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January 2015 Big Deal Book of Technology
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Big Deal Media K-12 Technology Newsletter

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Assess with Games, Meet Math Mentors, Put History in Context & More

January 5, 2015

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IN THIS ISSUE

Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning" Opportunities

Resource Roundup

Professional Learning Plus

Mobile Learning Journey

STEM Gems

Worth-the-Surf Websites


Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning" Opportunities

Get Started on Growing a Business

Students who are residents of the United States and between the ages of 7 and 14 can enter the Secret Millionaires Club’s fourth annual Grow Your Own Business Challenge. To participate, students need to come up with a concept for a new business, or a twist on an existing idea that changes or improves the business greatly. Students can enter online or by US mail; a parent, teacher or youth group leader can help, or students can enter on their own. Teams of two to four students are also welcome. If they participate as individuals, students can enter as many times as they’d like. Students’ ideas will be evaluated based on the following criteria: uniqueness of concept (40%); depth and description of concept (30%); feasibility of execution of concept (30%). One grand-prize winner and each member of the grand-prize–winning team will receive $5,000 and a trip to the celebration event with a chance to meet Warren Buffet. One teacher/mentor of the grand-prize–winning individual and the grand-prize–winning team will each receive $1,000 and a trip to the celebration event. Prizes will be awarded to finalists as well.

Deadline: January 31, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. (ET)

Click Here for More Information About Challenge

Click Here for More Information About Secret Millionaires Club

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Commend Mutual Respect for All

To recognize, support and encourage the young people of our country who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the cause of positive race relations, Princeton University sponsors an annual awards program for high school students—the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. To be eligible for prizes, including cash awards up to $1,000 for particularly noteworthy work, the applicant must be a high school student involved in an activity that is helping to improve race relations in his or her school or community. The Princeton Prize in Race Relations was created to identify and commend young people who are working to increase understanding and mutual respect among all races.

Deadline: January 31, 2015

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Recognize Excellence in Science Writing

For the fourth consecutive year, Britannica Digital Learning will be a partner company for The DuPont Challenge, an essay contest for middle school and high school students that recognizes excellence in science writing. This year students in kindergarten through grade 5 can also participate in creative, inquiry-based explorations with the help and guidance of their teachers. Britannica will provide a host of prizes to the winners, including a set of educational apps and more than 65 ebooks on scientific topics. The winners’ schools will each receive a year’s subscription to Britannica School and Britannica’s Pathways: Science classroom instructional program. Britannica will also provide prizes to students who earn honorable mentions. The DuPont Challenge winners will be honored at a gala celebration in Orlando, Florida, in the spring. The expenses-paid awards trip will include a stay at the Walt Disney World Resort and a tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. As in previous years, middle school and high school students in the United States, Canada and the US territories are invited to submit essays on a range of science topics.

Deadlines: January 31, 2015, for middle school/high school submissions; March 1, 2015, for elementary division submissions

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Demonstrate Use of Technology to Drive Achievement

Educators can apply to the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program by submitting a 60- to 120-second video showcasing how they are creatively using digital technology and tools in the classroom to drive student achievement and completing a profile and two essay questions. A distinguished panel of judges will select the top 100 applicants as 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators. The selected teachers will be rewarded with yearlong professional development opportunities that include virtual trainings with a focus on innovative instructional strategies and digital best practices, access to premium and exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia Custom Service, invitations to special events, access to a free PBS TeacherLine professional development course, membership into a robust professional learning community and networking opportunities with other innovative educators and thought leaders. In addition, a select top 30 applicants will be designated as Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators and will receive a three-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Philadelphia to participate in the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference from June 26 to 28, 2015. All Lead PBS Digital Innovators will also receive a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Deadline: February 11, 2015

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Tap into Students' Passions for Gaming

The National STEM Video Game Challenge, presented by the Smithsonian Institution in partnership with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and E-Line Media, is open for student submissions of original video games and game designs. The Challenge aims to motivate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning among youth by tapping into their natural passions for playing and making video games. Now in its fourth year, the competition is held in partnership with its founding sponsor, the Entertainment Software Association. This year the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), The Grable Foundation, AARP and Mentor Up have joined the Challenge as key national, regional and thematic sponsors. The National STEM Video Game Challenge is accepting entries from US students in two categories: Middle School and High School. The Middle School category is open to students in grades 5–8, and the High School category is open to students in grades 9–12. Both categories offer entries for individuals and teams of up to four students. Entries can be created using any game creation platform—for example, Gamestar Mechanic, Unity, GameMaker and Scratch—or a written game design concept document. Judges will select winners for each game creation platform in both categories. Each winner will receive computer hardware as well as game design and educational software. Each winner’s sponsoring organization will receive a cash prize of $2,000. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter appear on the Challenge website.

