Blank gif
Section1
An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
Search Internet@Schools
Subscribe Today!

View Current Issue
View Past Issues
March 10, 2015

Table of Contents

EBSCO Introduces Explora, New EBSCOhost Interface for Schools and Public Libraries
Generation YES, Learning.com Partner to Create Project NextTech
PBS KIDS Announces Annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest
MindPlay Introduces New Professional Development Program About Dyslexia
Skyward Announces Test Bank Management Solution

EBSCO Introduces Explora, New EBSCOhost Interface for Schools and Public Libraries

EBSCO Information Services is introducing Explora, a new EBSCOhost interface for K12 schools and public libraries. EBSCO designed Explora following a series of user research studies with the goal of better assisting students in completing research and classroom assignments and providing a more intuitive search experience for public library patrons.

Multiple versions of Explora will be released for schools and public libraries. Each version features a unique landing page designed to best support the needs of students, patrons, teachers and librarians in their respective settings.

All the versions feature a user-friendly design that can be easily viewed on mobile devices. A single search box on the home page helps to simplify the search process and increase student success. Easy-to-browse categories are organized by popular topics, and topic overviews provide users with a starting point for research. Relevant results can be limited by source type, including primary source documents and other authoritative information texts.

Educators can discover grade-appropriate content in Explora by limiting results according to reading levels and make use of highly relevant educator support materials such as ready-to-use lesson plans, classroom activities and rubrics. A Curriculum Standards Module allows educators to browse Common Core, state- and province-specific curriculum standards, many of which have recommended search strings for successful content retrieval.

Throughout 2015, additional enhancements will be made to Explora so that end users will have even easier access to biographies, primary source documents, images and other sources. EBSCO is currently testing multiple approaches, including innovative result lists and context sensitive panels. Within weeks of the launch, Explora will also include a carousel of current AP videos that will appear in search result lists for MAS and MasterFILE customers. Approximately 60,000 videos will be included. In addition, Explora will offer a dedicated landing page for educators with convenient access to relevant support materials.

Libraries can begin migrating to Explora now. EBSCO's existing school interfaces for schools will remain in place until June 2015. For more information about Explora, visit ebscohost.com/us-high-schools/explora.

Source: EBSCO Information Services, www.ebsco.com

Back to Contents...

Generation YES, Learning.com Partner to Create Project NextTech

The nonprofit Generation YES organization and Learning.com have announced Project NextTech, an online high school digital literacy survey course that is designed to help students develop the knowledge, skills, values, and experience that will help them succeed in an increasingly digital world.

Project NextTech curriculum is organized around three core literacies: technology literacy, information literacy and media literacy. Students learn through guided explorations, challenging activities, and rigorous technology-infused projects.

Project NextTech is the perfect next iteration of the GenYES curriculum aimed at today’s high school students, according to Dr. Dennis Harper, founder and CEO of Generation YES. The company has invested 16 years and more than $20 million developing the content at the core of Project NextTech. High school students will develop a strong foundation of digital literacy skills that will serve them well into the future, the announcement states.

Generation YES has won awards and national acclaim since its introduction in 1996 as a federal Technology Innovation Challenge Grant. Thousands of schools in the United States have implemented Generation YES programs and extensive research has demonstrated the program’s effectiveness in improving student learning and changing teacher practice in the use of classroom technology. The nonprofit Generation YES works with schools around the world to plan, implement and enhance student technology programs through consulting, innovative curriculum, cloud-based resources, and research-based support services.

Learning.com helps students, teachers, and schools excel in a digital world. Districts equip their students with the technology and 21st century skills needed for online assessments, college, and the workforce using Learning.com’s digital literacy curriculum and assessments. Learning.com supports districts as they transition to digital content by providing a repository of OER and free digital resources with tools to build and share custom digital curriculum.

Source: Generation YES, genyes.org/; Learning.com, learning.com

Back to Contents...

PBS KIDS Announces Annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest

PBS KIDS has announced the opening of this year's annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest. The Writers Contest is designed to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning. The contest is open to children in grades K-3 and encourages creative thinking and storytelling, while building literacy skills through the creation and illustration of original stories.

