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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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October 21, 2014

Table of Contents

Free Resources: PBS Science's NOVA Cybersecurity Lab
Mimio Expands MimioClassroom Suite with MimioBoard
TIME Launches TIME for Kids Classroom App
Discovery Education Brings Back Leadership@Now Webinar Series
Curriculum Associates Launches Ready Writing for Grades 2–5
McGraw-Hill Education Launches New Version of Everyday Mathematics Program
Tripod Classroom-Level Student Surveys Available in New Platform

Free Resources: PBS Science's NOVA Cybersecurity Lab

In recent years, the public has become increasingly aware that today's digital, networked world leaves all of us vulnerable to online attacks from cyber criminals. At the same time, computer experts and educators warn that the U.S. is not preparing young people to navigate this dangerous world, or to fill the good jobs being created to help meet the challenge. Now NOVA has created a free online game for its growing NOVA Labs platform that provides a fun, informative introduction to computer safety, basic coding, and more.

The Cybersecurity Lab (pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/cyber/) is a game designed to teach people how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, learn the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks. Players assume the role of chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. To win, players must complete challenges to strengthen their cyber defenses and thwart their attackers. The Lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks, a glossary of cyber terms, and short animated videos that explain fundamental concepts like: why cybersecurity is necessary, the tradeoff between privacy and security, basic cryptography (cyber codes), and what exactly hackers are.

The NOVA Labs game consists of four major components:
* Coding Challenge: An introduction to basic coding skills. Players program a robot to navigate a maze using drag-and-drop commands in a Blockly interface that requires no prior knowledge of coding to complete. Blockly uses a visual representation of code as blocks, rather than a scripted programming language.
* Password Cracking Challenge: A series of "password duels" teach players the basics of how attackers might try to crack their passwords and how they can make better, more secure passwords.
* Social Engineering Challenge: Players are presented with two apparently similar emails, websites, or calls. They first have to identify the differences between them and then select which is a scam attempting to steal information or money.
* Network Attacks: As their companies grow, players must buy defenses to protect themselves against a series of cyber attacks. The better players do in the three challenges, the more resources they'll have to buy defenses.

The Cybersecurity Lab can be used by school technology and media specialists as an orientation activity for students before they begin using online resources. English and Social Studies educators can also use the Cybersecurity Lab to reinforce textual analysis skills. Students must find textual evidence, draw inferences, and make judgments about the validity of sources in the Social Engineering Challenge.

NOVA Labs is partnering with organizations to promote the Cybersecurity Lab including Khan Academy, the National Cyber Security Alliance, Code.org, the Center for Identity, the Engagement Lab, Games for Change, CyberPatriot, and the Technology Student Association.

Funding for the Cybersecurity Lab provided by Lockheed Martin.

Source: NOVA Labs, pbs.org/nova/labs and WGBH, www.wgbh.org

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Mimio Expands MimioClassroom Suite with MimioBoard

Mimio has expanded its MimioClassroom suite of products to a full range of interactive teaching technology options for collaborative activities and lessons. The company's newest addition, the MimioBoard touch board, features six-point Touch 360° interactivity – the highest number of standard touch points available – for best-in-class performance.

The Touch 360° interactive technology accommodates up to six single-point touch users or three dual-touch and gestures users. Whether users write or manipulate objects above, below, or parallel to one another, their control and touch experience will remain uninterrupted.

Available in 78-inch and 87-inch models (diagonal size), the MimioBoard touch board provides a 16:10 aspect ratio for widescreen views. The Porcelain-on-Steel surface is classroom-rugged, projection-optimized, and erasable, so teachers can also use it as a conventional whiteboard.

The MimioBoard touch board is fully integrated with the MimioClassroom family of products and comes with the same award-winning, intuitive MimioStudio classroom software for creating lessons, collaborating, and performing real-time assessments.

Source: Mimio, mimio.com

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TIME Launches TIME for Kids Classroom App

TIME For Kids is releasing the TIME for Kids Classroom App, a dynamic teaching tool that brings exclusive current events content to life through interactive images, videos, animations, polls, maps and more. The TIME For Kids Classroom App enables teachers to integrate multimedia and real-world connections into their K-6 classrooms, address students’ individual abilities with leveled content, meet Common Core State Standards and put current events into context for young learners.

The TIME For Kids Classroom App supports the realities of the modern classroom with immersive content for multiple levels of learners. With audio of text and vocabulary definitions to support learners, as well as a version of select articles for the grade level below, teachers are able to teach the same highly engaging content to the whole class while simultaneously addressing the individual needs of their students.

