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February 24, 2015

Table of Contents

THIRTEEN's Award-Winning History Game Series Mission US Launches its Fourth Virtual Adventure for Teens
EBSCO Information Services Expands eBook Offerings With 27 New Subject Sets
ParentSquare's Analytics Dashboard to Help Schools Measure and Improve Parent Engagement
Schoology to Power Henry Mancini Online Arts Curriculum from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
Filament Games Launches Backyard Engineers Physical Science Engineering Game

THIRTEEN's Award-Winning History Game Series Mission US Launches its Fourth Virtual Adventure for Teens

THIRTEEN Productions LLC, a WNET company, has announced the launch of "City of Immigrants," the fourth interactive experience in the award-winning Mission US series of free, digital role-playing games created to engage middle and high school students in the exploration and understanding of U.S. History.  It is now available at mission-us.org.

"City of Immigrants" debuted on February 11, 2015 and supports the study of immigration, the labor movement, and cultural identity in the American History curriculum. Players take on the role of Lena Brodsky, a Russian Jewish teen who has recently immigrated to New York City in 1907. As Lena makes the Lower East Side her home, she struggles to help support her family and finds herself in the middle of the growing labor movement.

"Mission US is part of the digital transformation sweeping the educational landscape, giving students new and powerful ways to explore historical and cultural issues. Through the four role-playing games, young people can explore history in an engaging and personalized way, making it memorable and meaningful," said Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET.

As young people play "City of Immigrants," they gain important insights into the struggle for safe working conditions, fair wages, and the right to bargain collectively. At the same time, they experience the challenges of cultural differences, assimilation, and prejudice. Players will interact with a variety of characters, from factory supervisors to family and religious leaders, who all had roles in creating America's labor movement and strong communities in New York. As they assume the role of Lena, players must decide: Does she dare speak up and stand up for workers' rights? Can she continue to support her family? Players will make choices and experience the consequences of those choices – the same choices immigrants grappled with as they made their way in the "land of opportunity."

The content for "City of Immigrants" was developed by a team of historians and educators at the American Social History Project (ASHP)/Center for Media & Learning, a research center at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in partnership with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which consulted on historical content for the game and development of educators materials. The Museum building and its artifacts also served as models for design of the game's locations, costumes, and props. THIRTEEN worked with Electric Funstuff, an educational software company that specializes in using gaming approaches and multimedia techniques to create effective learning experiences, to design, develop, and produce the game. Formative research was conducted by Education Development Center's Center for Children and Technology. 

Accompanying curriculum activities and rich supplemental resources including maps, personal narratives, cultural artifacts and more will help students understand the historical context of the period. Educators and players at home can access Mission US "City of Immigrants" via streaming and download at mission-us.org.

The Mission US series of role-playing games engage young people in the exploration, discovery, and understanding of U.S. history. Research has shown that, by assuming the roles of peers from the past, students develop a more personal, memorable, and meaningful connection with complex historical content and context. The first game in the series, "For Crown or Colony?" puts players in the role of a 14-year-old printer's apprentice in 1770 Boston. "Flight to Freedom," the second in the series, gives students an unforgettable experience as a 14-year-old enslaved young woman who escapes to the North in 1848. In "A Cheyenne Odyssey" students "live the life" of Little Fox, a fictional member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, who must learn to adapt to all the impacts of westward expansion in 1866. A fifth mission about the challenges of the Great Depression is currently in development.

For educators, each Mission US game includes a collection of educator-developed resources. These materials, like the games themselves, are available at no cost and include document-based questions, primary sources, class activities, vocabulary builders, standards alignments, writing prompts and visual aids. Professional development videos help teachers integrate the games into the curriculum successfully.

Mission US is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with WNET.

Source: THIRTEEN Productions LLC, thirteen.org/

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EBSCO Information Services Expands eBook Offerings With 27 New Subject Sets

EBSCO Information Services has enhanced its collection of eBook titles by releasing 27 new EBSCO eBooks Subject Sets. These sets provide libraries with convenient ways to begin or expand their eBook collections with current, reputable content from leading publishers.

EBSCO eBook Subject Sets are convenient, prepackaged sets of titles chosen to meet libraries’ needs for new content on popular, in-demand topics. EBSCO’s Collection Development Team of librarians uses tailored knowledge to create these Subject Sets for libraries. All Subject Sets from EBSCO include titles published within the past two years, and have no title duplication among current or past Subject Set offerings.

