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July 21, 2015

Table of Contents

Learning.com Updates Digital Literacy Solutions for Upcoming School Year
McGraw-Hill Education Launches New SRA Open Court Reading, SRA FLEX Literacy
Promethean Introduces New Blended Learning Features in ClassFlow
TeachingBooks.net Author Name Pronunciation Guide Reaches 2,000 Audio Clips
New Science Techbook from Discovery Education Built to Next-Generation Science Standards

Learning.com Updates Digital Literacy Solutions for Upcoming School Year

Learning.com has announced key enhancements to its digital literacy solutions. In addition to an improved interface for 21st Century Skills Assessment, the updates will include new EasyTech lessons on spreadsheet and presentation software, Internet research and online communication. All updates and new content will be ready for the 2015-16 school year.

Today’s students need to be able to use technology to solve problems, increase productivity and drive innovation. A report recently released by Change the Equation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition, showed that 58 percent of those currently entering the workforce have low skills in solving problems with technology. This skills gap costs the U.S. economy $1.3 trillion each year, according to estimates from the learning technology company Grovo.

To help meet this need, the updates to EasyTech’s middle school lessons will focus on the skills that are critical for today’s students. New lessons will cover how to effectively search the web and collaborate online, as well as address real-life applications of spreadsheet, presentation and image editing tools. Many of EasyTech’s grades 3-5 lessons will also be updated to reflect current software interfaces and model current software examples.

The organization of EasyTech and Inquiry’s curricula will also be updated based on customer feedback to make it quicker and easier for educators to find the content they are looking for.

21st Century Skills Assessment will be updated to allow students to seamlessly transition between the desktop and tablet version and will feature a new user interface that reflects current computer operating systems.

Source: Learning.com, learning.com

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McGraw-Hill Education Launches New SRA Open Court Reading, SRA FLEX Literacy

McGraw-Hill Education has announced the expansion of two key language arts and reading programs with significantly upgraded editions of SRA Open Court Reading and SRA FLEX Literacy, to enhance the school curriculum for K-12 reading and language arts.

SRA Open Court Reading: Comprehensive Core Curriculum
McGraw-Hill Education's SRA Open Court Reading, a program designed to advance young students to meet state standard assessments and to become lifelong readers, now offers digital delivery, enhanced professional development options for teachers, and international availability to provide schools with an early reading curriculum for core instruction. With more than 50 years of proven instructional integrity behind it and offering different versions aligned with Common Core State Standards and state standards, Open Court Reading provides a core reading program that enables instructors to tailor literacy instruction to meet the needs of every K-3 students.

Through effective instruction and engaging activities such as wordplay, songs, rhymes and digital games, instructors can ensure that their students learn the phonics skills they need to become proficient readers across all subject areas. Students first acquire foundational skills through strong phonics instruction, and then learn to read with comprehension, including re-reading challenging sections for a deeper inquiry into organizational structure and author techniques. The program is largely used in public school districts, private, parochial and charter schools and includes instruction in the five keys areas of reading, differentiated instruction in every lesson, English Learner support, strong inquiry and higher-order thinking, and robust writing instruction.

Open Court Reading delivers:

  • Proven instructional integrity based on research and classroom experience to help students cultivate a literacy mindset

  • Real-time assessment to ensure each child receives the attention he or she deserves

  • Unparalleled partnership of support and professional development to help instructors address diverse students needs

  • Adaptive technology tools to increase engagement and help students master vocabulary in every subject.

SRA FLEX Literacy: Comprehensive Reading and Language Arts Intervention
SRA FLEX Literacy is a powerful, flexible, data-driven intensive ELA intervention program that combines the best of computer-based and teacher-led instruction with collaborative learning to provide struggling readers and writers the ability to return to regular classrooms, and provides them with the skills they need for college and career readiness. Released in 2011, McGraw-Hill Education's intervention reading program is designed for students in grades three and above who are reading below their grade level by two or more years. Now implemented at public, charter and private schools nationwide, FLEX Literacy is a blended and personalized learning program that offers Digital, Print and Project experiences together with assessment and progress monitoring to maximize student outcomes by helping instructors precisely tailor instruction to meet the unique needs of every student.

