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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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July 07, 2015

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Autodesk's Project Ignite Design Software and Tools for K-12
MindPlay Universal Screener Uses Adaptive Technology to Assess Students’ Reading Skills and Prescribes Interventions
Mimio Unveils MimioMobile for Web Browsers, Gives Educators First Public Demos of the Touch-enabled MimioProjector 280T
myON Adds Content From Candlewick Press
Otus Releases Redesign of Award-Winning Free LMS

Free Resources: Autodesk's Project Ignite Design Software and Tools for K-12

Autodesk, Inc. has announced Autodesk Project Ignite, a free and open learning platform that intended to build the skill and confidence of young learners through creative, hands-on design experiences focused on the latest technology trends like 3D printing and electronics. Targeting K-12 schools, Project Ignite encompasses the end-to-end design experience, from idea to digital modeling to physical fabrication. It brings together free and custom design software, step-by-step projects and for-purchase hardware options. Autodesk’s Project Ignite, Tinkercad and 123D Circuits web sites are COPPA safe-harbor certified by CARU Kid's Privacy Safe Harbor Program.

The Project Ignite learning platform adds to Autodesk’s comprehensive free offerings in education by delivering a package of technology, learning content and services created specifically to bring the Maker Movement into the classroom.

With support from companies including Microsoft, MakerBot, and Electroninks Writeables, the Project Ignite learning platform additionally offers classroom bundles, which include hardware such as 3D printers and electronics kits along with professional development and training services, to help educators get up and running quickly.

Autodesk aims to bring innovative technology on common platforms to offer a better end user experience. Just as Spark, Autodesk’s open 3D printing platform, aims to accelerate innovation in 3D printing, Project Ignite extends this concept into education by empowering the next generation of innovators and will be available in English for educators and students in the U.S. and abroad.

  • For educators – Project Ignite brings together free Autodesk design software, including Tinkercad and 123D Circuits, and offers step-by-step lessons within these apps to encourage design thinking and hands-on problem solving skills. It also provides for-purchase hardware options such as 3D printers from MakerBot and Circuit Scribe pens and modules from Electroninks Writeables. Educators can also login for free to access Project Ignite content whether or not they wish to purchase hardware.

  • For schools – Administrators may choose from various package solutions comprised of free software and for-purchase hardware options, educator training and support, all from a single place to introduce the Maker Movement into the classroom.

  • For educational partners – Project Ignite is open to educators, publishers, education technology and hardware providers looking for unique opportunities to help drive the next education revolution that will inspire students to further their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education and provide educators access to emerging technology trends quickly.

  • For families or parents – Project Ignite is a great way to learn technology basics together in a moderated environment that extends to engaging and fun weekend projects.

To learn more about the Project Ignite learning platform, visit

Source: Autodesk,

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MindPlay Universal Screener Uses Adaptive Technology to Assess Students’ Reading Skills and Prescribes Interventions

Literacy publisher MindPlay showcased at the National Education Association’s (NEA) Annual Meeting MindPlay Universal Screener, a computerized assessment that tests reading skills and identifies strengths and weaknesses for a single student, a class, or the entire K-12 school population. The results immediately provide the teacher with information to plan strategic intervention and a tool to monitor the effectiveness of the assigned intervention.

This interactive computer-based analysis provides teachers with a way to test, isolate deficiencies, and identify each student’s specific reading abilities. With the MindPlay Universal Screener, teachers can test their entire class at the same time. Since each student’s test is randomly generated, a computer lab setting can be used to test students simultaneously.

Formerly known as RAPS 360, the updated MindPlay Universal Screener now works on any computer platform, as well as on iPads and tablets. The innovative adaptive testing leverages technology to differentiate for all students. Depending on student performance, the student will take as few as one or up to six tests. Students needing more time will automatically get more time. The tests adapt to student performance. Less time is needed to administer these computer-based assessments than teacher administered tests, giving more teaching time back to the teacher.

Adaptive tests and shorter testing times in MindPlay Universal Screener help reduce testing stress for many struggling learners. The program measures student reading behaviors using eight diagnostic tests. The tests include: Comprehension Screening Assessment, Phoneme Segmentation, Word Meaning and Recognition Assessment, Phonics-Decoding/Encoding Assessment, Eye Tracking Assessment, Natural Fluency Assessment, Expected Fluency Screening, and the Pause-Assisted Fluency Assessment (Reading Connected Text Assessment). These assessments are grouped into three test sets that provide either detailed diagnostics or a quick progress check. Depending on the test set and student performance, students may take as few as one or as many as six assessment and diagnostic tests.

MindPlay Universal Screener is an innovative teacher tool designed to specifically identify why a student is struggling. The program meets Response to Intervention (RTI) program requirements. More benefits include:

    • Provides a personal digital diagnostician for every student.

    • Empowers teachers to create individual learning plans for every student.

    • Allows teachers to customize features.

    • Develops student prescriptions for improvement.

    • Generates automatic reports for individuals, classes, schools and districts.

    • Groups students with similar needs.

    • Tests students quickly, requiring minimal teacher time.

A Full Diagnostic Assessment is automatically scheduled in MindPlay Universal Screener by benchmark three times per year. Although there are eight possible adaptive tests, the student’s path through testing depends on his or her skills. A Progress Monitoring Assessment is automatically scheduled every 14 days. Teachers can change the progress monitoring schedule through the management system. The purpose of progress monitoring is to give teachers a frequent and quick way to monitor student progress in both comprehension and fluency.

