops, open lab hours and demonstrations. A different kind of space, the Idea Box at OPPL promotes experimentation, tinkering and participatory learning by changing out interactive exhibits every month in the library. Past exhibits included themes that allow patrons to discuss their experiences in travel, camping, and wishes.

Make It @ Your Library, initially developed as part of ILEAD USA, was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant. The site helps librarians realize makerspace projects in their communities. Through this site, libraries of all stripes and sizes will be able to experiment with maker projects. Make it @ Your Library believes that content creation in the library is a vital direction for our libraries to pursue and that maker projects don’t need to be the result of thousands of dollars of space renovation, equipment or special staffing.

Source: Make It @ Your Library,

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Nepris Service Connects STEM Professionals, Students, and Curriculum

Nepris has announced its solution for boosting STEM education, bringing students face-to-face with STEM professionals who serve as role models and excite students about jobs where they might be designing airplanes, curing diseases, building computers or working in an endless array of other fascinating areas.

Nepris connects students and their teachers with professionals who work in STEM careers through the power of the Web. Nepris web-enabled video chat sessions are live and highly interactive. The professionals engage students with interesting discussions, ask students questions, and show them products, design plans, and videos. For example, in a recent session with engineers at General Motors, students saw how pneumatics is used in assembling cars. By the end, students could see direct connections between what they learned in class and the cars they drive. 

Nepris makes these connections possible in a way that ensures educational standards are being met while giving teachers control of time, place, and speaker, the announcement states. Companies have a reliable platform for employees to interact with students and represent their brand. Teachers also can tie each session outline to the Common Core or to individual state curriculum standards, which has already made Nepris a sought-after pilot program.

Several Texas schools are already using Nepris and the students are getting fired up about STEM careers. When Shane Smith, instructional technology coordinator at Irving Independent School District in Texas was asked about Nepris he said, “Connecting outside the classroom adds relevance and meaning to the curriculum.” 

To sign up for Nepris as a professional or teacher, or to see a demo, visit See Nepris in action and read comments from teachers at

Source: Nepris,

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Cool Links: About Google's Launch of Connected Classrooms

Google has passed the word EVERYWHERE that it just launched Connected Classrooms, “a program to connect K-12 teachers with the resources to provide virtual field trips and exchanges through Google+."

More from Google's note to us at Internet@Schools:

Connected Classrooms provides teachers with:

• A single library of educational Hangouts* so busy teachers can explore a calendar of past and upcoming virtual field trips happening on Google+ and watch them with their classroom

• A Google+ Community to bring educators together to collaborate on virtual field trips and share best practices for implementing digital tools in the classroom.

• Regular training sessions to learn how to get the most out of Google+ from Google Certified Teachers and the Google+ team

*Hangouts On Air allow you to have a video conversation with up to 10 participants and broadcast that conversation publicly for people to watch live via Google+ and YouTube.  

HERE's a link to what Google said, and showed via video.

Within hours, tech news and ed tech news outlets posted first impressions, which you can skim via a Google search (then wait a bit for further, deeper covereage, here and elsewhere!).

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Knovation Launches Professional Learning Program Leveraging netTrekker

Knovation has launched a new professional learning program for districts using netTrekker, Knovation’s flagship solution that delivers its digital resource library. The new professional learning program is available in many formats: online, interactive webinars, onsite sessions or custom packages. Participants will learn how to maximize the use of digital content to better address the new requirements and the depth and rigor of the Common Core State Standards.

The professional learning workshops leverage netTrekker’s recently updated digital resource library, redesigned interface and new, more friendly user experience. In addition to a netTrekker refresher session, specific sessions focus on English Language Arts and Mathematics. The English Language Arts session covers topics such as balancing informational and literacy texts, the staircase of text complexity and academic vocabulary, while the Mathematics session helps educators learn strategies to increase focus, build coherence and raise the level of rigor in lessons. Professional learning outcomes of the sessions include:

English Language Arts

· Quickly locate and share standards-aligned literary and informational texts at a variety of complexity levels

· Help students increase comprehension and gain confidence by expanding their vocabulary and making more complex text accessible with literacy support and reference tools