With the newly upgraded version, instructors can support Special Education and Response to Intervention curricula to help students rejoin their regular classrooms and:

  • Access progress reporting on a student, classroom and school level, including information about when a student is ready to join on-level classroom reading

  • Track student progress toward mastery of the Common Core and state standards

  • Help students build stronger foundational skills to decode and encode words

  • Incorporate a stronger writing component into lesson plans

  • Gain tips and mini-lessons for English learners

  • Offer three new projects plus a capstone, where students choose their own subject for a culminating end-of-year project

Previously a two-year program, FLEX Literacy has expanded by adding a third year to help students return to their regular classroom. FLEX Literacy also raised its Lexile score range to 1,300 to accommodate additional students at the secondary level.

The new editions of FLEX Literacy and Open Court Reading are available now. Flexible implementation of the programs includes digital-only, or print and digital options to accommodate all school districts in the goal of advancing students toward literacy achievement.

Source: McGraw-Hill Education, mheducation.com

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Promethean Introduces New Blended Learning Features in ClassFlow

Promethean has introduced a new version of ClassFlow that now supports blended learning environments, enhancing instruction both inside and outside the classroom. ClassFlow is a comprehensive instructional delivery system that increases the depth of student engagement by providing interactive and collaborative use of classroom devices, digital curriculum and assessments for learning. ClassFlow gives teachers the ability to deliver high-impact, multimedia lessons and breathes educational purpose into Chromebooks, iPads, laptops and classroom displays, such as interactive projectors, SMART Boards, Promethean ActivBoards and Promethean ActivPanels.

The school edition of ClassFlow now enables schools to extend learning beyond the classroom by assigning each student a unique ClassFlow Student Account – a personal account that enables students to access instructional materials, assignments and other relevant information pertinent to class curriculum at any time, from any location. ClassFlow Student Accounts also provide each student with a cloud-based storage drive, or “digital backpack,” where students can upload and organize their own learning resources and materials for reference.

With ClassFlow Student Accounts, teachers can enhance student engagement by sending assignments and instructional materials to students before or after the school day. Furthermore, teachers can use the new Assignment Tracker feature to monitor individual student progress by accessing real-time metrics on the status of outstanding assessments and assignments.

The latest release of ClassFlow now offers a new suite of dashboard tools for teachers and students to enhance class management and provides instant access to the most important classroom information, all in one place, anytime, and anywhere. The new suite includes the:

* CLASS HOMEPAGE – Teachers can post announcements, send reminders and communicate with individual students outside the classroom. The students can also ask questions as a part of the same comments stream.

* STUDENT DASHBOARD – Enables students to efficiently manage time by tracking their daily schedule of activities, lessons, assignments and assessments across all of their classes.

* TEACHER DASHBOARD – Enables teachers to get a consolidated view of the most important class information such as lessons delivered, status of assignments and the class’ calendar.

* TEACHER CALENDAR – Acts as a launch pad for the teacher’s daily activities. Once scheduled, teachers can deliver their lessons and assignments directly from the calendar.

As part of the latest upgrade, Promethean has also introduced ClassFlow Desktop – software for Windows or Mac OS that allows teachers to capture and share their screen when displaying content from any website, document or application, instantly creating dynamic, interactive lesson material. Teachers can deliver content built outside of ClassFlow during a lesson while taking full advantage of the collaboration and engagement capabilities within ClassFlow.

The enhanced functionality of ClassFlow is now available. For more information about ClassFlow and to request a demo, visit classflow.com/about/learn-more.html.

