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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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October 05, 2016

Table of Contents

Capstone Launches Webinar Series on Integrating Technology into Upper Elementary Classrooms
ThinkCERCA Launches Online Resource for Teaching the Election
Mojo Learning/Reading Kingdom Releases ASD Reading 2.0 for Children With Autism
PBS Series NOVA Launches NOVA Black Holes App for iPad
Gale Brings Smithsonian Treasures to Middle and High School Classrooms

Capstone Launches Webinar Series on Integrating Technology into Upper Elementary Classrooms

pivotEd, Capstone’s newest digital curriculum offering, has announced its free, three-part leadership webinar series, “Structures for Success: Accelerate Learning in the Digital Rich Classroom.” The series highlights practical strategies for administrators to integrate technology into upper elementary classrooms while supporting instruction and creating a bridge to fuller understanding.

The series begins October 6, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. CST with Building a Strong Foundation for Launch. The webinar will feature Rob Dickson, Omaha Public Schools’ Executive Director of Information Management Systems; and Keegan Korf, the lead teacher of digital citizenship at Omaha Public Schools. Attendees will explore the nature of an educator’s relationship with digital technology in the classroom and discuss strategies for building the culture of a classroom around devices to facilitate learning.

The second webinar, Elevating Literacy Instruction in a Student-Centered Classroom, features Shaelynn Farnsworth, an education services consultant and certified Google Innovator. With her strong educational background, Farnsworth will hone in on how to pair intentional technology integration with best practices in literacy. This session will take place October 25, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. CST.

The final session will feature ISTE award-winning author, digital educator, and virtual instructor Bernajean Porter. This session, Return-on-Learning [ROL]: Rejuvenating Possibilities for Learners, will explore the new opportunities digital technology offers for storytelling. Porter will emphasize the importance of making technology choices that produce the highest learning for the time spent, as well as practical, getting-started strategies. This webinar will take place November 22, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. CST.

“Our goal with these webinars is to give administrators a strong foundation to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms, regardless of how much experience they’ve had with technology in the past,” said Matt Keller, Capstone’s chief marketing officer. “We want to give schools the tools they need to seamlessly integrate devices into the classroom culture, so students are deepening their understanding of the curriculum and taking responsibility for their own learning.”

pivotEd uses Captsone’s content and includes more than 500 pre-built science, social studies, and language arts lessons for students in grades 3–6. With pivotEd, teachers use lessons to take control of the classroom and save hours of time spent preparing lessons.

To learn more about pivotEd, please visit

Source: Capstone,

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ThinkCERCA Launches Online Resource for Teaching the Election

ThinkCERCA, a provider of personalized literacy solutions, has announced the launch of Teach the Election, an online information hub that features material educators can use to get students thinking critically about the 2016 election. The site provides teachers with weekly prompts for helping students debate what the candidates are saying in the news, as well as curated differentiated lessons for educating students about the election issues.

In one location, teachers can also access election resources, tips from fellow teachers, downloadable teaching resources (including graphic organizers for sparking classroom discussion and debate), and an election-focused argumentative writing poster.

ThinkCERCA’s lessons focus on critical thinking and argumentation, two powerful skills needed for civic engagement. By reading authentic and appropriately leveled texts about economics, energy policy, criminal justice, immigration, and more, students engage with issues of national and global importance, evaluate the evidence presented, and argue their point of view through writing, discussion, and debate. By learning to make an effective, civil argument, students will be well prepared not just for college and career, but also for civic life.

Source: ThinkCERCA,

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Mojo Learning/Reading Kingdom Releases ASD Reading 2.0 for Children With Autism

Mojo Learning has announced the release of ASD Reading 2.0, a major upgrade to its online reading and writing program for children with autism. The new ASD Reading update includes a number of enhancements and the addition of a new comprehension format called Query Quest.

It's well known that children with autism have significant reading comprehension problems. Even when the children decode well, they often fail to understand the meaning. At the heart of this problem are two key language skills that typically receive minimal attention: 1) use of well-structured sentences and 2) ability to answer questions. Query Quest addresses these critical language components through a set of uniquely designed activities that teach students to understand and answer, in complete sentences, questions that systematically increase in complexity. Mastery of these neglected skills makes reading comprehension a reality. No other program offers this type of instruction, according to the announcement.