Deadline: February 25, 2015, for entries

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Supplement Your Stretched Budget

GetEdFunding is a free and fresh website sponsored by CDW•G to help educators and institutions find the funds they need in order to supplement their already stretched budgets. GetEdFunding hosts a collection of more than 3,600 (and growing) grants and other funding opportunities culled from federal, state, regional and community sources and available to public and private, preK–12 educators, schools and districts, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations that work with them. GetEdFunding offers customized searches by six criteria, including 43 areas of focus, eight content areas and any of the 21st century themes and skills that support your curriculum. After registering on the site, you can save the grant opportunities of greatest interest and then return to them at any time. This rich resource of funding opportunities is expanded, updated and monitored daily.

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Resource Roundup

Become Proactive in Preventing Bullying

What is the role of young people and adults in preventing and responding to incidents of bullying and ostracism? How can young people and adults make better choices to help create and sustain schools that are safe for everyone? Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism explores issues of bullying and ostracism by looking at a particular incident that occurred at a middle school, primarily involving a group of girls. What started as a small event quickly turned into a serious situation. Explore the case study: read a description of the incident, read/listen to the voices of the girls and one of their teachers, participate in online discussions about the incident and view video clips of experts discussing the issues.

Click Here to Access Free Bullying Prevention Resources

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Build Skills with 3-D Printing

Teachers in the fields of design and manufacturing can now access a free curriculum on 3-D printing. Stratasys has launched a 14-week course designed to help students build skills in personal fabrication. The free curriculum, which includes a curriculum guide, presentations and 3-D models (in the form of STL files and grading tools), is available for download at Stratasys’s website. After completing the course, students will be able to produce a fully functional moving part in a single print; explain current and emerging 3-D printing applications in the manufacturing field; understand the advantages and limitations of each 3-D printing technology; evaluate scenarios and recommend the appropriate use of 3-D printing technology; and identify opportunities to apply 3-D printing technology for time and cost savings.

Click Here to Access Free Curriculum

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Open Portals to Uncharted Worlds

All accredited academic institutions can now receive up to 25 free downloads per school of the award-winning fiction writing game Elegy for a Dead World for use in their school. In Elegy, students explore distant planets inspired by the works of British Romantic-era poets and write fiction about the people who once lived there. Elegy inspires students to write stories, poems and songs by combining a loose narrative framework with hand-painted art and rich soundscapes. In English as a second language (ESL) classes, students practice their grammar skills by entering short phrases into fill-in-the-blank sections that serve as the narrative framework. Dejobaan, the game developer, is working with educators in K–12, ESL and university programs to develop lesson plans. Educators are currently using Elegy as a teaching or learning tool for creative writing, literature, grammar and game design. Elegy for a Dead World will launch in the first quarter of 2015 for PC, Mac and Linux on Steam.

Click Here for More Information

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Relive Historical Events Through Interactive Timelines

HSTRY is a free multimedia timeline creation tool that will work on a laptop, Chromebook, iPad or tablet. With a HSTRY account, you can build timelines in a vertical scroll format similar to that of a Facebook feed. To start the process, decide on a topic and upload a cover photo. To add events to the timeline, just click the “+” symbol and select the type of media that you want to add to your timeline. You can add videos, images, audio and text to the events. Embedded social features promote collaboration and engagement among students. Two features of HSTRY make it stand out. First, as a teacher, you can create an online classroom and view all of your students’ timelines. Second, you can build questions into timelines that you share with your students. You can also build in explanations of the answers to your questions.

Click Here to Access Free Tool

Plus: A featured HSTRY timeline of the History of Immigration in the USA looks at the immigration policies and associated rules put in place, from the forefathers’ first steps to the challenges faced in today’s globalized world. These laws reflect the needs of the time, but they also often represent political statements of peoples’ perceptions, which have cycled back and forth from favorable to hostile.