Source: Promethean, prometheanworld.com

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TeachingBooks.net Author Name Pronunciation Guide Reaches 2,000 Audio Clips

Ever wondered how to pronounce a favorite author’s name? Since 2007, almost half-a-million readers have visited www.TeachingBooks.net/Hello to hear authors and illustrators say their names and recount brief stories about them.

On July 16, 2015, the Author Name Pronunciation Guide—an original online digital resource created by TeachingBooks.net as a way to personalize and connect readers to authors—surpassed 2,000 recordings by prominent children’s and young adult book creators. The 2,000th recording added to the collection is famed and beloved author/illustrator Tomie dePaola – a name often mispronounced. Listen to Tomie say it correctly at http://TeachingBooks.net/Tomie.

Hearing book creators introduce themselves offers unique insight into their personality and background. Through the Author Name Pronunciation Guide, students can hear 2015 Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander rhyme his name with salami (and pastrami); learn what the R and L stand for in Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine’s name; and be confident in pronouncing authors whose legacy lives on in their books, like Maya Angelou and Elie Wiesel.

The Author Name Pronunciation Guide, listened to thousands of times each week, is a powerful way to virtually meet favorite authors and illustrators. “Once a reader has an opportunity to connect with an author or illustrator, their impression of the book is forever changed,” said Nick Glass, Founder & Executive Director of TeachingBooks.net. “We created this digital collection of name pronunciations to give readers a glimpse of the person who wrote the book, while facilitating a human connection that we hope further inspires student interest in reading. It is a joyful, beautiful association.”

Launched in 2003, TeachingBooks.net has been licensed in more than 37,000 schools across the United States and Canada. The Author Name Pronunciation Guide is one facet of this online multimedia literacy service that strives to bring reading to life for all students.

Source: TeachingBooks.net, teachingbooks.net

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New Science Techbook from Discovery Education Built to Next-Generation Science Standards

Discovery Education has announced its new Discovery Education Science Techbook aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is now available for classroom use. Designed specifically to help teachers transition to the NGSS framework, Discovery Education’s latest Techbook joins the company’s award-winning line of digital textbooks.

The Science Techbook includes rich, standards-aligned content such as video, audio, text, interactives with hands-on activities, and virtual labs that help educators differentiate instruction and provide a rich and engaging learning experience for students. Embedded formative assessment opportunities help educators monitor student progress, and like all Discovery Education digital textbooks, the Science Techbook works on any device and can be implemented in a variety of instructional settings.

Discovery Education’s new NGSS-aligned Science Techbook fully supports the instructional shifts required by the new standards, embraces the philosophy of three-dimensional learning, and is designed to help educators adapt their classroom practice to meet the standards. In addition to content chosen to directly support the standards, the NGSS Model Lessons within the new Techbook reflect the interconnectedness of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) and Cross-Cutting Concepts (CCC) and illustrate what these mean in practice for educators. With the NGSS-aligned Science Techbook, students will become immersed in the work of scientists and engineers, developing their own scientific explanations by a variety of activities such as exploring the overarching themes of science, asking questions and making claims, and identifying the cross-cutting connections between sciences.

To ensure teachers are fully supported in their transition to NGSS and inquiry-based science, all NGSS-aligned Science Techbooks include customized professional development. Discovery Education Professional Development is designed to show educators how to maximize innovative learning tools and empower them to integrate technology effectively and confidently into instruction.

Discovery Education’s Techbook series is a breakthrough collection of digital textbooks that are aligned to rigorous standards, support a comprehensive curriculum, and include professional development. The Techbook series includes Science titles, as well as Social Studies and Math editions, and:

· Saves teachers time with its comprehensive design that includes model lessons, student activities, and assessments at their fingertips;

· Supports differentiation through interactive features that change the reading level of text and enable text to be read aloud; and

· Updates regularly at no additional cost.

For more information about the Discovery Education Science Techbook for use with NGSS, please visit discoveryeducation.com/what-we-offer/techbook-digital-textbooks/science/ngss.cfm.

Source: Discovery Education, discoveryeducation.com

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