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March 25, 2014

Table of Contents

Learning.com Launches Digital Citizenship App for Middle and High School Students
Free Resources: Discovery Education's DENapalooza Tour PD Opportunities
itslearning Adds Features to Its Digital Learning Platform
Gale Celebrates Upcoming National Library Week with “Libraries are Beautiful!” Photo Contest
Common Core Explorer Helps K-12 Educators Find Quality Digital-Learning Media Aligned to Common Core State Standards
Flipped Learning Network Unveils Formal Definition of Flipped Learning

Learning.com Launches Digital Citizenship App for Middle and High School Students

To increase student access to digital tools and internet research, more schools and districts are encouraging student use of mobile/tablet devices and some have implemented 1:1 or BYOD programs. With this increased availability and use of digital devices, it is crucial that students remain safe and make good choices while online. Now, there’s an app for that.

The Learning.com Digital Citizenship App, available for i0S and Android tablet/mobile devices, covers three important topics of digital citizenship: online safety, cyberbullying and the ethical use of digital resources. The app’s content and user experience have been specifically designed for middle and high school students. The app also provides administrators with the reports needed to meet the online safety and cyberbullying instruction requirements for E-Rate funding.

Online Safety: Research shows the average American spends 23 hours per week online, with digital natives logging even more hours. The Learning.com Digital Citizenship App helps students understand their digital footprints, the risks of revealing personal information online, and how to use website and software privacy tools.

Cyberbullying: Nearly 43 percent of children have been bullied online, and one in four has reported persistent harassment. The Learning.com Digital Citizenship App helps students identify cyberbullying, demonstrates proper responses and guides students on prevention strategies.

Ethical Use of Digital Resources: Students incorporate a dizzying array of digital resources into their schoolwork on a daily basis. The Learning.com Digital Citizenship App helps students understand intellectual property, copyright, public domain and plagiarism, proper citations, and website information validation.

Once students have gone through the lessons, they are quizzed to check their understanding. Administrators can login to Learning.com’s web-based platform to see which students completed the lessons and successfully passed the quiz. The app is self-paced, but the lessons and quiz generally take about an hour to complete.

The app will be available to pilot by April 15 and ready to implement for the 2014-15 school year. For more information, visit www.learning.com/digital-citizenship.

Source: Learning.com, www.learning.com

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Free Resources: Discovery Education's DENapalooza Tour PD Opportunities

Discovery Education’s Discovery Educator Network (DEN) invites teachers and administrators across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the 2014 DENapalooza tour, a series of no cost professional development opportunities that will provide participants with new skills and strategies for integrating educational technologies into classroom instruction to accelerate student engagement and achievement.

The DENapalooza tour will visit 12 locations across the U.S. and Canada over the next eight months. Each event will include a mixture of formal presentations by DEN team members and other experts, a lunch, and an unconference experience. During the DENapalooza unconferences, attendees will drive the conversation and discussions, choosing the topics they want to explore. In addition to immersive sessions on topics such as using educational technologies to drive student engagement and integrating digital media into classroom practice, attendees will network in a relaxed environment designed to maximize sharing and learning.

Tour stops and dates include:

· Washington DC - March 29

· Milwaukee, WI - April 5

· Ottawa, ON - April 12

· Edmonton, AB - May 3

· Austin, TX - May 17

· Wichita, KS - August 23

· Anaheim, CA - September 13

· Columbia, SC - September 20

· Vancouver, BC - September 27

· Birmingham, AL - October 4

· West Palm Beach, FL - November 8

· Greensboro, NC - November 15

To participate in one of these events, visit the DENapalooza homepage, select your location, and register.

Supported by Discovery Education, a provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, the DEN is one of the largest and most active communities of tech-savvy educators passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating and networking. The DEN connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

For more information on the DENapalooza tour, visit www.denapalooza.com. To learn more about the DEN and Discovery Education’s other initiatives and services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

Source: Discovery Education, www.discoveryeducation.com

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itslearning Adds Features to Its Digital Learning Platform

itslearning, a digital learning platform, has added new tools that enhance personalized learning, communication and development for administrators, teachers and students. Built through an ongoing partnership with Forsyth County Schools, these new features extend learning opportunities, maximize instructional time, and support critical thinking, standards mastery and content distribution through a recommendation engine.

The major addition to the itslearning learning management system is a Standards Mastery and Recommendation Engine. Unique to itslearning, this engine offers immediate feedback, progress tracking and a recommendation platform that provides teachers with suggested resources and content tailored to the requirements and learning styles of individual students and standards. A standards mastery report records each student’s performance on assignments, activities and assessments, showing teachers which areas of the standards are not yet met or mastered. The system automatically recommends standards-aligned resources and content for those students who need further support, providing customized learning resources that enable teachers and administrators to better track individual student progress toward mastery.

In addition to helping students receive specific feedback from teachers and understand what expectations have been set for an assignment and how that assignment relates to standards, itslearning rubrics now can be shared among course creators. Additionally, the newly improved rubrics are searchable and can calculate grades based on the rubric settings.

Educators also can take advantage of innovative system tools that help them save time on everyday tasks:

— Gradebooks with automated scoring of assessments, SIS integration and instructional feedback.

— Enhanced attendance tracking with immediate student data imports from the SIS and integrated dashboard to help users quickly configure and monitor student attendance and seating charts.

— Content migration tools that enable districts and teachers to maximize their time with simple one-click integration of pre-existing content to the itslearning platform.

