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October 06, 2015

Table of Contents

Follett Partners With Cengage’s National Geographic Learning
Follet Unveils ‘Managed Services’ Offering
Front Row Education, Inc. Expands Product Offerings, Launches English Language Arts Program
Einstruction by Turning Technologies Announces New Grant Competition
OpenEd Publishes In-Depth Analysis on the Use of Online Educational Materials
Discovery Education, American Bar Association, National Constitution Center Host Interactive Virtual Field Trip on Constitution Day
GoGuardian Launches Digital Classroom Solution

Follett Partners With Cengage’s National Geographic Learning

Follett has partnered with National Geographic Learning (NGL), part of Cengage Learning, to provide its customers with convenient access to NGL’s catalog of textbooks and supplemental materials in both print and digital form. NGL is the K-12 brand for Cengage Learning – a leading educational content, technology, and services company – following Cengage’s acquisition of National Geographic School Publishing.

Drawing on the real-world accounts of National Geographic explorers, scientists, writers and photographers, NGL offers a wide range of programs that support Pre-K to AP instructors and engage students with vibrant content and digital learning tools. Stunning National Geographic photography, video, and illustrations are all a hallmark of NGL content.

NGL’s engaging K-12 textbooks feature Career and Technical Education and Advanced, Honors and Electives programs including, “The American Pageant” (Kennedy/Cohen); “Precalculus with Limits: A Graphing Approach” (Larson); “American Government: Institutions and Policies” (Wilson/Dilulio/Bose); and “World of Chemistry” (Zumdahl/Zumdahl/DeCoste).

For more information about Follett, visit follettlearning.com; for more information about National Geographic Learning, visit ngl.cengage.com.

Source: Cengage Learning, cengage.com

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Follet Unveils ‘Managed Services’ Offering

Follett has announced it is unveiling a new offering –Managed Services – directed at administrators and designed to help districts eliminate both routine and seasonal tasks involved in managing resources, ultimately saving significant time, money and space.

Follett’s Managed Services enables districts to:

* efficiently locate, count and barcode school assets by using Follett’s team of experts to execute physical inventory and barcoding projects;

* quickly order, receive, reconcile and distribute new resources within a district with new product deployment services;

* effectively open, close or relocate schools and libraries with facility management services;

* utilize Follett’s state-of-the-art warehouse as a scalable warehousing solution for the short- and long-term storage of district resources; and

* solve current issues and proactively avoid future problems by building sustainable practices to ensure district policies are followed and investments are maximized.

In select markets where Follett has rolled out the new service, the results have been striking, according to the announcement. One such example is Community United School District 300 (D300) in Algonquin, Ill., which two years ago witnessed one of its schools lose as much as $100,000 in textbooks in just 12 months.

With the help of Follett's Managed Services, D300's textbook management is now running on all cylinders. After an initial consulting phase, Follett’s Managed Services team took a physical inventory of every book in the school and barcoded copies that needed barcode labels. The district then took advantage of Follett’s Warehousing Services and relocated the majority of books in their district warehouse to Follett’s facility. The district now operates as a lean organization that knows what they own, who is responsible for it, and where it is located.

The same school that experienced significant textbook setbacks lost only one book during the year following Follett’s involvement. Overall, the district has saved more than $500,000 and Harkin predicts savings of at least $200,000 annually moving forward.

Source: Follett, follettlearning.com

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Front Row Education, Inc. Expands Product Offerings, Launches English Language Arts Program

Front Row Education, Inc. has launched Front Row ELA, a new reading comprehension program for first through eighth grade classrooms. Known for their math application launched in 2013, Front Row has now expanded their adaptive, gamified, and data-driven program into the language arts. With a focus on differentiated learning, Front Row ELA provides teachers key tools to help their students improve their reading comprehension skills, regardless of their proficiency level. Over 300 articles are available for use today, with hundreds more scheduled to be added in the coming months.

To begin the program, students to take a short diagnostic test, which consists of three reading passages followed by a related set of questions. Based on how the student answers the first set of questions, they are provided the next passage at an increased or decreased level of difficulty. By the end, teachers are provided a recommended level for that student to begin. The program starts by offering passages and subsequent questions on one of the 60 topics a teacher can choose from. These range from Jackie Robinson to hurricanes to the first moon landing, and are designed to fit with lessons already being taught in class. As with the initial diagnostic test, student will receive increasingly difficult passages and questions that move them forward in their reading comprehension skills.