Click Here to Access Sample Timeline

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Professional Learning Plus

Take Mobile Learning to the Next Level

The Verizon Mobile Learning Academy (VMLA) is free for select K–12 schools and districts that are committed to reshaping education—but it’s not your typical professional learning experience. It’s rigorous and intense, and there’s no phoning in. Successful completion entails an average individual workload of about 2.5 hours per week over 10 weeks; successful completion also entails at least eight group assignments, including a capstone project, and active participation in the VMLA Google+ community. The Verizon Mobile Learning Academy is accepting applications for sessions starting on January 12, July 20 and October 5, 2015. To apply, create a team of five to 10 educators from your school or district—including at least one administrator, one tech coach (or equivalent) and three to eight teachers—who are actively engaged in your mobile learning initiative. Eligible teams will be from a K–12 public school (including charter schools), public school district or private school with 501(c)(3) status, located within the United States or a US territory and currently using mobile technologies in classrooms.

Click Here to Sign Up for Mobile Learning Academy

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Ensure Smooth Implementation of Digital Learning

SETDA recently launched The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning (GIDL), a free web-based resource to support school and district leaders as they work to ensure that investments in digital learning spark positive results. GIDL includes six topic areas: planning, professional learning, content and software, broadband, devices and tech support. Each topic’s section provides background information, key considerations for implementation, resources and exemplars of digital learning in action.

Click Here to Access Free Digital Learning Guide

Plus: SETDA will host a free webinar for educators and other interested parties on January 15, 2015, at 2 p.m. (ET). The webinar will feature insights of state educational technology leaders on effective digital learning implementation and best ways to use The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning.

Click Here to Reserve a Seat at the Webinar

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Mobile Learning Journey

Bridge the Gap Between Science and Education

Lab4U has developed several Android apps designed to equip students and teachers with affordable science tools. The apps utilize sensors within mobile phones and other devices to allow the user to conduct an array of experiments, all with one smartphone. For example, Lab4Physics enhances students’ understanding of the laws of physics by conducting a range of experiments through the use of built-in mobile sensors from a smartphone. Through the use of these sensors, students can easily measure, graph and analyze the changes in physical properties. Lab4Solar allows students to view and explore their way through an illustration of the solar system. Cost: Free

Click Here to Access Physics App

Click Here to Access Solar System App

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Let Imagination Run Wild

Animation Desk for Kids is an iPad app for creating short, animated videos. The app allows students to create drawings using just their finger on their tablet’s screen. Students can create up to 50 scenes in each of their projects. In each scene, they can include as little or as much as they want to draw on the canvas. They can also use different brush and pencil effects in their drawings. The opacity of the colors they choose can be altered too. When they have completed drawing all of their scenes, students simply hit the “Play” button to watch their animations unfold. If they’re happy with their animations, they can export them to YouTube. They can also export all of their drawings as a set of PDFs. Cost: $2.99

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Access iPad App

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STEM Gems

Connect Students with Math Professionals

Mathematical Circles are a form of education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with precollege students. These students, and sometimes their teachers, meet with mathematical professionals in an informal setting, after school or on weekends, to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics. Originally inspired by the problem-discussion approach to math education, Math Circles can have a variety of styles. Some are informal, with the learning proceeding through games, stories or hands-on activities. Others are more traditional enrichment classes, but without formal exams. Some have a strong emphasis on preparing for Olympiad competitions; some avoid competition as much as possible. Models can use any combination of these techniques, depending on the audience, the mathematician and the environment of the circle. However, one thing all math circles have in common is that students enjoy learning mathematics, and the circle gives them a social context in which to do so. To find a Math Circle near you, visit the website of the National Association of Math Circles (NAMC). The website also provides a tutorial that will assist you in the process of learning how to contribute to the National Association of Math Circles Wiki. You’ll also find a listing of Math Circle activities, problem sets and lesson plans.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Find a Math Circle Near You

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Sustain Interest in STEM Subjects

Sally Ride EarthKAM aims to spark student interest in STEM subjects through photographing Earth from space. During a Sally Ride EarthKAM mission, students at participating middle schools log in to the EarthKAM website and request images based on their classroom work. Their requests are processed at the Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Operations Center, and following the mission, students can see the images online. More than 500,000 students, representing thousands of schools in 78 countries, have participated in EarthKAM since the program began in 1995, and they have taken more than 69,000 images of Earth. The program is part of Sally Ride Science, which was created by Ride, America’s first woman in space, to help educators in grades 3–8 create and sustain student interest in STEM topics and careers.

