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March 2014 Big Deal Book of Technology eNewsletter
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Deliver Digital Content, Collaborate in Problem-Based Learning & More - Big Deal Media
Big Deal Media K-12 Technology Newsletter

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Deliver Digital Content, Collaborate in Problem-Based Learning & More

February 28, 2014

In Partnership With:

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IN THIS ISSUE

Grants, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities

Resource Roundup

Powered-Up Professional Development

Mobile Learning Journey

STEM Gems

"Worth-the-Surf" Websites


Grants, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities

Recognize Outstanding Math and Science Teachers

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. The 2014 awards will honor mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers working in kindergarten through grade 6. Recipients of the award will receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Nominees must be US citizens teaching in a public or private school with at least five years’ experience teaching math or science at K–6.

Deadline: April 1, 2014, for nominations

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Take Part in Online Collaborative Projects

Interested in problem-based learning? Encourage students to find a solution to a real-world problem for the third annual global Spark!Lab Invent IT Challenge, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and ePals. Individuals or groups and teams may participate in the challenge, which is organized around four age groups: 5–7, 8–10, 11–13, 14 and above. Each challenge entry must identify a real-world problem and demonstrate at least the following four Spark!Lab Key Steps of the Invention Process: (1) Think It: come up with a great idea for an invention; (2) Explore It: investigate inventions and ideas of the past; (3) Sketch It: draw pictures and diagrams to figure out how the invention might work; and (4) Sell It: market the invention to people who might buy it. The real-world problem may be one that everyone in students’ neighborhood faces, something that all their friends complain about or an issue they talk about where they live. It could also be about a bigger, global problem that affects many people. The entry must describe how students help to solve the problem by inventing something new.

Deadlines: April 11, 2014, for submissions; May 2, 2014, announcement of winners

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Revitalize Your Math and Science Programs

Each year Dominion offers educational partnership grants that provide elementary and secondary educators in targeted areas with the tools they need to revitalize their math and science programs. In the area of K–12 education, Dominion accepts grant applications, up to $10,000, to encourage the development of new programs to strengthen math and science education through the study of energy or the environment. Public and private elementary and secondary schools and public school divisions that are registered with the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) are invited to apply. Successful grant proposals should represent innovative and promising ideas, address math and/or science skills, reach a significant number of students and demonstrate broad-based community support.

Deadlines: Applications (now available) due by 5 p.m., May 1, 2014; notification to all applicants, July 16, 2014; public announcement, September 1, 2014

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Celebrate Creativity While Building Literacy Skills

PBS KIDS has announced its annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest for kindergarteners and first, second and third graders. The contest encourages children to celebrate their creativity while building literacy skills by writing and illustrating their own stories. PBS stations throughout the country and community-based organizations will work together to present the PBS KIDS Writers Contest in local communities. Stations will select local winners who then move on to the national level, where a panel of judges will select national winners. Entries will be judged on originality, creative expression, storytelling and integration of text and illustrations. National prizes include tablet computers for four first-place winners, e-readers for four second-place winners and MP3 players for four third-place winners.

Deadline: Contest began in January 2014 and will end with the announcement of national winners on or about July 1, 2014. Contact your local PBS station for exact local contest dates.

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Become Part of Space History

NASA and Lockheed Martin are developing the Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit and onto an asteroid or Mars. NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge is open for K–12 students to research and design ways to protect astronauts from space radiation. Youth may participate in a variety of settings: classrooms, home school, after-school clubs, summer camps, groups (such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H), museums, science centers, libraries, families, neighborhoods and individuals. The materials for the challenge are inexpensive and readily available. Students can work in teams or alone to test materials and design a simple shield using those materials. Each group must have an adult to serve as a mentor, educator or group leader. Adult leaders may be teachers, parents, college students or volunteers. Adult sponsors may register multiple groups throughout the duration of the challenge. All participants in the challenge, which includes students from around the world, will have their names flown onboard the Orion as honorary crewmembers.

Deadlines: Students may complete the challenge at any time. Deadline to submit student names for the virtual crew is June 30, 2014. For names to be added to the virtual crew list, students must complete their work by July 31, 2014.