· Elevate the rigor and quality of instruction by creating cross-curricular lessons that utilize informational text such as ebooks, primary source documents, interactive media, articles and reference materials


· Narrow the scope of content and take students deeper into learning, helping them recognize math as a unified set of related concepts

· Support vertical learning progressions by accessing resources across grade levels to build on foundational knowledge

· Support student’s conceptual understanding and procedural skills of math, and their application in the real world

The various sessions are available for specific grade levels including Elementary (K-5), Middle (6-8) and High school (9-12). From now through December 31, Knovation is offering special pricing packages including two-hour online sessions for up to 10 participants for $995.00. Full-day, on-site sessions for up to 20 people are also available for $2,495.00 (including travel).

Source: Knovation,

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Gale Launches Innovative Purchase Model for Ebooks

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, has announced an innovative new purchase option – a Usage-Driven Acquisition (UDA) model – for its Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) ebook platform. Unlike options currently offered by other ebook providers, this new purchase model will allow libraries to purchase ebooks based on actual usage, allowing libraries to perform evidence-based collection development. GVRL delivers reference content and series non-fiction titles to all types of libraries.

Customers interested in the UDA model will make an upfront deposit (minimums apply) and will get complete access to the full line of Gale and Gale imprint e-titles, roughly 2,000 titles, for six months. At the end of the six month period, ebooks with the greatest usage will be automatically added permanently to the library’s GVRL collection and deducted from the library’s initial deposit. As with GVRL’s traditional purchase model, once an ebook is purchased, libraries have unlimited, simultaneous use of the title. Gale is also working directly with third party publishers to incorporate their titles into this program.

Named “Best Overall Database” by the readers of Library Journal magazine in 2012, GVRL offers user-friendly features such as an interface available in more than 30 languages, ReadSpeaker technology (text-to-speech functionality) for 19 languages, article translation capability, a multi-page viewer for a traditional book-like experience, and the ability to download articles as PDFs to ereaders or MP3 players for offline access. Gale also offers free promotional help including advertising and search tools for embedding within the library website, MARC records and other customizable marketing resources.

For more information on Gale Virtual Reference Library and the UDA purchase model, please visit‎ or For questions, contact Kristina Massari at

Source: Cengage Learning/Gale, or

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Lumosity Education Access Program Provides Free Cognitive Training to 14,000 Students Worldwide

Lumosity, a cognitive training and neuroscience research company, has provided free Lumosity subscriptions to over 14,000 students in 500 classrooms worldwide through the Lumosity Education Access Program (LEAP). The program has grown exponentially since launching in 2010. More than 7,400 educators applied for the Fall 2013 semester – a 700 percent increase from last year. Over 9,500 educators worldwide have applied for LEAP since its inception.

LEAP is a collaboration between educators and Lumosity researchers to advance the intersection of education and cognitive neuroscience research. The program provides educators with a research platform, including free Lumosity subscriptions that give students access to the full suite of online brain training games, to study the effects of cognitive training on student’s learning abilities, behavioral characteristics, and academic performance. The approach is twofold; LEAP findings provide insights into the benefits of cognitive training in the classroom, which in turn guides the development of better neuroscience research and training tools.

Preliminary results from the Spring 2012 semester found that students who trained with Lumosity improved more on a battery of online cognitive assessments than students who did not train. Additionally, effects were dose-dependent; engaging in more Lumosity training led to greater improvements on the assessments. Insights from the 2012-13 LEAP academic year on the effects of cognitive training on students’ real-world academic outcomes are forthcoming.

The deadline to apply for the Spring 2014 semester is Nov. 8, 2013. Educators interested in participating in LEAP can determine their eligibility and fill out the initial LEAP interest application at

Source: Lumosity,

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Gale Virtual Reference Library Continues to Grow with the Addition of Nearly 200 New Ebooks from Encyclopaedia Britannica

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, has announced the addition of nearly 200 new children’s reference titles from publisher Encyclopaedia Britannica to its Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) ebook platform. GVRL delivers reference content and series non-fiction from more than 100 publishers to all types of libraries. The addition of these new titles brings the total ebooks available on the platform to more than 8,000, with over 500 from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The new titles are geared toward students in pre-Kindergarten through grade 6 and support Gale’s efforts to provide additional educational content for early literacy in the public and school library markets. The titles cover multiple series and topics – from machines and American symbols and landmarks to color and number concepts, math and science topics and social skills (honesty, sharing, not being a bully), which can aid in community or school programing. Several titles are also available in English/Spanish and Spanish-only.