To enter, kids submit stories to their local stations, and local winners will then be entered into the national contest. PBS stations throughout the country will collaborate with schools, public libraries and other community-based organizations to present the PBS KIDS Writers Contest in local communities. Each station will select local winners and award prizes. The local winners will then be entered into the national contest, and a panel of esteemed judges will rank the top 12 entries. National winners will be announced during the summer of 2015, and the winning stories will be featured on pbskids.org/writerscontest.

This year, the judges include acclaimed writers, producers and children’s media creators, including Marc Brown, author and illustrator of the ARTHUR book series, and the Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, from the PBS KIDS show WILD KRATTS. The national winners will receive prize packages including ARTHUR books and a personal technology device courtesy of PBS.

To help young writers get started, PBS KIDS offers a set of resources for children, parents and teachers. Story ideas and activity sheets, along with the previous winning entries, are available on the contest website to inspire children during the brainstorming process. PBS LearningMedia is also offering a collection of online teacher resources for use in classrooms nationwide.

To enter the contest and for more information on entry rules and contest resources, visit pbskids.org/writerscontest or your local PBS station website.

Source: PBS KIDS, pbskids.org

Back to Contents...

MindPlay Introduces New Professional Development Program About Dyslexia

MindPlay has introduced a new professional development program about dyslexia for K-12 teachers and parents. Understanding Dyslexia is an online program that helps teachers identify students who have dyslexia, a learning disability that affects as much as 10 percent of the population. The program also explains how to help these students learn to read. Dyslexia is a significant obstacle to student achievement in school. Therefore, nearly 20 states now require that teachers receive specific professional development on the topic.

MindPlay’s Understanding Dyslexia was co-authored by Dr. Nancy Mather, Ph.D., and Barbara J. Wendling, M.A. The program includes modules on definition and description of dyslexia, components of assessment, and effective instruction. Participants may earn three hours of continuing education credit for successfully completing the course.

MindPlay’s suite of online-based reading products for K-12 students include Universal Reading Screener; MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach; and MindPlay Reading Fluency. All are aligned to Common Core State Standards, now being implemented in 42 states. Universal Reading Screener (RAPS 360) is a diagnostic reading assessment program that tests and diagnoses basic reading skills and weaknesses. It measures student reading behaviors using eight diagnostic tests in under thirty minutes.

MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach provides a web-based reading curriculum for grades K-12 and is backed with a guarantee of student success. MVRC helps students improve their reading skills measurably in 40 hours or less by differentiating instruction for each student. All passages within MVRC are assigned Lexile ratings by MetaMetrics. MindPlay Reading Fluency (FLRT) for K-12 students serves as a personal trainer for silent reading, including comprehension. The program is designed to help students measurably improve reading level and speed in as little as 10 hours of practice.

MindPlay Teacher Companion is an additional online professional development course authored by Drs. Nancy Mather and Blanche Podhajski. It helps 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.

Source: MindPlay, mindplay.com

Back to Contents...

Skyward Announces Test Bank Management Solution

Skyward has announced its new Test Bank Management Solution that supports in-district test bank management, collaboration among Skyward customers and integration with online test bank providers.

Test banks provide flexibility to create custom assessments at the district, school and classroom level. Educators can select questions that most appropriately reflect curriculum, student population and time of year the test is given. Questions created through Skyward’s Test Bank Management Solution align with state and Common Core State Standards for analytical reporting, and allow districts to secure those questions to only be used on summative assessments. Through the new management solution, administrators and educators can better measure student progress and improve individual growth.

Skyward will support integration with multiple test bank providers that support the Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification format. The QTI is a standard format for assessment content and results, supporting the exchange of material between authoring and delivery systems. It is designed to facilitate interoperability among systems, allowing assessment materials to be developed and delivered on systems interchangeably.

Skyward will launch its first test bank solution in July 2015.

Source: Skyward, skyward.com

Back to Contents...
 
[Newsletters] [Home]
 
Blank gif