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January 21, 2014

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Discovery Education's Leadership@NOW Webinar Series
Net Texts Introduces Video Collections to Its Open Educational Resources Content Service
CTB/McGraw-Hill & Turning Technologies Announce New Insight 360 Integration with the Acuity InFormative Assessment Solution
Performance Matters Unveils UNIFY Assessment Platform
Discovery Education, 3M Launch Discovery Education/3M Young Scientist Challenge

Free Resources: Discovery Education's Leadership@NOW Webinar Series

Discovery Education is launching a new webinar series featuring some of the most innovative leaders in education examining topics critical to teaching and learning today. Entitled Leadership@NOW, and offered to educators nationwide at no cost, this series commences January 16 with a conversation on adaptive leadership featuring Ed Massey, immediate past president of the National School Boards Association. In this webinar, Massey investigates the many challenges education leaders face today, discusses his personal definition of adaptive leadership, and proposes how educators can foster this style of leadership within their own schools.

Topics and dates for future webinars in this series include:

· Making the Digital Conversion, featuring Dr. Karen Woodward, superintendent of Lexington School District One and finalist for AASA's Women in School Leadership Award,and Dr. Greg Firn, deputy superintendent of academics at Grand Prairie Independent School District. In this webinar coming February 17 at 7 p.m. ET, Woodward and Firn will review the critical steps necessary to catalyze change in the learning environment and maintain the momentum of digital initiatives.

· Preparing Your Staff and Students for the Common Core, featuring Sheila Hyde, director of professional learning at Albuquerque Public Schools, and Dr. Karen Beerer, vice president of professional development at Discovery Education. On March 12 at 7 p.m. ET, Hyde and Beerer will provide practical tools that administrators can bring back to classroom teachers to help enhance instructional practices supporting the Common Core State Standards.

· Telling Your District’s Story, featuring Joe Mazza, Ed.D, lead learner of Knapp Elementary School in Landsdale, Pa. and National Association of Elementary School Principals’ conference presenter, and Steve Dembo, director of social media strategy and online community at Discovery Education. On April 9 at 7 p.m. ET, participants will learn how to take control of their district’s story and share the positive events taking place every day in schools.

· Engaging Learners Through Inquiry and STEM, featuring Tony Sinanis, lead learner of Cantiague Elementary School in NY and National Association of Elementary School Principals’ conference presenter, and Dr. Cindy Moss, director of global STEM initiatives at Discovery Education. On May 15 at 7 p.m. ET, Moss and Sinanis will discuss how the inquiry model can be implemented across curriculum to enhance student engagement and academic success, and share practical, easy-to-integrate teaching examples

To more deeply engage participants in these critical topics, the Leadership@Now series will leverage social media platforms, including Google Hangouts and Edmodo, to further connect participants not only with presenters, but also with fellow participants interested in exploring these issues further. More information and registration information for the Leadership@Now webinar series can be found at www.discoveryeducation.com/leadershipnow.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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Net Texts Introduces Video Collections to Its Open Educational Resources Content Service

Net Texts has added a compilation of educational videos from the YouTube Education channel and leading providers such as the History Channel and PBS to its Net Texts collection of OER content.

To create the collections, Net Texts' content experts reviewed hundreds of YouTube Education channel videos and video collections, and selected those they believe teachers will find most valuable. For ease of use, Net Texts has organized the videos by author, and tagged them by subject and grade level.

The debut of the video collections follows on the heels of the fall release of Net Texts' OER Textbook Replacement Courses. Like the video collections, the OER Textbook Replacement Courses help simplify the world of open educational resources (OER) with ready-made courses for math, science, social studies, and English for grades 6-12.

Net Texts is a free, web-based system that provides teachers access to a vast library of OER content, which they can then combine with their own resources to create and publish lessons directly to students' iPads, Android tablets, or computers. More than just a content management system, Net Texts is a powerful teaching and learning tool that helps schools maximize their investments in tablets and 1:1 computing initiatives, while improving teaching and learning.

