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December 17, 2013

Table of Contents

PBS's American Experience Launches Interactive Educational Graphic Novel
Follett’s Expands PreK-12 ebook Offerings with Macmillan Partnership
Pew Study “Libraries and Society” Illustrates Expanding Roles of U.S. Libraries
Promethean Introduces ClassFlow Classroom Orchestration Tool
Spanning's Backup for Google Apps Is Now Available for Educational Institutions

PBS's American Experience Launches Interactive Educational Graphic Novel

American Experience has launched Tales From The Poisoner's Handbook, a digital graphic novel for students, educators and armchair sleuths of all ages, produced in conjunction with the premiere on PBS of the American Experience film The Poisoner's Handbook on January 7, 2014. Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Deborah Blum,The Poisoner’s Handbook tells the story of New York City’s first scientifically trained medical examiner Charles Norris and his talented chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, who together turned forensic chemistry into a formidable science. Using a vivid comic book style and an array of engaging rich media, Tales From The Poisoner’s Handbook recounts four of their most notorious cases involving lethal poisons – carbon monoxide, radium, cyanide and arsenic. Players find the visual evidence, chemical trails and supporting evidence to solve these real-life mysteries and learn about the biochemical impact of poisons on the human body.

Developed in consultation with high school forensics teachers, the content supports 9-12 grade national science standards. Built in HTML5, the educational digital graphic novel can be accessed through a regular web browser to any internet-enabled whiteboard for use in the classroom, or can be used at home on computers or tablets. The knowledge of chemistry that players will need to solve the crimes is seamlessly integrated; no formal prior knowledge of chemistry is necessary. The companion website features additional content for teachers, including in-class experiments, extra clues and a community space where viewers and players can share their experiences.

Tales From The Poisoner’s Handbook was made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, whose support has enabled American Experience to explore the central role that science and technology have played in shaping American history.

Visit Tales From The Poisoner’s Handbook at

About American Experience

Television’s most-watched history series, American Experience celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2013. The series has been hailed as “peerless” (The Wall Street Journal), “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune), and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, American Experience documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for the series represented by Freedom Riders, Triangle Fire and Stonewall Uprising.

Source: PBS,

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Follett’s Expands PreK-12 ebook Offerings with Macmillan Partnership

Follett has announced a partnership with Macmillan Publishers to distribute Macmillan’s collection of popular ebook titles for PreK-12 students. The collection adds to the more than 250,000 ebook titles currently available through Titlewave, Follett’s collection development, search and ordering tool.

The Macmillan collection includes many recent popular and award winning PreK-12 titles, such as “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle and “Dead End in Norvelt” by Jack Gantos. Other well-known titles now available through Follett include, “Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt; “Joey Pigza Loses Control” by Jack Gantos; “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer; “When Zachary Beaver Came to Town” by Kimberly Willis Holt; “Twice Toward Justice” by Claudette Colvin; and “Breaking Stalin’s Nose” by Eugene Yelchin.

Macmillan Publishers is a global trade book publishing company that publishes a broad range of award-winning books for children and adults in all categories and formats. PreK-12 ebook collections from Random House, Hachette Book Group and Simon & Schuster are also available from Follett.

With books increasingly moving to digital formats, Follett has been at the forefront of the transition with tools and solutions that help customers access and integrate the new forms of content within schools. Follett Shelf is the digital shelf most used by schools to access ebooks, while Follett Enlight provides students with a consistent and easy-to-use ebook reading environment on their desktops, tablets and smartphones, and allows users to add notes and highlights to an ebook and then view them anywhere they have access to their Follett Shelf account. Today, more than 29 million students and educators in 42,000 schools worldwide use ebooks provided by Follett.

To learn more about Follett PreK-12 products and services, visit

Source: Follett,

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Pew Study “Libraries and Society” Illustrates Expanding Roles of U.S. Libraries

An overwhelming majority of Americans acknowledge that public libraries offer more than just books and provide community-tailored programs and services that improve the quality of life, according to “Libraries and Society,” a report that has been released from the Pew Research Center that examines the role of public libraries in communities.

“I am proud that libraries have earned enormous trust and satisfaction from the American public,” said American Library Association (ALA) President Barbara Stripling. “But we also know that one-third of all Americans still lack home internet access, and a recent global survey finds U.S. adults lag behind many of their counterparts overseas in basic education skills. Our work is not done, and libraries will continue to innovate and meet evolving needs as new technologies and applications emerge. Libraries are transforming lives through education and help level the playing field for all.”

The report found that 95 percent of Americans agree that libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed. At a time when more and more information is moving online and into digital formats, people continue to highly value free access to books and media, assistance from librarians, a safe and welcoming public space, and a range of resources and programs.