For more information on Front Row ELA or to sign-up, visit frontrowed.com

Source: Front Row Education, Inc., frontrowed.com

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Einstruction by Turning Technologies Announces New Grant Competition

eInstruction by Turning Technologies has unveiled plans for a new grant that will award more than $36,000 in educational technology to schools across the country. The goal of the Classroom Improvement Technology Grant is to provide educators with effective, engaging tools to inspire and improve student achievement.

Grant applications will be accepted from teachers in grades K-12 who are currently teaching in an accredited, non-profit school building in the United States. Ten (10) classroom awards estimated at $3,600 each will be recognized nationally. Each winning classroom will receive the following from eInstruction by Turning Technologies:

  • ExamView Assessment Suite and Learning Series – Complete testing solution offers the ability to create, administer and manage assessments using current content or select from a library of 15,000+ standards-aligned assessment questions. Compatible with more than 11,000 textbooks from over 65 leading publishers.

  • Insight 360 Cloud – Assessment platform that enables the customization and delivery of ExamView content with existing classroom technology. Utilize mobile devices, student response clickers and interactive whiteboards with just one application.

  • Mobi – Mobile interactive whiteboard with touch screen provides the ability to deliver and control content from anywhere in the room. Launch instruction, annotate material and analyze real-time assessment data.

  • 32 Seat ResponseCard NXT – ResponseCard NXT features alphanumeric input and is compatible with all eInstruction by Turning Technologies software.

Teachers can submit their Classroom Improvement Technology Grant applications through October 30, 2015.

Source: Turning Technologies, turningtechnologies.com

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OpenEd Publishes In-Depth Analysis on the Use of Online Educational Materials

OpenEd has published an in-depth analysis on the use of online educational materials entitled “Insights Into Effectiveness of K-12 Online Instructional Resources.” According to their analysis, the most widely-used online educational resources may not be the most effective. Developed based on data from the more than 200,000 teachers nationwide who use OpenEd resources and assessments with their students, the analysis concludes that more focused specialty publishers, such as The Balanced Literacy Diet (90 percent), Teaching Library (89 percent) and Virtual Montessori (88 percent) have much higher average effectiveness scores, than large more general publishers such as Khan Academy (66 percent), LearnZillion (66 percent), IXL (67 percent) and eSparkLearning (68 percent). In addition, the research revealed that short, engaging instructional games and videos are most effective in moving the needle on student achievement.

“With the breadth of our standards-aligned content, our linked assignments and the fact directly or through our partners OpenEd is being used in more than 10 percent of U.S. classrooms, we have access to a unique set of data for analyzing the effectiveness of online educational resources,” said Adam Blum, CEO, OpenEd. “Based on our in-depth look at the types of online resources that are most effective in helping students, we urge teachers to look for resources from publishers who are specialized – not necessarily the most widely used – and for online games and videos that are short and engaging.”

The analysis also found that online educational games (70 percent) are more effective learning resources than videos (66 percent). Both drastically outperform other resource types, such as printed worksheets or supplementary text.

For the purposes of this analysis, OpenEd identified five categories of online instructional videos:

--Cartoons (an animation, often with accompanying music or songs for younger grades)

--Flashcards (a specific type of animation, with a pause to allow students to answer questions)

--Lessons (a slide deck or PowerPoint preso narrated over by a teacher)

--Blackboards (drawing on an electronic slate as popularized by Sal Khan)

--Teachers (a live teacher being videoed as a “talking head” or standing by a blackboard)

OpenEd’s analysis of its data concluded that cartoons – specifically “flashcard-style cartoons” – are most effective. After that “lessons” as slide decks or PowerPoints with narration have the highest level of effectiveness. Then “generic cartoons” rank right at the average level of effectiveness. There is then a big gap in effectiveness to the “teacher standing up or talking head.” Finally, the least effective video type is the “blackboard.”

OpenEd has the largest K-12 resource library with over a million videos, games, assessments and homework assignments, all aligned to Common Core and other state standards. A unique aspect of OpenEd is that it uses formative assessments to drive resource selection. Based on a student’s results on the assessment, they are presented with suggested instructional resources to address the identified learning gaps. Many students then take a subsequent assessment on the site to determine if they have achieved mastery. A resource was rated by evaluating how students perform on an assessment that is on the same subject or standard category subsequent to that student viewing the resource.