The Query Quest format was underwritten by a significant donation from the Walling family. In explaining his family's donation, Andrew Walling said, "ASD Reading has transformed our relationship with our daughter, Kate. Its reading and writing programs helped her develop critical communication and problem solving skills. Now Kate reads and spells at or above grade level and we can 'talk' with her about her interests and feelings via writing. It has allowed us to recognize her true potential." Kate's grandfather, Buzz Walling, added, "It has truly been a blessing to watch Kate develop a mastery of written language and to communicate with my granddaughter. We are so grateful to Dr. Blank and her team for developing this innovative way for children on the autism spectrum to learn reading and writing skills and are thrilled to have funded it."

ASD Reading ( is a literacy and language program for children with autism - including those who are non-verbal. It was developed by Dr. Marion Blank, who created and served as Co-Director of the Columbia University Developmental Neuropsychiatry Program for Autism, and her son, Jonathan Blank, an award-winning software developer.

Mojo Learning Inc. develops cutting-edge educational software and products including, an online reading program for neurotypical children, and

Source: Mojo Learning Inc./Reading Kingdom,

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PBS Series NOVA Launches NOVA Black Holes App for iPad

The PBS science series NOVA, a production of WGBH Boston, has announced the launch of the NOVA Black Holes App for iPad. The app?, available for free from iTunes?, challenges players to hurl stars through the universe at celestial targets in a quest to earn a star that?'s big and bright enough to go supernova and collapse into a black hole.

Hosted by astrophysicist Janna Levin, the game takes players 4 billion years into the future, at a time when our own Milky Way galaxy is colliding with the Andromeda galaxy. Given a star born out of this cosmic storm, the player?s mission is to set the speed and trajectory of this star to hit its target. The game grows more complicated through more than 50 levels, as the user must navigate increasingly challenging sets of orbital patterns while meeting new cosmic objects?, including small but dense neutron stars, massive blue supergiant stars, white dwarf stars, and both stellar and supermassive black holes. The player can use gravitational assists from these and other objects to slingshot around the galaxy, but must detect and avoid invisible black holes that will shred the player's star if it gets too close.

The NOVA Black Hole App allows players to:
-- Learn about orbital dynamics and gravity, the science behind black hole detection, gravitational waves, and more
-- Play over 50 game levels powered by a real physics engine
-- Earn 12 game badges like the ?Black Hole Breakfast? badge, which is awarded once the player?s star gets devoured by a black hole ten times during the game
-- Watch videos about what happens to the core of a star as it ages and eventually becomes a black hole

A special two-hour NOVA film hosted by Janna Levin about Black Holes is slated to air on PBS in 2017. At that time, the NOVA Black Holes App will be updated so users can stream the documentary from the app.

The Black Holes App is the second app to be created by NOVA, joining the NOVA Elements App released in March 2012. Downloaded 2.4 million times since its launch, the Elements App lets users explore an interactive periodic table, build the elements, play a game hosted by technology columnist David Pogue, and watch the two-hour NOVA film,Hunting the Elements.

The NOVA Black Holes App is available for free from iTunes. To watch a preview trailer of the App, visit

Source: PBS,

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Gale Brings Smithsonian Treasures to Middle and High School Classrooms

National and state curriculum standards require primary sources to be incorporated into history classes, but material is often scattered and time-consuming for educators to gather. With the launch of Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Gale brings together 1,800 digital primary sources, including documents, maps, historical objects and more from the museums and archives of the Smithsonian, as well as from Gale’s own collections. These curated materials help libraries provide a one-stop resource to save educators’ time while satisfying curriculum requirements and enhancing the study of U.S. history.

Designed for daily use by both teachers and students, Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History supports core and Advanced Placement U.S. history programs. Primary source images are curated by scholars at the Smithsonian – experts who have a unique knowledge of U.S. history and can link students to artifacts that enrich their learning. Content is aligned to curriculum by Gale’s expert editorial staff, who have crafted new and unique overviews, quick facts, and critical thinking questions to accompany each artifact.

Gale’s user-tested platform for Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History is integrated with Google Apps for Education tools and Microsoft Office 365. From their Gale resources, users can login using their Google or Microsoft account and save, share, and download content (including bookmarks and their personal highlights and notes) to Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail. With Google Classroom, teachers can also easily integrate and share content with their students for classroom assignments.

For more information on Gale’s Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, visit

Source: Cengage Learning/Gale, or

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