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August 2011 Big Deal Book of Technology eNewsletter
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August 1, 2011
Timely reminders, fabulous freebies, best sites & more "worth the surf"
In This Issue
Grants and Other Funding Sources
Awards, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Mobile Learning on the Move
STEM Gems
"Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites
Bookmark These!
In Partnership With:

Grants and Other Funding Sources

Start an Online Fundraiser
The fundraising feature is one of the newest tools at Digital Wish, a site that allows teachers to create online lists of their classroom needs. Starting an online fundraiser is simple. After signing up on the Digital Wish Web site, users can click "Start a Fundraiser” from the home page. By sharing the event with friends, families and community members through social media, a school or classroom can grow its fundraiser with no setup cost. Organizers can view progress and edit and manage details from a single Web page. Funds are deposited automatically into the beneficiary’s Digital Wish account for use in the educational technology shopping area at the end of the fundraiser.
Deadline: None
Click Here for More Information
Support Projects Led by Women and Girls
The Open Meadows Foundation offers grants of up to $2,000 for projects that are led by and benefit women and girls. The projects must reflect the diversity of the community served by the project in both its leadership and its organization; and promote racial, social, economic and environmental justice. In addition, the organizations must have limited financial access or have encountered obstacles in their search for funding. Small and startup organizations are encouraged to apply. Projects must be designed and implemented by women and girls.
Deadline: August 15 and February 15, annually
Click Here for More Information
Engage Families in Children’s Literacy Development
The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and Better World Books are accepting applications for $500 mini-grants to promote creative ideas for using Wonderopolis.org with families. Wonderopolis.org was created by NCFL to provide free, family-friendly content that is practical, easy to use and designed to engage children’s natural curiosity and transform it into a lifelong love of learning. Applicants must describe how they will use the mini-grant to embed Wonderopolis in their program and how it will help them better deliver educational services to those they serve.
Deadline: August 19, 2011
Click Here for More Information
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Awards, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities

Discover Engineering
The JETS TEAMS Competition, sponsored by the Junior Engineering Technical Society, provides suburban, rural and inner-city communities with the necessary tools to develop an annual event that combines the prestige and excitement of a national competition, with the flexibility and community focus of a local outreach program. Hosting organizations are encouraged to strategically design their competition to respond to the needs and objectives of their communities. JETS provides Hosts with a prepackaged, turnkey event with all essential competition materials.
Deadline: Competitions must take place between February 13 and March 12, 2012; Hosts select their event date from within that window.
Click Here for More Information
Get "Buggy”
The Entomological Foundation is conducting a contest to identify the top five to ten science project ideas for students, teachers and families. The contest will culminate with the creation of a Web site containing a collection of science project ideas, based on grade level, the majority of which will involve insects or be built around an entomological question. Examples include teaching children about life cycles, interrelationships of living things, food chains/food webs, and organisms and the environment. The goal is to develop an interest and understanding of scientific laws and principles that underlay the natural world. The foundation is looking especially for project ideas submitted by entomology student clubs and K–12 educators, who may submit as many projects as they wish. Contest winners will receive a check for $100 for each submission making the top five to ten list. Authorship credit will be cited for each science project published on the foundation’s Web site.
Deadline: September 16, 2011; winners will be notified in October
Click Here for More Information
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Free and Inexpensive Resources

Get Ready for Next-Generation Assessment
A new online resource called Assess4ed.net is aimed at smoothing the transition to computer-delivered assessments that rely on the Common Core State Standards and should be implemented in the 2014–2015 school year. The site is part of the Education Department’s three-year Connected Online Communities of Practice initiative, and it includes information for district leaders on hardware and software requirements for implementing the new tests.
Click Here to Access Free Resources
Trace the History of Democratic Thought
Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy is a collection of 73 historical documents representative of the way American history, culture and political thought have been shaped throughout the centuries. Each of the documents is presented with a brief introductory essay, chosen to illustrate "the essential idea of American democracy, that of many peoples seeking to find common ground.” The term document is interpreted broadly; traditional documents, such as court decisions and legislation, are supplemented by letters, essays and speeches. The selections are arranged by topic: Creating a Government, The Crisis of Union, On the Road from Slavery to Freedom and Cold War Issues.
Click Here to Access Free Documents
Harness Cloud-based Technologies
Cloud computing represents an opportunity for schools to harness powerful technology and enhance the learning environment, all while helping to lower costs and increase security. On HP’s Cloud Computing Digital Hub, hosted by TechLearning.com, you’ll find freeresources, ebooks and other information about the movement to cloud-based infrastructures in K–12 education.
Click Here to Access Free Resources
Explore Individual Freedoms
Teach the First Amendment lesson plans on the 1forAll Web site are drawn from materials prepared by the Newseum and the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. The lessons are intended to draw young people into an exploration of how their freedoms began and how they operate in today’s world. Students will discuss just how far individual rights extend, examining rights in the school environment and in public places. The lessons may be used in history and government, civics, language arts and journalism, art and debate classes. They may be used in sections or in their entirety. Many of the lesson plans indicate an overall goal for the lesson, offer suggestions on how to teach the lesson and list additional resources and enrichment activities.
Click Here to Access Free Resources
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Mobile Learning on the Move