Source: itslearning, Inc., www.itslearning.net

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Gale Celebrates Upcoming National Library Week with “Libraries are Beautiful!” Photo Contest

In celebration of National Library Week April 13-19, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is running a “Libraries are Beautiful” photo contest, calling all library lovers to show how their library makes their community a more beautiful place—physically or metaphorically. To enter, library staff, students or patrons need only to submit a picture of the nominated library along with a short write-up for any of the 5 award categories. One “Best of Category” winner will be selected per category and will receive $500. One grand prize winner will be awarded “Best in Show” and take home $2,500. Categories include:

· Most Unique Structure/Art Installation: Is there a particular piece of art or sculpture that's always a topic of conversation at your library? Then please, show and tell.

· Greatest Historical Treasure: Whether it’s your building itself or something within your collections, share its story and historical significance.

· Most Modern Architecture: There is nothing wrong with tradition but show off your twenty-first century look.

· Coolest Internal Space: From a whimsical children’s space to a hip teen area, tech hub or academic retreat, show why students and patrons are flocking to enter and reluctant to leave.

· Best Curb Appeal: Show us what your library looks like from the road and why it’s making people stop in their tracks.

What: Gale’s “Libraries are Beautiful - Inside and Out” National Library Week Photo Contest. Submit a high resolution digital photo and 250 word write-up at http://solutions.cengage.com/beautifullibrary/. A Gale representative, along with a panel of judges – experts in art, architecture and design – will narrow the submissions to a top 5 per category, after which the nominees will be encouraged to share their image for popular vote. Popular vote will select category and overall winners.

Who: All U.S. libraries can be nominated to win. Nominations can be submitted by library staff, friends and users.

When: Submissions will be accepted March 19 – 28. Winners will be announced during National Library Week in April.

Why: Because libraries are beautiful – inside and out! Libraries improve the lives of those who use them. In honor of National Library Week, Gale is committed to helping promote the value of libraries and how libraries help make their communities brighter.

Details: Visit http://solutions.cengage.com/beautifullibrary/ for complete contest rules.

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

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Common Core Explorer Helps K-12 Educators Find Quality Digital-Learning Media Aligned to Common Core State Standards

Common Sense Media, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and educators harness the power of technology, has released Common Core Explorer, a new search tool that helps educators find the best digital-learning products that are aligned to Common Core State Standards. It's the latest feature within Graphite, a free resource from Common Sense Media that makes it easier for educators to find the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their classrooms by providing in-depth reviews and ratings determined by a rigorous rubric applied by an expert panel of educators and editors.

Common Core Explorer provides teachers with a mechanism for browsing all the Common Core State Standards and for viewing which of the 1,200 edtech products reviewed on Graphite are aligned to each. Intuitive filters make it easy for educators to navigate the standards and identify relevant products for their classrooms and curricular needs. Common Sense Media's expert educators meticulously evaluate each digital-learning product to determine which standards they best support. In addition to finding products mapped to Common Core, teachers can find insights from a growing community of educators who are submitting "Field Notes" that describe how they use them with their students.

Unveiled to educators, advocates, and policymakers during a panel presentation today at the Teaching & Learning 2014 conference in Washington, D.C., the Common Core Explorer tool can be accessed here: www.graphite.org/common-core.

Source: Common Sense Media, www.commonsense.org/educators

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Flipped Learning Network Unveils Formal Definition of Flipped Learning

To counter common misconceptions and bring clarity to discussions about “Flipped Learning,” the governing board and key leaders of the Flipped Learning Network (FLN) have announced a formal definition of the term. FLN also has announced the Four Pillars of F-L-I-P and a checklist of 11 supporting indicators that educators must incorporate into their practice. The definition draws a distinction between Flipped Learning and a Flipped Classroom.

FLN Definition of Flipped Learning: Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

The terms “Flipped Classroom” and “Flipped Learning” are not interchangeable, according to FLN. Flipping a class can, but does not necessarily, lead to Flipped Learning. Many teachers may already flip their classes by having students read text outside of class, watch supplemental videos or solve additional problems. But to engage in Flipped Learning, teachers must incorporate these Four Pillars into their practice:

Flexible Environment
Educators can create flexible spaces in which students choose when and where they learn. Furthermore, educators who flip their classes are flexible in their expectations of student timelines for learning and in their assessments of student learning.

Learning Culture
The Flipped Learning model deliberately shifts instruction to a learner-centered approach where class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating rich learning opportunities. Students are actively involved in knowledge construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning in a manner that is personally meaningful.

Intentional Content
Educators continually think about how they can use the Flipped Learning model to help students develop conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. Educators use Intentional Content to maximize class time in order to adopt methods of student-centered, active learning strategies.

Professional Educator
Professional Educators continually observe their students, providing them with feedback relevant in the moment and assessing their work. Professional Educators are reflective in their practice, connect with each other to improve their instruction, accept constructive criticism and tolerate controlled chaos in their classrooms.

For complete details about the Four Pillars of F-L-I-P and a checklist of the 11 supporting indicators, visit FLN’s Flipped Learning definition page.

The Flipped Learning definition, the four Pillars of F-L-I-P and 11 supporting indicators were written by FLN board members Aaron Sams, Jon Bergmann, Kristin Daniels, Brian Bennett, Helaine W. Marshall, Ph.D., and executive director Kari M. Arfstrom, Ph.D., with additional support from experienced Flipped Educators.

Source: Flipped Learning Network, www.flippedlearning.org

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