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Inspire the Next Generation of Innovators

Destination Imagination (DI) is a nonprofit, volunteer-led organization that aims to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Annually DI offers seven new standards-based challenges in STEM, Improv, Visual Arts, Service Learning and Early Learning. Each challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. In working to solve the challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths. Up to seven members can be on a team, and students from kindergarten through university level can participate. Each of the challenges is developed by a team of educators and industry experts who target a particular area of the curriculum and its related standards of content and performance. The areas of focus include Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Structural and Service Learning. There is also a noncompetitive Early Learning challenge that allows participants to develop social and problem-solving skills. For more information on getting started, visit the “Start a Team” page.

Click Here for More Information About the Challenges

Click Here to Visit “Start a Team” Page

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Supplement Your Stretched Budget

GetEdFunding is CDW-G’s website to help educators and institutions find the funds they need to supplement already stretched budgets. GetEdFunding is a free and fresh resource, which hosts a collection of more than 2,100 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. The site 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. Once you are registered on the site, you can save the grants of greatest interest and then return to read about them at any time.

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Resource Roundup

Pay Tribute to Women in History

The Library of Congress hosts the Women’s History Month website that has images of women with descriptions, audios/videos and primary sources for teachers. The site highlights events and projects throughout Women’s History Month in March. Browse the ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids.

Click Here to Access Free Women’s History Month Resources

Plus: The National Women’s History Museum’s website provides access to artifacts, biographies and timelines related to women, as well as instructional materials for lessons about individuals and groups of women in American history.

Click Here to Access Free Women in American History Resources

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Motivate Students to Recognize Their Potential

Not all youth have the benefit of strong role models who encourage them to envision for themselves a bright and successful future. Classroom Champions connects top-performing athletes with students in high-need schools to motivate students to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. The site provides video lessons on goal setting, fair play, perseverance, friendship and more. Every month Classroom Champions works with Skype in the Classroom to offer one public lesson to a classroom anywhere in the world.

Click Here to Access Free Lessons

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Harness the Power of Teaching Expertise

The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) is a loosely affiliated group of teachers and other partners building out a template-based approach to the literacy demands of college and the workplace, as defined by the Common Core State Standards. Teachers build out the approach by filling in LDC template tasks with content appropriate to their classrooms and then designing a set of LDCmini-tasks” that show the skills and instruction students need in order to succeed. LDC template tasks are fill-in-the-blank “shells” built off the Common Core standards. They allow teachers to insert the texts to be read, writing to be produced and content to be addressed. When filled in, template tasks create high-quality student assignments that develop reading, writing and thinking skills in the context of learning science, history, English and other subjects. LDC modules help teachers teach students to succeed on assignments created using LDC template tasks. The modules are built on a common “chassis,” so instruction can be shared across a wide variety of grades, content areas and instructional approaches. The LDC Jurying Rubric establishes descriptors for tasks and modules that will be considered work in progress, “good-to-go” and exemplary. The Videos page showcases teachers sharing details of the LDC framework in their classrooms.

Click Here for More Information About LDC Collaborative

Click Here for More Information About Creating LDC Modules

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Sponsored By:

Powered-Up Professional Development

Get Smart About Delivering Digital Content

SEND (Smart Education Networks by Design) is a CoSN initiative that aims to help education leaders master the ability to design networks; develop the next generation of network infrastructure, which is necessary to support multiple mobile devices; and deliver digital content and administer online assessment. Components include Cyber Security, IT Crisis Preparedness, Broadband and Open Technologies.

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Bring Technology and Curriculum Together

Atomic Learning offers an abundant selection of training resources to teach educators and students the latest in technology. The company recently added content to their educational technology–training library that includes iOS 7 training on the App Store, Contacts, Maps and Safari. Apple redesigned most apps for iOS 7, including these four apps. In the App Store series, educators learn how to browse for, purchase and install apps, how to view and create their own ratings and reviews, as well as how to manually and automatically update their installed apps. In the Contacts training, teachers and students learn how to sync contacts with other services (such as Gmail), add and delete contacts, search for contacts, as well as show and hide groups, and use all of that information within each contact. The Maps training series addresses how to find businesses and locations, create drop pins and bookmark them, find and use current location as well as explore locations using different views, 3-D and flyover. And the Safari app training series includes how to browse the Internet, navigate around and between pages, create and organize bookmarks, share pages as well as use Private mode and security preferences.

