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

View Current Issue
View Past Issues
April 19, 2016

Table of Contents

Discovery Education Offers Free Virtual Field Trip Marking 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Birth
Follett Acquires Baker & Taylor
littleBits’ STEAM Products for Schools and Libraries Now Available
Tech-Savvy Teachers Honored in 4th Annual PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program
Infobase Relaunches New and Improved Science Online

Discovery Education Offers Free Virtual Field Trip Marking 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Birth

Discovery Education has announced it will host an exclusive virtual field trip for students around the world commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. On April 22 at 9:30 AM EST, this unique learning experience will transport students to England to celebrate the life and legacy of the world’s greatest playwright, enriching Social Studies and English Language Arts lessons with compelling and valuable insight into his life and work.

Hosted by British television presenter Diane-Louise Jordan, the virtual field trip will guide students on a journey through Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, giving them the chance to take an exclusive tour around his birthplace. Appropriate for students grades K-12, the program will visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall, where the young author was inspired to create some of the greatest works of English literature. During this visit, participating classrooms will witness a re-enacted Tudor lesson, and be among the first to ‘step inside’ the newly renovated 600-year-old school building, which has been described by historian Michael Wood as “one of the most atmospheric, magical and important in the whole of Britain.”

After visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, students will travel to London, where they will learn about Shakespeare’s life in the Tudor capital through a tour of some of the city’s hidden Shakespeare locations, ending at the famous Globe Theatre where his plays were staged. Participating classrooms will see The Bard’s work brought to life as they watch local students perform scenes from Macbeth, and hear how the themes of Shakespeare’s work are still relevant today.

The virtual event will also feature an interview with actor Ian McKellen, one of the world’s leading Shakespearean actors. McKellen will discuss his passion for pupils experiencing the power of Shakespeare and seeing his plays performed on stage as they were intended to be. Classrooms across the country are invited to register at no cost by visiting

For more information about Discovery Education’s many virtual field trips and other services and initiatives, visit

Source: Discovery Education,

Back to Contents...

Follett Acquires Baker & Taylor

Follett Corporation has announced it has acquired Baker & Taylor, LLC, the leading distributor of books, video and music products to public libraries and institutions, and a major wholesaler to retailers worldwide. With combined sales of $3.6 billion, the two businesses will offer librarians, patrons, educators and students access to the best curated physical and digital content wherever learning and reading take place in the community, the announcement states.

Follett is a top provider of technology, services and print and digital content to PreK-12 libraries, schools and higher education institutions. Baker & Taylor, based in Charlotte, N.C., will continue to operate as before, serving customers through its existing management team and business operations.

“Acquiring Baker & Taylor marks a major milestone for Follett that expands the possibilities of our two businesses,” said Todd A. Litzsinger, Chairman of Follett. “Through our support of schools, public libraries, colleges, local bookstores and retailers, our teams are uniquely positioned to help communities everywhere strengthen literacy and learning. On behalf of the Follett family, I’m excited and proud to welcome the Baker & Taylor team to Follett.”

“The capabilities, expertise, and technologies of Follett and Baker & Taylor are very complementary, making this a natural partnership of two trusted industry leaders,” said Ray A. Griffith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Follett. “Our unique insights, curated content and innovative services will help librarians and educators more effectively meet the evolving learning needs of their communities.”

George F. Coe, Baker & Taylor’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will continue to lead the business as Follett Group President, Baker & Taylor and Follett School Solutions, reporting directly to Griffith. “George brings decades of industry leadership and relationships to Follett that will benefit our own school library and PreK-12 business as well,” added Griffith.

Coe joined Baker & Taylor in 2000, and was instrumental in developing Baker & Taylor's Customized Library Services, Digital Media and eContent Platform Delivery Services and outsourcing capabilities in Collection Development Services.

“This strategic combination brings together the two best teams in the public and school library sectors with capabilities uniquely focused on supporting lifelong learning,” said Coe. “With Follett’s commitment to education and strong financial ability to invest in Baker & Taylor, we expect to build on our long-term vision for content distribution and expand the flow of innovative products, programs and services for all of our customers worldwide.”

Follett also announced today that Nader Qaimari has been promoted to President of Follett School Solutions, reporting to Coe. Qaimari was named General Manager of Follett’s PreK-12 business in October of 2015.