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Trace Professional Paths in Engineering

Created by the American Society for Engineering Education, Engineering, Go For It (eGFI) aims to foster educational and pre-professional interest in engineering and other STEM subjects from kindergarten through high school. In addition to information on the myriad branches of the engineering field—from biomedical to computer to mechanical and beyond—the site features descriptions of professional paths for each, including profiles of real people at work in the field.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Assess Physics Learning Through Gameplay

A professor of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems and her colleagues at Florida State University have designed Physics Playground to teach and assess two-dimensional physics simulations dealing with Newton’s Laws of Motion—concepts such as gravity, mass, momentum and energy. Embedded in the game are assessments for creativity, conscientiousness and physics understanding. The game has a simple objective: get the green ball to hit the red balloon. The ball and balloon are placed in various locations on the screen, sometimes with obstacles in between, and students have to draw “agents of motion,” such as levers, springboards, pendulums or ramps, to get the ball to hit the red balloon. To increase the level of difficulty and receive more points, students can solve the problems using fewer agents to accomplish a task. Other times, difficulty is added if a level looks completely different from the previous levels. When students start the game, the computer doesn’t know whether the student is at a high, medium or low level, but once the game starts accumulating evidence, the student’s level shifts. If a student solves a problem with the pendulum and then with a lever, the computer keeps track and builds a model of the learner. The game tracks how long it takes the student to complete the problem, how many times the student attempted it, what physics concept the student used and whether the student was able to complete it well enough to get a gold or silver trophy. The problems have no one “right” answer.

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Worth-the-Surf Websites

Investigate the Signing of a Historic Document

The Digital Declaration of Independence is an interactive display of John Trumbull’s painting Declaration of Independence. It also includes a scan of the text of the Declaration of Independence and a map of the hometowns of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. When viewing the Digital Declaration of Independence, students will see a highlighted image of each person’s head. Clicking on a highlighted image will take them to that person’s name and signature on the Declaration, his hometown on a map and a short biography.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Bring 3-D Technology into the Classroom

For students who are investigating science and engineering concepts or exploring history, the Smithsonian Institution now provides digitized three-dimensional models of artifacts from its collections to support “making” in the classroom. The Smithsonian x3D initiative employs multiple 3-D capture methods to allow users to rotate, measure and explore every nook and cranny of an object online. The website features a 3-D viewer that is compatible with most web browsers, with a few modifications, as well as Android devices. Teachers will find models ranging from a woolly mammoth skeleton to the Wright flyer. These two examples alone provide gateways for both history and science exploration, with hooks for discussing biology, paleontology, engineering, physics, math and history—making the x3D browser a valuable interdisciplinary tool. Students can also download the digitized scans and print them on a 3-D printer. They can then explore the physical models kinesthetically or innovate by altering them to become inventors and creators themselves.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Develop Students' Passion for Curiosity

Since 1986 the Princeton University Press and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to whom Albert Einstein bequeathed his copyright, have been engaged in a mammoth effort to study some 80,000 documents he left behind. Now anyone with an Internet connection will be able to share in the letters, papers, postcards, notebooks and diaries that Einstein left scattered in Princeton and in other archives, attics and shoeboxes around the world when he died in 1955. Visitors to the new Digital Einstein website will be able to toggle between the English and German versions of the texts. They can dance among Einstein’s love letters, his divorce file, his high school transcript, the notebook in which he worked out his general theory of relativity and letters to his lifelong best friend, Michele Besso, among many other possibilities. The 14th volume, with more than 1,000 documents, is due in January 2015.

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Provide Context for Significant Historical Events

Last spring ContextU launched as a site to provide students with greater context for significant events in United States history. In September the site expanded to include more content on the American Revolution. In November it expanded again to provide content on the period between George Washington’s and Andrew Jackson’s presidencies. Just like the other sections of ContextU, the “New Nation” section features a contents listing from which students can select an event, person or theme to see in the context of other events and themes. Through timelines, Google maps, diagrams, flow charts and text, ContextU provides context for each chosen event, piece of legislation or theme. Students can navigate from event to event or from theme to theme by following the hyperlinks within each diagram.

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