Encyclopaedia Britannica titles will be available in GVRL in the coming weeks. For more information on Gale Virtual Reference Library or to request a free trial, please visit

Source: Cengage Learning and Gale, or

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Scholastic's Common Sense for Common Core Website Upgraded

Scholastic has announced the upgrade and redesign of its Common Core State Standards website for teachers, school leaders and parents, called “Common Sense for Common Core.” The enhanced site offers expert videos focusing on Common Core themes, an easy-to-use product finder tool, grade-leveled book lists for nonfiction and literature, and access to expert advice to help teachers and administrators implement the Common Core at school and parents encourage learning at home.

As part of the site redesign, Scholastic has brought together a number of authors and teachers to validate the resources that will best serve users’ needs. The site also provides access for educators and parents to some of the leading experts on Common Core instruction and leadership – from Dr. Ruth Culham, President of The Culham Writing Company, to Dr. David Dockterman, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Chief Architect of Learning Sciences at Scholastic, to Dr. Elfrieda Hiebert, President and CEO of TextProject, Inc.

Highlights of the site,, include:

Expert Videos – Educational videos from leading experts and authors covering such topics as text complexity and growth mindset are available for access anytime. Videos include:

? Meredith and David Liben, Why Text Complexity Matters

? Phyllis C. Hunter, Helping All Children Become Successful Readers

? Andrea and Brian Pinkney, Creativity in the Common Core Classroom

? Dr. David Dockterman, Fostering a Growth Mindset in Struggling Students

Get Answers – A team of 17 expert educators specializing in technology, writing, math, early literacy and special education will answer questions about the Common Core from parents, teachers and administrators. Experts include Pam Allyn, Executive Director of LitLife & LitWorld, Dr. Julie Washington, Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Education at Georgia State University, and Sue Gendron, Senior Fellow at the International Center for Leadership Education (ICLE). All questions will be archived and posted for future reference. Questions can include: “Where can I get paired literary and nonfiction texts that will interest my high schooler?” and “My fourth grade son needs more practice with his math skills. I know that he has to do more to improve, but how can I prevent him from becoming frustrated?”

Nonfiction and Literature Book Lists – Sortable Common Core book lists for grades K-12, curated by librarians and reading experts, help teachers go beyond the “exemplars” in Appendix B of the Common Core and find nonfiction text types arranged according to themes and a literature list arranged according to genres – from historical fiction to poetry to drama.

Improved Product Finder – Research-based programs that will help students develop the reading comprehension and fluency skills needed to be college and career ready and to thrive in an ever-changing world. Scholastic’s Common Core-ready offerings provide skill assessment tools and a range of products for Grades K-12 designed to meet the new standards and foster a love of learning.

Common Core Basics – A starting point for teachers and parents to learn and understand the Common Core State Standards, the site includes basic information about which states have adopted the standards, a glossary of key words and phrases that have a meaning unique to the Common Core, and the most up-to-date information on implementing the Language Arts and Math standards.

Free Resources for Educators – Educators can find tips on how to craft effective evidence-based questions, download Common Core lesson plans and watch video introductions to the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Books to Read at Home – Reading at home helps children succeed in the classroom. A list of our experts’ favorite books for grades 1-8 helps parents choose texts to read at home with their children. All titles are available in the Scholastic Store.

Ways to Connect – The “Common Sense for Common Core” website helps educators and parents find Common Core conversations on Twitter and Facebook, and aggregates content from frizzle, Scholastic’s blog on education, and Scholastic Administr@tor magazine, an essential resource for education leaders on technology, best practices, assessments and leadership strategies.

Source: Scholastic,

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