A team of veteran journalists and educators develops the content using a whole child approach, which takes grade and reading levels into consideration. Sensitive content is also vetted by teacher advisors who have a deep understanding of their students’ emotional and educational needs and offer critical classroom perspective. The topics covered directly impact students’ lives and facilitate discussion among teachers, parents and students. This whole-child approach extends to the assessments in the Classroom App. Each question in the interactive quizzes is aligned to grade-appropriate Common Core English Language Arts standards. Teachers can monitor student performance against each standard and pinpoint areas where students need extra assistance through assessment and reporting powered by the Cognero assessment platform.

TIME For Kids is offering a free trial of the app, which includes full access to student assessments, through Dec. 31, 2014. To learn more about the app and to register, visit timeforkids.com/tfkapp. The Classroom App is currently available for iPad, and TIME For Kids plans to extend to additional platforms.

Source: TIME For Kids, timeforkids.com

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Discovery Education Brings Back Leadership@Now Webinar Series

Discovery Education has announced the return of its popular Leadership@Now webinar series. Providing an opportunity to interact with a range of leaders focused on critical topics in education and offered to educators at no cost, the next installment of this series kicks off October 20 at 7 p.m. ET with a conversation on leadership in the age of connectedness. During this webinar, Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson, authors of The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning, will discuss their own paths to connectedness, why it is necessary for school leaders to connect, and some of the most effective ways to build meaningful connections.

Topics and dates for future webinars in this series include:

  • Redefining Literacy for Today’s Learner, featuring Dr. Karen Beerer, Discovery Education’s vice president of professional development and a former Pennsylvania teacher and administrator with more than 25 years of experience in education. In this webinar coming December 9 at 7 p.m. ET, Beerer will discuss new literacies – including visual literacy, digital literacy, 21st century literacy, and media literacy – and practical leadership strategies to help transform literacy instruction for today’s learners.

  • Pathways to the Digital Transition, featuring Dr. Johnna Weller, director of professional development at Discovery Education. Weller has over 20 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, special education teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and supervisor of curriculum and instruction in Pennsylvania. On January 13 at 7 p.m. ET, Weller will connect technology integration to instructional practice using the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) framework.

  • Thinking Outside the Bubble: Upgrading Student Assessments, featuring Kelly Pauling, director of professional development at Discovery Education and former Director of Curriculum Services at Pennsylvania’s Colonial Intermediate Unit 20. On February 10 at 7 p.m. ET, Pauling will discuss how to empower students to take ownership of their own learning through relevant performance tasks.

  • Indicators of Success – A Digital Administrators Walkthrough, featuring Dr. Carol Wetzel, Discovery Education’s senior director of urban partnerships and a former educator and data coach. On March 17 at 7 p.m. ET, Wetzel will look at what effective integration of technology to engage students in reaching learning targets looks like, feels like, and sounds like. She will also discuss how to lead educators towards the promise of the digital transition.

  • What’s Your Story – Sharing Your Site’s Success, featuring Steve Dembo, Discovery Education’s director of social media strategy and online community, and a former kindergarten teacher and school director of technology in Chicago. On April 14 at 7 p.m. ET, Dembo will explore ways to leverage student evangelists as a powerful marketing force for your institution.

  • Building Teacher Leadership – Lessons Learned, scheduled for May 13 at 7 p.m. ET. This webinar will gather educational leaders from around the nation who have embarked on the digital journey and explore what they did, what they wish they had known, and what they’ll be repeating.

To more deeply engage educators in these critical topics, the Leadership@Now series invites webinar participants to use the Twitter hashtag #DENchat to further connect with presenters, and also with fellow participants interested in exploring these issues further. More information and registration information for the Leadership@Now webinar series, as well as the archives of previous Leadership@Now webinars, can be found at discoveryeducation.com/leadershipnow.

Source: Discovery Education, discoveryeducation.com

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Curriculum Associates Launches Ready Writing for Grades 2–5

Curriculum Associates has expanded its family of Ready programs with the launch of Ready Writing for grades 2–5. Built from scratch to support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), this new research-based program provides educators with rigorous instructional materials as well as easy-to-use professional development resources to help students meet the writing expectations of the new standards. The program also works seamlessly with any ELA curriculum, including Ready Reading, to ensure students are learning to read as readers and as writers.

Ready Writing develops proficient writers using a research-based, gradual-release instructional model that deconstructs the complex CCSS into discrete segments that build naturally over the course of a lesson. Each lesson starts with the study of a mentor text that models the structure and organization of exemplary writing. Throughout the lesson, students analyze the mentor text, learn how to use it as a model for their own writing, while receiving guidance from a writing buddy. These features work together to provide explicit modeling needed to develop strong writing.

Each Ready Writing assignment is framed by a motivational real-world writing assignment that requires students to integrate information from source texts—many of which are shared with Ready Reading. An eight-step lesson provides explicit instruction for every step of source-based writing, including gathering and organizing text-based evidence, planning, drafting, revising, and editing.