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Mobile Learning Journey

Develop Problem Solving and Collaboration Skills

Problem-based learning focuses student learning on the investigation and resolution of “messy,” authentic problems. Students connect content knowledge to real-world problems where the motivation to learn comes from the motivation to solve the problem. The hardest part of problem-based learning is trying to come up with an appropriate problem. PBLE (Problem Based Learning Experiences)—an iPad app developed by the Hamilton County Education Service Center in Ohio—is a collection of suggested starter problems to assist in effective planning for problem-based learning. Each problem is focused at a particular grade band, integrated with standards and connected to relevant activities and web resources. Cost: $1.99

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store

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Engage Curious Minds

Did you know a hippo’s lips are about two feet wide? National Geographic Society’s free Weird But True iPad/iPhone app is filled with facts, sounds and more. The interactive format will keep students engaged while they learn about each one of the more than 900 student-friendly facts—enough for a fact a day for more than one school year. The facts are age appropriate and have been vetted by National Geographic Kids. Cost: Free; in-app purchases from $0.99 to $1.99

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store

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Present History with a Fresh Twist

WORLD BOOK – This Day in History is a free interactive multimedia calendar for the iPad that displays historical events for the current day or any selected day, along with related media, such as photos, illustrations, music and speeches. Students can hear the national anthems of countries on the day they became a nation, listen to presidents’ speeches on the anniversaries of their inaugurations and play sound clips from famous artists on their birthdays. Background text that appears for each event concentrates on interesting aspects that students may not know. For example, do they know that Vermont was an independent republic for 14 years before becoming a state and that George Washington at one point considered sending troops to overthrow the Vermont government? Each event also has at least one picture for every event, so students can experience the people and places making each day in history famous. Cost: Free

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store

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STEM Gems

Celebrate Teen Tech Week

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) sponsors Teen Tech Week to draw attention to the importance and availability of various technologies in libraries. During Teen Tech Week, libraries showcase nonprint resources and services available to teens and their families. This year celebrate with the “DIY @ your library” theme during YALSA’s Teen Tech Week, March 9–15, 2014. Demonstrate the value your library gives to the community by offering teens a space to extend learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create and share content. From maker spaces to coding classes, libraries can leverage the do-it-yourself theme to show how they connect in meaningful ways with the teens in their communities.

Click Here for Event and Activity Ideas

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Venture into a Laboratory of the Mind

The Japanese Science and Technology (JST) Center offers nine virtual science lessons that cover topics in physics, biology, psychology, geography and space science. Each virtual lesson presents a manageable chunk of information followed by activities in which students apply what they have learned. Each lesson also has multiple parts (some have more than 20 parts) and multiple activities. One of JST’s virtual lessons is Earth Guide, an eight-part lesson about Earth’s place in the Solar System and Earth’s environment. Each of the eight parts features multiple forms of information. Another virtual lesson, Mind Lab, focuses on biology and psychology. The lesson is designed to engage students in thinking about the ways in which they perceive what they see. Mind Lab has four introductory videos about the way in which we absorb information and how perceptions may not be reality. For example, one activity from Mind Lab helps students discover their “blind spots” and teaches them how people sometimes become oblivious to their blind spots. Other virtual lessons include A New Door to the Future – The Human Genome; The Mysteries of the Body – What Is This “I”?; The Search for ET! – Are Humans Alone in the Universe?; The Search for Energy Transmission in Sports; The Physics of the Amusement Park; Look into the World of Rust; and How Optical Communication Works.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Access Earth Guide Lesson

Click Here to Access Mind Lab Lesson

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Cultivate Inventive Curiosity

The Lemelson–MIT Program has launched the Junior Varsity (JV) InvenTeam initiative, a program designed to cultivate inventive curiosity and skills in ninth- and tenth-grade students traditionally lacking access to hands-on enrichment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative began with pilots in Massachusetts and Texas, with plans to extend to California and the Pacific Northwest in 2015. The JV InvenTeam initiative, supported by The Lemelson Foundation, builds on InvenTeams, the Lemelson–MIT Program’s decade-long experience engaging students in invention education activities. JV InvenTeams practice invention-based design activities and apply their learned skills to create useful and unique projects, such as wearable electronics. Students also learn to present projects at regional capstone events alongside other JV InvenTeams and their varsity counterparts, Lemelson–MIT InvenTeams. Guidebooks and activities created for teachers and students, and access to a network of invention education experts, provide JV InvenTeams with the resources they need to excel in hands-on STEM opportunities.