The 27 new Subject Sets now available include:

· Accounting & Finance

· American Contemporary Issues

· Biology & Life Sciences

· Career

· Civil Engineering

· Computer Science

· Criminal Justice

· Earth Sciences

· Education

· Emergency Management

· Energy & Green Technologies

· ESL/EFL

· Fine Arts

· Geographic Information System (GIS)

· Healthcare Knowledge Management

· Leadership & Management

· Literary Criticism & Writing

· Mechanical Engineering

· Natural & Alternative Medicine

· Networking & Security

· Nursing

· Psychology

· Religious Studies

· Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy

· Teacher Resources K-8

· Wellness

· World History

EBSCO eBooks offers over 700,000 ebooks and audiobooks. EBSCO proactively acquires new content in critical areas, based on the dynamic needs of libraries. Accessing the EBSCOhost platform for ebooks and audiobooks saves librarians training time and adds a well-known search platform to the end user’s experience, the announcement states. Allowing end users to search for ebooks and audiobooks along with their EBSCOhost database content improves the discoverability of library collections.

Source: EBSCO Information Services, ebsco.com

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ParentSquare's Analytics Dashboard to Help Schools Measure and Improve Parent Engagement

ParentSquare has announced the ParentSquare Analytics Dashboard, designed to allow school leaders to leverage data and make sense out of parental involvement and take well-informed steps to improve upon it over time. The ParentSquare analytics dashboard offers administrators access the following features:

* Reach: Schools can see how many users receive messages via email, text or app notification and ensure 100 percent deliverability.

* Engagement: Administrators can view user engagement with the messages that they send home.

* Participation: Officials can track how parents are interacting with messages by either appreciating, commenting or signing up to bring items.

The analytics dashboard allows administrators and teachers to view per-user data on parent reach and aggregate data on participation and engagement, as well as compare engagement across different grade levels within the school. This helps teachers and administrators make well-informed decisions based on metrics.

To learn more about the analytics dashboard, visit parentsquare.com/dashboard.

Source: ParentSquare, parentsquare.com

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Schoology to Power Henry Mancini Online Arts Curriculum from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center

Schoology has announced its role in bringing a new digital way to learn about the arts to middle and high school students. Henry Mancini Arts Education—created by Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center (LPPAC) and its partners—contains 3,000 online arts lessons that bring dance, music, theater and visual arts to students via digital platforms including tablets, smart phones, laptops and computers. The lessons, for home schooling, virtual schools, or traditional classrooms, to be accessed through the Schoology learning management system, will be available in Fall 2015.

Th e interactive curriculum is dynamic and imaginative in ways made possible by the creativity of the arts. The curriculum consists of 32 semester-length courses aligned to the National Core Arts Standards and created by a team of artists, educators and digital learning specialists. LPPAC selected Schoology for the platform host of Mancini Education because of its size, stability and penetration across the globe.

Of the 32 courses in development, titles include:

· American Music

· Arts and the People

· Art History and Appreciation

· Careers in the Arts

· Classical Music Appreciation

· Digital Photography

· Elements of Dance

· Music Theory

· Photojournalism

· Profiles in Choreography

· Studio Arts

· Theater History 

LPPAC and the town of Midland, Penn. have a long history of innovation in cyber education and the arts. Resident artists with LPPAC have developed on-line and classroom curriculum that is delivered in homes and classrooms all over the state of Pennsylvania. Mancini Education continues the LPPAC mission to make arts and education affordable, accessible, and available.

See examples of the Mancini Arts lessons at youtu.be/Lj0GqfIMtUM.

ManciniEducation.org is a comprehensive arts curriculum designed to make the arts accessible to any student in an online or blended learning environment. Designed by artists, educators and digital learning specialists, this highly interactive online curriculum contains 32 semester-long courses in Dance, Music, Theater, Visual/Media Arts, and Cross-Disciplinary studies, for grades 7 - 12. Each course is aligned to the National Core Arts Standards and designed specifically to give students the same level of interaction with the arts as they would experience in a traditional classroom.

Source: Schoology, schoology.com

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Filament Games Launches Backyard Engineers Physical Science Engineering Game

Filament Games has announced the launch of physical science learning game, Backyard Engineers. Designed to align with Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core, Backyard Engineers is the first physical science game to be officially released by the developer.

The game challenges players to create the ultimate catapult so they can win a water balloon fight with neighborhood kids. Different mechanical elements of the catapult can be customized by students, manipulating movement, accuracy, range, and damage. Each level of the game is a unique puzzle that challenges students to find the fastest and most efficient way to soak their neighbors.

Backyard Engineers comes with a teacher dashboard for measuring student success and an integrated, standards-based curriculum for educators to use that extends their students’ learning experience. The curriculum includes hands-on activities, labs, challenging end-of-lesson activities and two standards-based assessments that give teachers the tools needed to gauge student understanding and progress.

The game launched on the Filament Learning Store on February 18, 2015, and both educator and student accounts are priced at $5.99 per account. For more information on the game, visit filamentgames.com.

Source: Filament Games, filamentgames.com

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