In addition to providing customers access to curated content from thousands of publishers and sources, Follett and Baker & Taylor are recognized leaders in the delivery of library management and collection development technology tools to public and school libraries.

Baker & Taylor:

* Title Source 360 is the next generation collection development, selection and ordering tool for library and retail customers.

* Axis 360 is a digital media library and circulation tool that gives public librarians the ability to share digital content throughout the community.

* CollectionHQ is a professional tool librarians use to develop and improve their collections.


* Destiny Library Manager is the leading library management solution trusted by 60,000 PreK-12 schools. Follett Destiny centralizes access to enriched, educator-reviewed digital content and tools that help school librarians, staff and students locate and share resources with ease.

* Titlewave is the most powerful PreK-12 curriculum support and ordering tool and the top choice of school librarians for educationally-relevant and curated content, including print books, ebooks, databases and multimedia.

Eventually, the company expects to leverage the best of these technologies and other capabilities to drive greater innovation and value for public and school library, classroom, retail and college bookstore customers.

Source: Follett Corporation,

Back to Contents...

littleBits’ STEAM Products for Schools and Libraries Now Available

littleBits, a technology startup that is bringing STEAM education and invention-based learning to students, has announced that its newest suite of products designed for educators is now available. The new littleBits STEAM products, aligned with NSTA Next Generation Science Standards and developed with a committee of “power” educators, are meant to help both young boys and girls get excited about invention, feel confident in their ability to problem-solve, and develop skills that are essential to the jobs of today as well as those of tomorrow.

Following its debut at SXSWedu in March, the littleBits STEAM Student Set is now available for purchase online at and in Barnes & Noble stores across the country. The littleBits STEAM Student Set engages a student’s natural love of play and curiosity through invention-based learning. The toolbox supports learners in grades 3-8 with 19 Bits--littleBits’ electronic building blocks--plus 38 accessories, a 72-page Student Invention Guide and a comprehensive littleBits Teacher’s Guide with detailed companion lessons, implementation strategies, curricular connections and more.

littleBits has also launched littleBits STEAM PD, a hands-on professional development course that equips educators with all of the skills they need to bring littleBits and STEAM teaching to the classroom. littleBits STEAM PD is an online course for teachers and administrators looking for instruction on how to add fun and hands-on STEAM learning to their 3rd-8th grade curriculum. Experienced STEAM educators and newbies alike walk away with the tools to create lessons that are customized for their students and engage them in collaboration and problem-solving. The self-paced, interactive course encourages self-reflection with a customized action plan for every participant. Educators receive a PDU (Professional Development Unit) certificate upon completion.

littleBits has introduced littleBits STEAM Education Class Packs, collections of STEAM Student Sets that support groups of 16, 24 and 32 learners in grades 3-8. littleBits STEAM Education Class Packs include tackle boxes for easy storage as well as comprehensive student and teacher guides to provide an ideal invention-based learning tool for the classroom, both for self-guided instruction and group collaboration.


littleBits STEAM Student Set

Release: April 2016

MSRP: $299.95, 5% Discount for Educators

Ages: 8+

Available: Online at, in-store exclusively at Barnes & Noble and for educational institutions via CDW•G

littleBits STEAM Education Class Packs

Collections of STEAM Student Sets with tackle boxes for easy storage that support groups of 16, 24 and 32 learners in grades 3-8. Customized solutions are available for larger classroom sizes. Call (917) 464-4577 to speak to a littleBits education expert.

Ages: 8+

Release: April 2016

Available:, CDW•G

 For 16 Students (includes 4 littleBits STEAM Student Sets and 1 Tackle Box)

MSRP: $1,199.95, 5% Discount for Educators

For 24 Students (includes 6 littleBits STEAM Student Sets and 2 Tackle Boxes)
MSRP: $1,779.95, 5% Discount for Educators

For 32 Students (includes 8 littleBits STEAM Student Sets and 3 Tackle Boxes)
MSRP: $2,349.95, 5% Discount for Educators

littleBits STEAM PD

A 6-hour online professional development course that supports teachers integrating STEAM into their classrooms, providing a PDU certificate upon completion

MSRP: $199.95, 5% Discount for Educators


Source: littleBits,

Back to Contents...