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"Worth-the-Surf" Websites

Read Tales from the Trails

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins March 1, and it can be used in the classroom for, among other things, mathematical calculations to make predictions about the nearly 1,000-mile race across Alaska. The official website for the Iditarod features an education portal with lesson plans, service learning projects and updates on the race itself. Also check out the section on the Jr. Iditarod, a 150-mile race for mushers (the humans who drive the dogsleds) for aged 14–17.

Click Here to Visit Iditarod Website

Click Here to Visit Jr. Iditarod Website

Plus: Teacher on the Trail is an Adventure Learning project that provides opportunities for educators to focus on literacy, math, science, technology and other content and bring researched-based teaching and learning opportunities to classrooms in the United States and around the world. The Iditarod has a Teacher on the Trail, who will attend the race and blog about it as it progresses. The official blog for the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail offers lesson materials created by current and former teachers.

Click Here to Access Teacher Blog

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Build Mutual Understanding

Creative Learning’s School-2-School (S2S) program helps to form partnerships between American schools and schools in the Muslim world for cultural and educational exchanges, building mutual understanding between the United States and the Muslim world at the grassroots level. S2S pairs an American teacher with a counterpart in the Muslim world. The lead educator in the partner school creates a plan for classrooms to engage with and learn from each other, using tools such as Skype and email. Over the course of a semester, the American school fundraises to purchase vital educational supplies needed by the partner school. Last year purchases included computers, science lab equipment and English language books. Then S2S pays travel expenses for the American educator to visit the partner school for two to four weeks in the summer. Upon returning home, the American educator serves as an “unofficial ambassador,” sharing the experience with students and the larger school and home community. In 2014, S2S is partnering American teachers with schools in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Click Here to Explore S2S Website

Click Here to View Video of a 2013 Partnership

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Peruse a Skeptic's Progress

Born in 1835, Samuel L. Clemens adopted the pseudonym Mark Twain in 1863, while working as a newspaper reporter on the American frontier. Twain’s career as travel writer, lecturer, novelist, short story writer, fabulist and social commentator brought him immense fame. In an online exhibit, The Morgan Library & Museum, in partnership with The New York Public Library, presents the iconic author’s manuscripts, letters, drawings, books, original illustrations for his books, and posed and candid photographs. These works convey the essence of Twain’s acerbic humor and philosophy and explore a central, recurring theme throughout his work—an uneasy, often critical, attitude toward a rapidly modernizing America. The items are displayed in a viewer that allows students to zoom in and see the detail. The online exhibit also includes a collection of photographs of Twain at home.

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Bring the Wonders of the World to Life

Created by Google, the World Wonders Project offers an innovative way to teach history and geography to students of primary and secondary schools all around the world. On the World Wonders website, students will virtually discover some of the most famous places on Earth—for example, the ruins of Pompeii, Stonehenge and the palace at Versailles. They can also travel to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, journey along historic Route 66 in the United States, visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan and explore other fascinating locations around the globe. Teachers can freely download related guides for using these resources in the classroom.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Download Free Teacher Guides

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BOOKMARK THESE!

Big Deal Media provides timely, relevant resources in a rapidly changing educational environment, created with insight and attention to detail by seasoned educational publishing professionals and practicing K–12 educators. “Like” Big Deal Media on Facebook to learn how other educators are using Big Deal Media resources and to share your own ideas and experiences.

Join The Big Deal Book of Technology’s “Amazing Resources for Educators” on the edWeb to get frequent updates on grant deadlines, free resources and hot, new websites for 21st century learning. And, of course, you can share any great new resources that you’ve unearthed!

Explore the Web Wednesday feature on Big Deal Media, where you’ll find new interactive experiences and resources that incorporate 21st century themes and skills into the study of core subjects.

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