In addition to the instructional materials, Ready Writing also includes a Teacher Resource Book that offers point-of-use professional development and step-by-step guidance to help teachers address the CCSS writing standards effectively. The program also includes access to the Online Teacher Toolbox with easy-to-use online instructional resources.

The Achievement Classroom Package—25 Student Instruction Books, one Teacher Resource Book, and one-year access to the Online Teacher Toolbox—can be purchased at an introductory cost of $275 until December 31, 2014. Multi-year discounts apply and additional Student Instruction Books can be purchased separately.

Ready Writing Student Instruction Books for Grades 3–5 and the Online Teacher Toolbox are currently available. The Teacher Resource Book for Grades 3–5 will be available in November and all Grade 2 materials will be available in spring 2015.

To learn more about Ready Writing, visit curriculumassociates.com/products/ready-writing.aspx.

Source: Curriculum Associates, curriculumassociates.com

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McGraw-Hill Education Launches New Version of Everyday Mathematics Program

McGraw-Hill Education has announced the launch of Everyday Mathematics 4, an alternative core program that can be fully implemented digitally. Developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project in partnership with McGraw-Hill Education, Everyday Mathematics 4 continues to transform math education through its research-proven approach that adds innovative digital learning tools to foster students' lifelong mathematical success, according to the announcement. The new version of Everyday Mathematics, engineered for new education standards designed to promote college and career readiness, is available for Grades K-2 now and will be available for Grades 3-6 beginning in Fall 2015.

McGraw-Hill Education's Everyday Mathematics 4 at a glance:

Everyday Mathematics 4 is grounded in extensive research into how children learn and the approaches that engage them most effectively in the classroom. Among the approaches on which the program is most closely based is "distributed practice," a technique that involves repeated exposures to key ideas in different contexts over time. The program's signature spiral curriculum uses distributed practice to help students build depth of knowledge and achieve long-term mastery of concepts and skills.

McGraw-Hill Education's new ConnectED Teacher Center includes a powerful, new digital evaluation tool that allows teachers to easily track student performance and record their observations on actual learning moments in the classroom, all of which provides data that is automatically compiled into customizable reports helping teachers more precisely track progress toward mastery and plan for differentiation.

Based on the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project's decades of classroom research, Everyday Mathematics seeks to inspire positive change in math education, while keeping teachers firmly at the center of all learning. McGraw-Hill Education's Everyday Mathematics 4 builds directly on this legacy, providing teachers with the tools and support they need to prepare students for the rigor of modern college and career readiness standards. The thoroughly field-tested program features ongoing assessments of students' mastery of content as well as reports illustrating how well students understand specific materials throughout the year.

For more information about McGraw-Hill Education's Everyday Mathematics, visit everydaymath.com.

Source: McGraw-Hill Education, mheducation.com

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Tripod Classroom-Level Student Surveys Available in New Platform

Tripod, a provider of classroom-level student surveys, has announced a new offering for 3rd to 12th grade teachers. Teachers will have free access to Tripod’s new platform where they can administer annual, classroom-level student surveys and receive no-cost confidential online reports to support their practice. This new offering is quick, controlled by teachers, and delivers targeted feedback to support professional growth.

Created by Dr. Ronald F. Ferguson of Harvard University in 2001, Tripod surveys, analyses, and reports have been delivered to thousands of schools across the United States. With the launch of Tripod Education Partners and its new, direct-to-teacher offering, Ferguson and co-founder Rob Ramsdell are increasing access to the Tripod survey – a tool that independent research finds both reliable and predictive of achievement gains.

Millions of students have completed Tripod surveys in a wide range of settings for more than a decade. Tripod’s scoring engine uses data from over 125,000 classrooms to calibrate survey results. The combination of rigorous analysis and user-friendly reporting highlights areas of strength and provides clear guidance about opportunities to improve.

Teachers can sign up to receive more information about the launch of this fall’s direct-to-teacher initiative by visiting tripoded.com/teachers.

Tripod’s team members have extensive experience in K-12 education and data analytics and work closely with a broad network of researchers. They continually refine surveys in response to research findings, field experiences, and feedback from educators and students. Now in its 18th generation of surveys, Tripod has a rigorously tested bank of classroom-level survey items.

Tripod’s customizable surveys begin at fewer than 20 items in length and are available in multiple languages. Longer surveys are available at no additional cost with modules covering a range of important issues, including student engagement, success mindsets, peer culture, and school climate. Tripod is best known for its 7Cs teaching practices, featured in Tripod’s direct-to-teacher offering:

  1. Care: Show concern and commitment.

  2. Confer: Invite ideas and promote discussion.

  3. Captivate: Inspire curiosity and interest.

  4. Clarify: Cultivate understanding and overcome confusion.

  5. Consolidate: Integrate ideas and summarize key points.

  6. Challenge: Press for rigor and persistence.

  7. Control: Sustain order, respect, and focus.

Source: Tripod Education Partners, tripoded.com

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