Tech-Savvy Teachers Honored in 4th Annual PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program

PBS has announced the members of the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program, now in its fourth year. PBS LearningMedia, the free media on-demand service that offers more than 120,000 digital resources for teachers, is honoring educators from across the country who exemplify excellence in using technology and digital media to support student learning. A panel of esteemed judges selected 52 educators from throughout the U.S, its territories and the District of Columbia, as Lead Innovators, representing almost every state and Washington D.C., a first in the program’s history.

The 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators are awarded with year-long professional development opportunities, virtual trainings, exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia Custom, a free PBS TeacherLine professional development course, networking opportunities and more. Additionally, the 52 Lead Digital Innovators will receive an all-expense paid trip to Denver, Colorado to participate in the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

The 2016 Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators are listed below (along with their schools and local PBS stations). The full list of PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators is available at

• Nira Dale – Florence City Schools, Florence, Alabama (Alabama Public Television)
• Larissa Wright-Elson – South Anchorage High School, Anchorage, Alaska (Alaska Public Media)
• Kaci Heins – Northland Preparatory Academy, Flagstaff, Arizona (Eight, Arizona PBS)
• Mary Beth Hatch – Harrison Junior High School, Harrison, Arkansas (AETN)
• Margaret Agbowo – Berkeley Technology Academy, Berkeley, California (KQED)
• Andrea Adams – Skyview Middle School, Colorado Springs, Colorado (Rocky Mountain PBS)
• Leon Tynes – Engineering and Science University Magnet School, New Haven, Connecticut (Connecticut Public Television)
• Jennifer Guido – Richard Shields Elementary School, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (WHYY)
• Blair Mishleau – KIPP DC Heights Academy, Washington, District of Columbia (WHUT)
• Dan Koch – Citrus Springs Middle School, Citrus Springs, Florida (WUFT)
• Shana White – Creekland Middle School, Lawrenceville, Georgia (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
• Liz Castillo – Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii (Hawaii PBS)
• John Stegmaier – Timberline High School, Boise, Idaho (Idaho Public Television)
• Aleta Garrett – City Incite for CPS High Schools, Chicago, Illinois (WTTW)
• Jared Knipper – Syracuse Elementary, Syracuse, Indiana (WNIT)
• Joseph McCright – Stowe Elementary School, Des Moines, Iowa (Iowa Public Television)
• Todd Flory – Wheatland Elementary School, Wichita, Kansas (KPTS)
• James Wampler – Shelby County High School, Louisville, Kentucky (KET)
• Cassie Krause – SciTech Academy, New Orleans, Louisiana (WYES)
• Beth Heidemann – Cushing Community School, Rockland, Maine (MPBN)
• Marcia Porter – Lockerman Middle School, Denton, Maryland (Maryland Public Television)
• Michelle Read – Oak Middle School, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (WGBH)
• Andrew Hopkins – Tyrone Elementary School, Harper Woods, Michigan (Detroit Public TV)
• Jesse Buetow – Randolph Heights Elementary School, St. Paul, Minnesota (Twin Cities Public Television)
• Carmen Christmas – Quitman County Middle School, Cleveland, Mississippi (Mississippi Public Broadcasting)
• Chantell Mason – Iveland Elementary, St. Louis, Missouri (Nine Network)
• Shelly Stanton – Billings Public Schools, Billings, Montana (Montana PBS)
• Andrew Easton – Westside High School, Omaha, Nebraska (NET)
• Casey Korder – Claude & Stella Parson Elementary School, Omaha, Nebraska (NET)
• Patrick Kaplo – Windham High School, Windham, New Hampshire (New Hampshire Public Television)
• Steve Isaacs – William Annin Middle School, Basking Ridge, New Jersey (NJTV/WNET)
• Dominic Pettine – Washington Middle School, Albuquerque, New Mexico (New Mexico PBS)
• Katie Jacobsen – Hamilton Central School, Hamilton, New York (WCNY)