A K-12 educational resource library, OpenEd offers over a million assessments, homework assignments, videos, instructional games and lesson plans for every Common Core Math and English/Language Arts Standard as well as the Next Generation Science Standards and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards.

Source: OpenEd, opened.com

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Discovery Education, American Bar Association, National Constitution Center Host Interactive Virtual Field Trip on Constitution Day

Discovery Education, the American Bar Association’s Division For Public Education, and the National Constitution Center have announced they will host a live, two-part interactive virtual field trip for students worldwide on September 17 to celebrate Constitution Day. Through this partnership, classrooms around the world will meet a sitting Supreme Court Justice, be transported to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to learn about the history of the U.S. Constitution, and discuss the Constitution’s enduring importance in American and world history with a Federal Appeals Court Judge. Appropriate for upper elementary, middle and high school students, participation in this virtual experience is available at no cost to classrooms worldwide.

Part one of this event is a student town hall with Justice Stephen Breyer, during which students will meet Supreme Court Justice Breyer and learn about his work on the United States’ highest court. Students can submit questions to be answered by Justice Breyer at www.Constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday. Then, attendees will virtually tour the National Constitution Center’s immersive Museum of We the People, visiting a recreation of the room in which the signers of the Constitution met on September 17, 1787, exploring exhibits focusing on the 13th Amendment, women's rights, civil rights and more, and investigating the American National Tree, which features 100 citizens who have shaped America’s constitutional history.

The virtual field trip will conclude with an interview with Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, Federal Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and former First Lady of Pennsylvania. The co-founder of the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, Judge Rendell has been active in promoting youth interest in government since she was the first lady in Pennsylvania. To register to attend one or both events, or to submit questions to be answered live by Judge Rendell during the broadcast, visit discoveryeducation.com/ConstitutionDay.

To further support participating educators, Discovery Education is also offering a collection of classroom activities related to Constitution Day, including comprehensive pre-and post-event lessons, which educators can utilize to enhance the learning experience and prepare students for the virtual event.

For more information about Discovery Education’s previous virtual field trips and other services and initiatives, visit discoveryeducation.com.

Source: Discovery Education, discoveryeducation.com

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GoGuardian Launches Digital Classroom Solution

GoGuardian, a provider of Chromebook management and protection software for schools, has announced the public launch of GoGuardian for Teachers. GoGuardian for Teachers is a Chromebook-based application that allows teachers to maximize the benefits of digital learning in their classrooms, the announcement states.

As schools across the nation move toward 1:1 programs--named for their mission to give each student his or her own device for classwork and homework--parents and educators are looking for tangible improvements in learning outcomes. Educators and legislators have invested attention and resources into 1:1 programs, citing their potential to close the achievement gap and improve education outcomes for all students. Educators agree that the execution of 1:1 programs determines whether they will have the intended impact which makes the incorporation of devices into classrooms paramount to the success of 1:1 programs.

GoGuardian for Teachers allows teachers to better understand and control the way Chromebooks are used in their classrooms. From a user-friendly portal, teachers are able keep students focused on lessons and resources, direct students to new tabs, and close off-topic tabs on one or multiple devices with the click of a mouse. GoGuardian for Teachers aids classroom focus and communication between teachers and students, increasing the value of other in-class software without interfering with their use.

Features include:

  • Screen Viewer – live stream of students’ screens in a single window

  • Activity Timeline – real-time and historic insight into when, where, and how students are using devices

  • Tab Control – instantly send one or more students to a specific website in a new tab

  • Attention Mode – close tabs, darken screens, or lock devices for “eyes up front” focus

Teachers cited “the ability to track student progress” and “turn classwork assignments into realtime learning experiences.” Teachers also said the insights GoGuardian for Teachers provides creates an “interactive, continuous learning and feedback dynamic,” facilitating “better communication and guidance” between educators and students.

GoGuardian’s first product, GoGuardian for Administrators, provides schools with advanced student safety and device management tools. GoGuardian for Teachers fundamentally changes the educational value of each Chromebook used in schools. By providing educators with an easy-to-use platform that lets them engage with students and promote responsible digital citizenship, they are able to discover how students best learn and adapt to meet their needs.

 Source: GoGuardian, goguardian.com/teachers.html

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