Source: Net Texts, www.net-texts.com

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CTB/McGraw-Hill & Turning Technologies Announce New Insight 360 Integration with the Acuity InFormative Assessment Solution

Turning Technologies has announced a new integration between Insight 360 and the Acuity InFormative Assessment solution, a comprehensive K-12 Common Core assessment and supplemental instruction solution. The integration is available on the latest Insight 360 update, allowing educators to quickly review student assessment results and make informed, actionable decisions on instructional focus.

The Acuity InFormative Assessment solution from CTB/McGraw-Hill immediately impacts student achievement with seamless integration through innovative student response devices. Acuity assessments are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, supporting district and school instructional improvement goals with valid, reliable assessment data. Since its release, Acuity has been deployed in thousands of schools and helped millions of students. Acuity’s integration with student response technology provides teachers the flexibility to obtain instant knowledge of student performance at the point of instruction.

Insight 360 is the first completely mobile classroom instruction system to administer and simplify content planning, delivery and real-time assessment, according to the announcement. The system leverages existing content, teaching methodologies, and classroom technology to provide greater interaction between educators and individual students for a more-personalized learning experience. Insight 360 is designed to support the latest technology used in education, such as the iPad or web-enabled devices and provide educators with the flexibility to manage their desktop, open files, launch assessments, annotate content, or review reports from anywhere in the classroom.

Source: Turning Technologies, www.turningtechnologies.com

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Performance Matters Unveils UNIFY Assessment Platform

Performance Matters has announced the initial release of the company’s next generation assessment platform, PM UNIFY. UNIFY is the first social platform designed for educators located anywhere to develop and administer assessments in collaboration

Part of Performance Matters’ assessment and data management system, UNIFY will provide the capacity educators need to assess students in all course areas, not just those tested by states. The platform’s modular technology incorporates a workflow engine to support the end-to-end process of assessment development, including blueprinting, item authoring and review, test generation and test administration. In addition, UNIFY incorporates the current Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) standards to ensure educators will be able to author and administer the new interactive item types, in addition to traditional multiple choice items.

School districts subscribing to UNIFY will have ready access to assessment content that is locally developed, licensed through third parties, or contributed by collaborative participants. The robust security in UNIFY ensures that all assessment content will be protected as per copyright or licensure, or as specified by the local school district.

This month, UNIFY will be deployed at one of Performance Matters’ large customer sites, a district that is developing assessments for 420 courses. Performance Matters will release UNIFY to its entire customer base this spring.

Source: Performance Matters, www.performancematters.com

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Discovery Education, 3M Launch Discovery Education/3M Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education and 3M have announced the opening of the 16th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The nation's premier science competition for students in grades 5-8, the Challenge rewards students for their science acumen, demonstration of innovative thinking and communication skills. Through the Challenge, students have the opportunity to compete for $25,000 and the title of "America's Top Young Scientist."

Encouraging students to share their passion for science, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge asks students to create a one to two-minute video communicating the science behind a possible solution to an everyday problem.

Evaluated on their creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness and overall presentation, ten finalists will be selected to participate in an exclusive mentorship program working directly with a 3M scientist. During the program, each finalist will be challenged to create an innovation that solves a problem in society. The students will meet virtually with their mentor and will receive resources and support from 3M and Discovery Education. Each finalist will also receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn., to compete at the final event in October 2014.

All video entries must be submitted online at www.youngscientistchallenge.com no later than April 22, 2014. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras.

Since its inception, the Young Scientist Challenge has awarded more than $500,000 in student scholarships and prizes, paired students with working scientists to give them real-world insights and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country. Winners have gone on to speak in front of members of Congress, meet the President of the United States, work with the nation's top scientists and pursue academic careers in science.

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including submission guidelines, tips from previous winners and complete rules, visit: www.youngscientistchallenge.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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