• Rebecca Goddard – Bostian Elementary School, China Grove, North Carolina (UNC)
• Kayla Delzer – Legacy Elementary School, West Fargo, North Dakota (Prairie Public Television)
• Kevin Cornell, Ed. S. – Beavercreek City Schools, Beavercreek, Ohio (ThinkTV)
• Drew Robinson – Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa, Oklahoma (OETA)
• Ryan Wiggins – Juniper Elementary, Bend, Oregon (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
• Joseph Welch – North Hills Middle School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (WQED)
• Glenda Lozada – Josefina Marrero Febus Elementary School, Naranjito, Puerto Rico (WMJT Sistema)
• Roberto Gonzalez – Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, Riverside, Rhode Island (Rhode Island PBS)
• Carla Jefferson – Darlington County School District, Florence, South Carolina (SCETV)
• Heidi Coffin – Badger Clark Elementary, Box Elder, South Dakota (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)
• Wanda Terral – Lakeland Elementary School, Memphis, Tennessee (WKNO)
• Lisa Johnson – Westlake High School, Austin, Texas (KLRU)
• Sean D’Abbraccio – Gifft Hill School, St. John, United States Virgin Islands (WTJX Virgin Islands)
• Linda Davis – Hillside Middle School, Salt Lake City, Utah (KUED)
• Matt Neckers – Green Mountain Technology and Career Center (GMTCC), Eden, Vermont (Vermont PBS)
• Jacqueline Firster – Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington, Virginia (WETA)
• Michelle Zimmerman – Renton Preparatory Christian School, Renton, Washington (KCTS9)
• Rebecca Recco – Edgewood Elementary, Charleston, West Virginia (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
• Laura Busch – Blair Elementary, Waukesha, Wisconsin (Milwaukee Public Television/WI Media Lab)

In order to gain a better understanding of the effect that PBS digital resources have on student knowledge and engagement, PBS recently conducted a study of middle school science, math, English language arts, and social studies classrooms where resources available through PBS LearningMedia were integrated into existing curriculum. The PBS LearningMedia Impact Study, conducted by Education Development Center’s Center for Children and Technology, showed that across subject areas, student performance on content assessments showed significant improvement, increasing by eight percentage points. In addition, students outperformed national assessment norms by 10 percentage points, on average, and outperformed state assessment norms, by an average of 11 percentage points. For more information and to view the full study, please read the PBS Learn More Report.

Source: PBS LearningMedia,

Back to Contents...

Infobase Relaunches New and Improved Science Online

Infobase has announced the complete revision and upgrade of its acclaimed Science Online database. Rebuilt from the ground up, this resource now features a new, dynamic design and a wealth of new content and features that powerfully facilitate STEM research and learning.

The relaunch brings with it a fresh new home page with quick and easy access to the core areas of the database, with key content handpicked by Infobase’s editors to guide and inform research. New, editorially curated Topic Centers provide virtual study guides and comprehensive coverage of the most studied science disciplines. New, interactive experiments replicate the in-class laboratory experience in a safe and user-friendly environment. The database now includes the full, updated content from Infobase’s unique, award-winning science eLearning Modules, including Instructor Support materials. And these are just a few of the many extensive enhancements made to aid users in their research, study, and exploration of science.

Here are some highlights of the relaunch:

* New, dynamic design that facilitates STEM research and learning

* New, editorially curated Topic Centers on a variety of core science disciplines to help users find a starting point for their research. Each Topic Center includes Suggested Reading and Suggested Searches that showcase the best resources for each topic, plus videos, animations, searchable timelines, and related visual resources such as diagrams and tables

* New, focused eLearning Modules—the full, updated content of nine science eLearning Modules—Biomes of the Earth, Energy and the Environment, Essential Chemistry, Genetics and Evolution, Global Warming, Green Technology, The Human Body: How It Works, Physics in Action, and The Plant World—that provide targeted coverage of a variety of core curriculum topics along with important instructor resources

* Hundreds of new videos and animations that reinforce visual learning and provide convenient overviews; accessible for all types of learners; can be used in class or assigned for flipped classrooms

* New, interactive experiments that replicate the in-class laboratory experience in a safe and user-friendly environment

* A wealth of new and updated content

* New curriculum tools and comprehensive sources index

* New and improved search options

* Additional video player tools

* New tag “clouds” for all content, linking to other content with the same tags

* Dynamic citations in MLA, Chicago, and APA formats, with EasyBib export functionality

* Real-time, searchable Reuters® newsfeed

* Google Translate and Read Aloud capability.

Source: Infobase,

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