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August 19, 2014

Table of Contents

Learning Upgrade Gives Away 100,000 Complimentary Student Licenses to Online Curriculum
Triumph Learning Creates Comprehensive Instructional Program
Discovery Education Adds Content from Its Family of Networks
New Release from Itsleaning Addresses Key Needs For Student Mobility And Teacher Collaboration
CEP Releases Compendium of Research on Common Core

Learning Upgrade Gives Away 100,000 Complimentary Student Licenses to Online Curriculum

Learning Upgrade is offering 100,000 complimentary student licenses to schools nationwide in order to promote its online curriculum designed to help students and teachers make the transition to Common Core State Standards. Administrators and teachers can enroll each licensed student into any of Learning Upgrade’s Common Core aligned courses.

The new courses for grades K-8 were designed and created after the standards were released, ensuring each benchmark is addressed appropriately. Through engaging songs, video, and games , the interactive lessons help struggling students catch up on previous year standards, master current grade level standards, and perform well on the new computer-based year-end tests.

Learning Upgrade’s new courses are designed with the Common Core State Standards in mind. Each grade-specific course features 60 interactive lessons, covering every standard for that grade. Teachers can quickly integrate the lessons into their classes using a simple one-page alignment, and can track every student’s progress on every standard with a graphical student monitor.

Educators from U.S. schools with at least 300 students who would like to take advantage of this offer should visit learningupgrade.com. Select “Start Free Trial,” then sign up for the school free trial. Qualifying schools will receive a 20-student license for the 2014-15 school year at no cost.

Source: Learning Upgrade, learningupgrade.com

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Triumph Learning Creates Comprehensive Instructional Program

New evaluations of Common Core Coach, an inclusive learning program that adds depth, understanding, and practice to Common Core standards and skills instruction, find the program creates a comprehensive instructional program for math and English language arts (ELA) classes, backed by research. Created by Triumph Learning, producer of critically acclaimed K-12 texts and interactive digital tools, Common Core Coach for Math and Common Core Coach ELA enable meaningful instruction and practice through rich and rigorous tools that support student assessment in grades three through eight.

Maureen McSparran Ruby, supervisor of professional learning and career management for New London Public Schools in Connecticut, compiled a review of Common Core Coach ELA. It confirmed the program creates a formative assessment system for teachers and prepares students for college and career readiness benchmarks as described by the Common Core State Standards. By utilizing the gradual release of responsibility (GRR) model, an instructional framework designed to gradually transfer the responsibility of learning from teachers to students, Common Core Coach ELA helps teachers deliver reading, writing and vocabulary lessons, and guide, engage and motivate students to become independent learners.

Dr. Paul Gray, a member of the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics, compiled an evaluation of Common Core Coach for Math. The findings determined it offers specific instructional strategies teachers can implement to help students learn important math concepts and skills. With Common Core Coach for Math, students are given performance tasks and fluency and problem solving lessons that build math proficiency.

More information regarding the findings from the Common Core Coach evaluations is available in new whitepapers for Common Core Coach for Math, “Instructional Strategies that Build Mathematical Proficiencies ,” and Common Core Coach ELA, “Providing Assessment-Driven Differentiated Instruction in Reading and Writing .” Common Core Coach is also integrated into the differentiated instruction toolset for teachers in Triumph Learning’s new Waggle personalized, smart practice solution.

Source: Triumph Learning, triumphlearning.com

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Discovery Education Adds Content from Its Family of Networks

Discovery Education has announced the addition of 38 exclusive videos from Discovery Communications’ family of networks to its suite of digital resources. Educators can now integrate popular series from Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Animal Planet and American Heroes Channel into classroom instruction through Discovery Education’s suite of digital education services including Discovery Education Streaming, Streaming Plus and Discovery Education Techbook series.

New content now available through Discovery Education’s digital services include:

  • Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, episode Do Try This at Home, where the MythBusters investigates a host of experiments to help determine which ones can be safely practiced at home. Available on Discovery Education Streaming and Science Techbook, the interactive lesson plans and customized digital learning experiences reinforce the science explored in the episode.

