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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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December 16, 2014

Table of Contents

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program Now Open to Applicants
MindPlay Launches Online Professional Development Course for Teachers to Enhance K-12 Reading Instruction Strategies
Follett Introduces Destiny Resource Manager
Apple to Host Workshops for Hour of Code at Apple Retail Stores Around the World

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program Now Open to Applicants

PBS LearningMedia, the free media on-demand service from PBS, has announced the third annual 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program for tech-savvy K-12 educators. The program recognizes the top 100 applicants nationwide who are incorporating digital media in classrooms and serving as leaders in educational technology.

Through February 11, 2015, educators can apply to the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program by submitting a 60 -120 second video showcasing how they are creatively using digital technology and tools in the classroom to drive student achievement and completing a profile and two essay questions. The online application is available at

A distinguished panel of judges will select the top 100 applicants as 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators. The selected teachers will be rewarded with yearlong professional development opportunities that includes virtual trainings with a focus on innovative instructional strategies and digital best practices, access to premium and exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia Custom, invitations to special events, access to a free PBS TeacherLine professional development course, membership into a robust professional learning community, and networking opportunities with other innovative educators and thought leaders. In addition, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will receive ongoing support from their local PBS member stations.

A select top 30 applicants will be designated as Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators and will also receive a three-day all-expense paid trip to Philadelphia to participate in the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. This trip will offer attendees access to renowned speakers and experts, strategies for delivering best practices in digital education that they can immediately apply to the classroom, and networking opportunities with educators from across the country. All Lead PBS Digital Innovators will also receive a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

The 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will be announced in March 2015. For more information on PBS LearningMedia, visit

Source: PBS LearningMedia,

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MindPlay Launches Online Professional Development Course for Teachers to Enhance K-12 Reading Instruction Strategies

Literacy publisher MindPlay has launched MindPlay Teacher Companion, a new professional development course to immerse K-12 school teachers in best practices and expert knowledge on effective reading instruction strategies.

MindPlay’s new course uses a combination of lectures, videos, written information, and activities, organized into eight modules to help teachers gain a more complete understanding of how the English language works and what every student needs to become a proficient reader. Teachers can earn up to eight hours of professional development credits for successfully completing the course.

The MindPlay Teacher Companion is an online reading program designed to help teachers learn about scientifically-based reading instruction. The Teacher Companion describes the major components of systematic reading instruction and uses examples from the MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC) to demonstrate specific concepts or skills.

The knowledge presented in this course is essential for primary-level reading teachers and special education teachers, the announcement states. It is also important for content teachers at every grade level, who must help students comprehend literature, science, and social studies texts. Essentially all teachers need to understand the basic elements of language structure, the relationship between speech sounds and print, and the strategies students can use to build vocabulary and gain meaning from their textbooks.

Throughout the course, teachers learn ways to promote student improvement in reading. MindPlay’s BESSIE Award-winning MVRC also helps students improve their reading skills. Based on years of research and successful case studies, MindPlay guarantees student progress when using the program with fidelity.

The program is organized into eight modules covering all five of the National Reading Panel’s essential reading components, as well as an additional module in grammar. Teachers can complete the course at their convenience and own pace. The course takes approximately eight hours total to complete and is accessible 24 hours a day online. The content includes:

Chapter 1: Introduction provides an overview of the program describing the teaching objectives and specific reading skills that are taught. Features of the program are summarized.

Chapter 2: Phonological Awareness describes instruction in speech sounds.

Chapter 3: Phonics focuses on strategies for teaching the relationship between sounds and letters.

Chapter 4: Grammar provides an understanding of the eight parts of speech and the rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words.

Chapter 5: Vocabulary provides an understanding of the various aspects of word knowledge and the tiered approach to instruction.

Chapter 6: Fluency provides information about oral and silent reading and the strategies to build fluent reading.

Chapter 7: Comprehension provides a focus on the goal of reading -- the ability to process text with a high level of understanding.

Chapter 8: MindPlay Manager provides an overview for the administrator and teacher management of the program, including licensing and seat allocation. This chapter also covers program options and settings.

Every section assigned to a teacher consists of multiple instructional topics. Each chapter module contains pretests and post-tests. After all of the instruction in a section has been completed a post-test is administered. A section is considered mastered when all instructional topics are complete and the post-test has been mastered with 100 percent accuracy. If any item on the post-test is answered incorrectly, the participant will be redirected to a specific instructional section to review and then given another opportunity to answer. This process continues until all of the post-test questions have been answered correctly.

The Teacher Companion features a Review Mode, in which teachers can review sections previously completed. Any teacher logged into the Teacher Companion can access review mode. A menu of choices allows participants to continue with current instruction or to enter Review Mode. Participants can only review instructional content that has already been mastered.

Through MindPlay Manager, the most current version of the RAPS 360 Resource Guide and Supplemental Resource materials are available. Teachers and support personnel may use the included support sheets for Phonemic Awareness and Phonics for additional student support. Viewing and printing these materials from the MindPlay Manager requires Adobe Reader or another program that can open .PDF files.

Upon completion of the course, indicating 100 percent mastery of MindPlay Teacher Companion, teachers receive a certificate of completion. The certificate will automatically pop-up and is printable directly by the participant.

MindPlay Teacher Companion is available online now to schools and school districts as an unlimited site license for $999. For information and ordering, schools and districts can visit MindPlay at, or education resellers. The program can be used from any computer with internet access.

Source: MindPlay,

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Follett Introduces Destiny Resource Manager

Follett has introduced Destiny Resource Manager, a new, universal system that enables K-12 districts to track and manage all school assets. Destiny Resource Manager represents an evolution from Follett Destiny Asset Manager as it will monitor barcoded textbooks in addition to traditional assets such as laptops, tablets and equipment.

Follett Destiny Resource Manager is designed to give administrators the data and insights they need to track and circulate all school assets as well as ensure accountability to make accurate, fact-based budgeting and purchasing decisions.

The new resource management product will have the ability to provide a complete view of each student’s responsibilities, including print and digital textbooks, tablets, and band instruments, as well as special ed, STEM and sports equipment. For teachers and staff, assets such as computers, IT networks, audio-visual equipment, facility property and confidential records all can be efficiently tracked and monitored.

Collectively, more than 61,000 schools in the U.S. are using Follett Destiny Library Manager, Follett Destiny Textbook Manager and Follett Destiny Asset Manager. Destiny Resource Manager will replace Destiny Asset Manager.

For more information on Follett’s PreK-12 business, visit

Source: Follett,

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Apple to Host Workshops for Hour of Code at Apple Retail Stores Around the World

On Thursday, December 11, Apple retail stores around the world will host free one-hour coding workshops in support of the second annual Hour of Code, a movement to make computer science accessible to all students around the world. Workshops at Apple retail stores will offer an introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics of programming, coinciding with Computer Science Education Week, an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. The Hour of Code campaign aims to reach 100 million students by the end of 2014, marking a significant milestone in removing the veil of mystery that surrounds computer science and breaking stereotypes that steer girls and minorities away from the field.

As part of Computer Science Education Week Apple will also host developers and engineers for special events and discussions in select cities around the world. To sign up for an Hour of Code workshop at your local Apple retail store, visit

Follow and the Hour of Code on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Participants, young and old, can share their computer education stories, photos and videos across all social media channels by using #HourofCode.


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