Build Awareness of Biodiversity
Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. This digital application turns users into citizen scientists, automatically sharing images, species identification and geo-coded stamps of species locations with a community of scientists who will use the stream of data to map and monitor the ebb and flow of flora nationwide. Leafsnap’s free mobile app for the iPhone and iPad uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. The collection currently includes the trees of New York City and Washington, D.C., and will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States. The Leafsnap Web site contains Leafsnap’s high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds and bark.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Document Local Wildlife
Students can explore the wildlife around them with the Project Noah app and help scientists with their data collection. They can post a new spotting, upload photos, tag plants and animals with location data, join missions and earn patches. The app also contains a field guide to help students identify the wildlife they find. The app is available for free for both iPhone and Android.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Experience Augmented Stargazing
Star Walk enables users to point their iPhone at the sky and see what stars, constellations and satellites they are looking at in real-time. When they click on Time Machine, users can see what the sky looks like at any moment in the past or the future. Satellite Tracking lets users follow the rising of the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The View from the Earth shows 3-Dperspectives from anywhere on the planet. The app is designed for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Find it in the iTunes App Store for $2.99.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Hold the Moon in Your Hand
The freeMoon Globe app turns the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into a precision instrument for viewing Earth’s Moon. Satellite imagery and topographic laser altimeter data are combined to render the Moon with realistic lighting in real-time 3-D. Users can manipulate the view on their multitouch screen. They can spin above the surface or switch to Telescope mode to see the Moon as it appears from their location on Earth. They can adjust the display time and watch the sunlight shift over the lunar landscape. A "tag cloud” floats just above the surface, labeling terrain features and spacecraft; by touching any label, users can find out more about that feature. With its sky compass, Moon Globe shows where the Moon and Sun are in the sky.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
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STEM Gems

Browse a 21st Century Science Framework
A framework for new national science standards was released in July 2011 by a panel of experts convened by the National Research Council. The new framework is designed to help students gradually deepen their knowledge of core ideas in four disciplinary areas over multiple years of school, rather than acquire shallow knowledge of many topics. It strongly emphasizes the practices of science—helping students learn to plan and carry out investigations, for example, and to engage in argumentation from evidence. The overarching goal of the framework is to ensure that by the end of grade 12, all students have some appreciation of the beauty and wonder of science, the capacity to discuss and think critically about science-related issues and the skills to pursue careers in science or engineering if they want to do so. The nonprofit group Achieve will use the framework to work with states to write the standards. Prepublication copies of A Framework for K-12 Science Education are freely downloadable as PDF files from the National Academies Press Web site.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Turn Creepy Crawlies into a World of Wonder
The Entomological Foundation develops and implements a blend of programs designed to spark interest in science and insects among elementary school children and to sustain that interest through educational programs and outreach activities. The foundation also offers scholarships and student awards to recognize excellence and support continued education of students in the area of entomology; and grants professional awards that recognize accomplishments in entomology and related areas. Visit the Entomological Foundation’s Web site for "everything insect.” Check out the interactive youth Web site as well as the science project ideas. You can also download a free insect calendar for the current month.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
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"Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites

Jump Aboard the Hogwarts Express
Children’s author J. K. Rowling is launching a new interactive Web site built around the Harry Potter series. The site, called Pottermore, will sell the ebook editions of the seven Harry Potter books, previously available only in print and as audio books. The ebooks will include illustrations and interactivity. For example, students can visit Diagon Alley, get sorted into a house, cast spells and mix potions to help their house compete for the House Cup. Pottermore will also include social media components, Harry Potter–themed games and extra material from Rowling’s notes. The site, which launched to a limited audience on July 31, will be open to the public in October. Visit the site and submit your email address to be notified when registration has opened.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Plus: J. K. Rowling’s personal Web site includes a biography about the author, the Wizard of the Month archive and more.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Get a Worldwide Library Card
The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) provides a wealth of children’s books in multiple languages and features a kid-friendly search tool. Many stories are available in bilingual formats. ICDL was initially created by an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Maryland in cooperation with the Internet Archive. Members of the team include computer scientists, librarians, educational technologists, classroom teachers, graphic designers and graduate students from the University of Maryland’s (UMD) College of Information Studies (CLIS) and the UMD Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), a leader in children’s interface design. Other contributors to the research are the members of the College Park Kidsteam, a group of six children, aged 7–11, who work regularly with the adults in the Lab.
Click Here to Visit Web Site [English]
Click here to Visit Web Site [Spanish]
Balance the Federal Budget
Think you might do better than the president and congressional leaders in choosing what government spending to cut—or revenues to raise? Budget Hero 2.0, a new computer game produced by the nonprofit American Public Media, shows players just how difficult it might be to carry out their grand policy objectives and still keep the government from either becoming irrelevant or going broke. The game starts in the year 2021, based on Congressional Budget Office numbers showing what happens to the government’s budget if there is no change in current policy. Players, by using their policy cards, change the course of history. Before clicking on a policy, players can check out the pros and cons of the issue.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Celebrate Children’s Writing
KIdsWWwrite is a nonprofit Web anthology developed to publish young authors’ work. Its aims are to encourage children to read and write for enjoyment, enable children to share and celebrate children’s writing. A new issue is published by the Kalamalka Institute for Working Writers in British Columbia during the first week of each month. Students can read the latest issue online, where they’ll find stories and poems organized by age level (5–8, 9–12 and 13–16). The site also links to Sarah’s Stars: Kids’ Books, Kids’ Reviews, a Web site with students’ reviews of books submitted by publishers and authors.
Click Here to Access Web Anthology
Click Here to Access Kids’ Reviews
Create Engaging History Activities
The National Archives has created a Web site to help educators teach with primary-source documents. The site, called DocsTeach, not only lets teachers explore thousands of documents in a variety of media from the National Archives holdings, but it also includes online tools to help teachers combine these materials and create engaging history activities that students can access over the Internet. The seven tools featured on the site are designed to teach critical thinking skills as they relate to history activities, such as weighing evidence, interpreting data and focusing on details. Each tool employs interactive components—puzzles, scales, maps, flowcharts—which teachers and students can tailor to their needs. After participating in a history activity, students can submit their work to their teacher via email.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
"Rap” Up the Week’s Events
The Week in Rap produces a weekly roundup of current events, presented in a rap video. Longer-form history lessons are also rapped. The site was created by Flocabulary, and the songs and videos are written by Flocabulary artists.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
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Bookmark These!

Browse K12TeacherStore.com for a wide variety of products published by leading K–12 education companies, all of them delivered digitally. Many of the ebooks can be used on interactive whiteboards and various mobile reading devices. All of the books whose covers you see displayed are on sale at a 15% discount. To stay informed about what’s going on with ebooks in K–12 schools, sign up for the enewsletter, K12 TeacherFile.
Get a freecopy of The Big Deal eBook of Resources for 21st Century Teaching & Learning:Information, Media and Digital Literacies. Explore this collection of resources to help students locate, evaluate, use and mange information efficiently; interpret and communicate messages effectively; and master the digital tools to become informed citizens and productive 21st century workers.
Sign up at The Big Deal Book Website for hELLo!, afree quarterly ELL e-newsletter that includes a wealth of information on interactive resources for students, teachers, librarians, principals and others involved in the education of English language learners.
Get freeunlimited online access to all the print content in The Big Deal Book of Technology for K–12 Educators. Explore the many opportunities to fund your special programs, access timely reports and articles, locate free and inexpensive resources and identify engaging interactive Web sites.
Register online to download the Big Deal eBook for Educators of English Language Learners. Inside this free eBook, you’ll find links to resources and a range of ideas to engage your English language learners.
Join The Big Deal Book of Technology’s "Amazing Resources for Educators” community on the edWeb to get more frequent updates on grant deadlines, freeresources and hot new sites for 21st century learning. And, of course, you can share any great new resources that you’ve unearthed!
Browse the new Big Deal eBookstore, in partnership with K12TeacherStore.com! Find thousands of titles from your favorite educational publishers.
Explore the Web Wednesday feature on www.bigdealbook.com. Here 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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