  • Several new episodes from popular Science Channel series have also been added like Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, where the Academy Award-winning actor explores the greatest mysteries of the universe. The series empowers educators to inspire students’ curiosities and engage them in science. Outrageous Acts of Science hosts an expert panel of scientific thought leaders to explain the principles behind the internet’s most ridiculous viral videos that test the principles of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. World’s Strangest gives students an intelligent and witty look at some of the oddest things mankind has created, been affected by, or is intrigued by through a combination of real footage, eyewitness stories and scientific rendering. 

  • Students can be taken beyond the classroom with new videos from Animal Planet’s Surviving the Kill Zone, which transports them to Africa’s Zambia Luangwa Valley for an extraordinary look into the lives of unique herbivores and predators during the longest dry season in living memory.

Now available on Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook, American Heroes Channel’s Hidden History of the Moon Landing analyzes the key technological developments of the 1800s and the 1900s that eventually led to the creation of Saturn V, the rocket that transported American astronauts to the moon for the first time in history. Newly added episodes from Against the Odds give students a unique perspective on the realities of war using archival war footage and first-hand interviews with veterans who survived battles from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

Source: Discovery Education, discoveryeducation.com

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New Release from Itsleaning Addresses Key Needs For Student Mobility And Teacher Collaboration

Itslearning has announced a new release of its K-12 digital learning platform. When classes resume for the 2014-15 school year, students and teachers will be able to take advantage of enhanced access options, more streamlined processes and several more upgrades. The company has announced the following enhancements in the latest release:

  • Access and visibility enhancements for teachers, students and parents

  • Better access to content and collaboration

  • Insights to student workload and physical resources availability

Itslearning has streamlined and restructured the login page and main landing page for students to improve access for students with all types of devices. The simplified login page allows students easy access to coursework and instructional materials on tablets, mobile devices, and laptops. The new “My Page” gives students quicker access to tasks, notifications, messages, personal files, ePortfolios and Individual Learning plans.

Students with mobile devices will now be able to record or select previously recorded video from within the platform to quickly include in blogs, ePortfolios, discussion boards or submission to assignments.

And parents will now be able to access their children’s calendar in addition to the daily lesson planner via the itslearning Parent Portal.

The learning objects repository, called Library, is vastly improved according to the announcement, allowing teachers and staff to quickly and efficiently search for and share content with their students. Teachers can collaborate on a resource by adding colleagues from their school or district as co-authors and create new versions of content with the original author’s permission. Publishers can now share resources compliant with IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specifications in the Library as well, allowing districts that have subscribed to publisher content to have a single repository for digital resources.

All of these shared resources can be added to courses and will be accessible via the itslearning recommendation engine, enabling teachers to assign additional personalized tasks to students who have not yet mastered specific course learning objectives. As their creators update resources, they will automatically update in all courses, saving districts and teachers time and ensuring that students have access to the most current content possible.

Further reducing teacher time on non-teaching tasks, itslearning has added workload ratings to its Custom Activity tracking tool to help teachers keep students from being burdened with too much work within a particular time frame. Teachers can now also book resources such as rooms or equipment through the calendar with clear insight to availability and who has already booked what resource.

A full list of new features can be found on the itslearning website: itslearning.net/software-update-august-2014#_other

Source: itslearning, Inc., itslearning.net

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CEP Releases Compendium of Research on Common Core

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) at The George Washington University has released "A Compendium of Research on the Common Core Standards," a compilation of over 60 research studies focused on a range of issues and topics related to the Common Core Standards. CEP has been a leading voice on the need for a broader, more actionable research agenda to support the implementation of college- and career-ready standards.

CEP's new compendium elevates and amplifies the current research around standards to support the work of researchers, policymakers and practitioners. The compendium will be regularly updated to provide the most up-to-date information and research.

This user-friendly compendium summarizes each study on a single page, highlighting important details about topic, scope and timeline. It includes URL links to the original study documents when possible. The CEP compendium includes research from government entities, independent organizations, and peer-reviewed publications from academic journals.

The compendium is organized into nine distinct categories so users can find the information they seek quickly and easily:

  • Communications & Public Opinion

  • Comparison of CCSS Content to Wide-Scale Assessments

  • Content, Curriculum, & Alignment

  • Cost Analysis

  • Governance & Leadership

  • Implementation

  • Teacher Preparation

  • Teaching & Professional Development

  • Testing & Assessment

The compendium can be accessed free of charge at cep-dc.org.

Source: Center on Education Policy, cep-dc.org

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