From 2011 to 2012, public demand for digital training and technology classes increased 36 percent, while the demand for public internet-connected computers went up 60 percent. The Pew study found that 72 percent of all Americans adults have either used a public library in the past year or live in a household with a family member who is an active library user. 

“The future of libraries is both online and in person—high tech and high touch,” added Stripling. “From children’s storytimes to makerspaces to mobile applications and augmented reality, libraries mix traditional and new services to meet changing community needs. If you haven’t visited your library lately, I invite you to stop by or log on and let us surprise you.”

Visit to learn more about the Pew study and the American Libraries magazine’s E-Content blog for up-to-date news on libraries and digital content.

Source: American Library Association,

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Promethean Introduces ClassFlow Classroom Orchestration Tool

Promethean has announced ClassFlow--a cloud-based classroom orchestration tool that enables teachers to create lessons, deliver interactive content across multiple devices, and assess student understanding. With ClassFlow, teachers can build and access interactive lesson plans from any web browser. In addition, ClassFlow allows teachers to foster student engagement by connecting mobile devices such as educational tablets, smartphones, and laptops to classroom displays and interactive whiteboards. As a result, teachers can use real-time student responses to instantly adjust any lesson plan when it matters the most - in the moment of learning.

Beginning in January 2014, teachers will be able to sign up for a complimentary ClassFlow account and will be able to:

· Build and access interactive lessons—anytime, anywhere.

· Deliver, create, and easily organize lessons from any web browser

· Develop lessons by seamlessly incorporating a wide variety of teaching resources and formats--video, PowerPoint, documents, flipcharts, webpages, new content and more

· Collaborate with a community of teachers by sharing lessons online

· Engage students like never before —Turn any mobile device into a dynamic & collaborative experience

· Exchange ideas and information throughout the classroom by connecting interactive whiteboards, projectors or flat panels to individual student mobile devices

· Deliver and interact with each part of the lesson where it’s most powerful—on an interactive classroom display or on the mobile devices in students’ hands

· Extend learning by sharing student work examples to provide a different perspective, address areas of confusion or dive deeper into the topic at hand

· Drive your lesson from anywhere in the classroom using your own mobile device

· Improve student results by guiding instruction when it matters most - in the moment of learning

· Turn educational tablets, smartphones and laptops into rich-media student response and polling tools that offer two-way communication between students and teachers

· Deliver digital lesson content into students’ hands for annotation, response or manipulation

· Connect assessment to learning by using rich, real-time feedback to differentiate instruction based on students’ learning needs and styles

· Access student responses as they occur or save results for later review and reporting.

Promethean developed ClassFlow in order to ensure that investments in classroom technology a have real, measurable, educational impact. By consulting with many of the world’s most innovative and successful teachers, administrators, trainers, technology officers, and other education visionaries, ClassFlow was designed to enable schools to breathe educational purpose into mobile devices and other existing classroom technologies.

The initial release of ClassFlow will be offered in English for U.S. teachers, with additional locations and languages planned throughout 2014. For more information about ClassFlow, visit

Source: Promethean,

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Spanning's Backup for Google Apps Is Now Available for Educational Institutions

Spanning Cloud Apps, Inc., a provider of data backup and recovery for cloud applications, has announced that their flagship product, Spanning Backup for Google Apps, is available for educational institutions. The top-rated backup solution on the Google Apps Marketplace, Spanning Backup, is the only data protection product that provides full data recovery for the core Google Apps components, including Gmail, Drive, Sites, Calendar and Contacts. Spanning customers in education represent thousands of individual users, including The University of Maryland, Bryan University and Second Baptist School.

Technology tools and developments have dramatically changed classrooms in the last few years; no longer bogged down by heavy notebooks and binders, students and educators share information via the cloud. As one of the most popular cloud-based services, Google Apps is free for educational institutions and has seen rapid adoption in the education market with more than fourteen million students and teachers currently using the applications. However, Google Apps still has crucial elements that need to be implemented to protect its cloud-based data: backup and recovery.

Schools, both their students and faculty, are increasingly aware of the issue of lost data: Google Apps only protects their data loss, and the biggest culprit behind common losses includes user error, hacking, accidental deletions and hardware failure. As a result, schools moving to Google Apps for its collaboration capabilities are increasingly pairing a cloud backup solution that protects data in one location and allows for immediate, seamless recovery of losses.

Google Apps provides students and educators with easy access to information from anywhere and on any device, allowing students to work remotely, faculty to share their research and everyone to efficiently collaborate. Spanning’s backup services offer everyone in education the assurance that all of their data will be protected.

Spanning Backup is available with a 14-day free trial: or Google Apps Marketplace. For more informatin, visit

Source: Spanning Cloud Apps, Inc.,

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