The reports generated allow teachers to evaluate the learning status of individual students, classes, schools, or even a district. Through automatic reporting, the program identifies underperforming students, groups students who need comparable instruction, and creates individual learning plans.

Tests are administered by the computer or mobile device, not a teacher. Therefore, the results are unbiased, and teacher time is minimized as they can test an entire class at the same time. Data is automatically collected as students are tested so that progress can be instantly reported. The program tracks students’ growth and the effectiveness of any assigned intervention. Administrators and teachers will know which interventions are working with which types of students.

MindPlay Universal Screener has been proven by multiple research studies to accurately predict which students will not pass the reading portion of Common Core State Assessments and other state assessments, such as the STAAR in Texas. Once teachers and administrators know which students are “Critical” and at risk of not passing, they can assign their own intervention or use MindPlay’s MVRC to help those students improve their reading skills.

Source: MindPlay, Inc.,

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Mimio Unveils MimioMobile for Web Browsers, Gives Educators First Public Demos of the Touch-enabled MimioProjector 280T

Mimio is introducing two major updates to its MimioClassroom family of interactive teaching technologies at ISTE 2015: the MimioProjector 280T touch projector, and expanded device compatibility for the MimioMobile application.

MimioMobile's Expanded Compatibility

The MimioMobile app will now be compatible with any device with a supported web browser, so educators and students can access and use the application's assessment and collaboration features from nearly any device, including Chromebooks and Windows surface tablets.

The app allows for an easy transition from full-classroom instruction to small-group learning, and it enables teachers to develop assessments with short-answer, short-essay, numeric, and multiple-choice student responses. These features support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that call for creating a stronger collaborative learning environment for students, while providing teachers with an in-depth understanding of their students’ progress and comprehension.

MimioProjector 280T

Mimio will also be conducting its first public demonstration of the MimioProjector 280T touch projector at ISTE 2015. This exhibition will give attendees an in-depth look at the projector's interactive touch capabilities.

The MimioProjector 280T is a touch-enabled projector that turns conventional dry erase boards into touch boards. The 280T provides one of the largest interactive areas available today – as large as 100 inches diagonal – and it allows up to 10 students to work together simultaneously. Users can work directly with their fingers or with the included styli. The 280T technology utilizes Mimio’s easy to set up Laser Curtain module, which is powered directly from the projector. The MimioProjector 280T is a full-featured solution that includes MimioStudio classroom software for lesson creation, assessment, and collaboration.

Source: Mimio,

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myON Adds Content From Candlewick Press

myON, a business unit of Capstone, has announced the addition of Candlewick Press digital content to its personalized literacy environment. With the addition of elementary and middle school titles from Candlewick Press, myON continues to expand its digital collection that encourages reading at all grade levels.

Through its Publisher Program, myON incorporates titles from leading publishers, and provides access to their content through its cloud-based literacy environment. Digital book packages from Candlewick Press include kid-favorites such as the Judy Moody and Stink series by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds as well as titles by Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Winerip and Newbery Medalist, National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature, and NYT best-selling author Kate DiCamillo. These two new Candlewick packages, which will be available to myON users this fall, provide books that kids will read over and over.

Since launching in 2011, myON has been committed to providing the most engaging titles through its personalized literacy environment. It currently curates the world’s largest online library, the announcement states, and is consistently adding new content to further engage and excite readers.

The myON Publisher Program was launched in 2012 and provides an opportunity for publishers to add their content to the myON Platform. Since its inception, nearly 70 publishers have joined the program, offering school districts over 9,000 enhanced digital books across a range of subject areas, genres, and reading levels to enhance and encompass a personalized reading environment for students.

For a full list of the titles that will be available from Candlewick Press, visit

Source: myON,

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Otus Releases Redesign of Award-Winning Free LMS

Otus has unveiled a new design to its free LMS classroom app and web-based platform. The platform is now even easier to navigate, combining a cleaner, more colorful interface with real-time analytics and third-party integrations.

Originally launched for iPad in March 2014, Otus added a web-based platform in September 2014 so that teachers would have all the edtech tools they needed for the classroom in one place, regardless of which device they work on.

Otus' new and improved features include:

Cleaner Interface: A polished, streamlined functionality lets users more easily navigate existing features including polling for instant feedback, a real-time assessment center, blogging capabilities and classroom organization tools.

Real-Time Analytics: A comprehensive analytics dashboard integrates a wide range of performance indicators into one place, including content from select third-party apps like Khan Academy. Teachers can link data to Common Core State Standards or integrate their own custom standards to report on. Otus tracks a variety of data like attendance, participation, student blogs, assessments and grades. In addition, teachers can also create and track meaningful behaviors like grit, leadership and staying on task through Otus ‘Recognitions’. Because Otus logs all student activity in real-time, teachers can quickly gauge their impact on student growth and provide timely, constructive feedback.

Toolbox: Otus functions as an open, interoperable educational ecosystem allowing teachers to integrate and quickly access the third party apps and content that they use everyday in their classroom. Any Otus user can access free third-party apps or content. If third-party apps and content require a subscription, the subscriber must simply link their account to Otus and they will never have to sign-in to access it again.

Colorful Work Environments: Now teachers and students can choose from a variety of theme and background color options to create a more personalized, vibrant work environment.

Additional features will roll out this summer, including many more third-party app and edtech program integrations, and a portal to streamline calendars and communication with parents. The Otus iPad app is available via the Apple App Store, with separate version for Teachers and Students. A web version is also available for Chromebook or any web-enabled device. The Otus LMS is free for teachers and students, with no ads, in-app purchases or add-ons.

Source: Otus,

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