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August 2014 Big Deal Book of Technology eNewsletter
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Big Deal Media K-12 Technology Newsletter

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Focus on Literacy, Play with Physics, Use Games for Learning & More

August 1, 2014

In Partnership With:

MASL_MISSOURI

IN THIS ISSUE

Grants, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities

Resource Roundup

Professional Development Plus

Mobile Learning Journey

STEM Gems

Worth-the-Surf Websites


Respond and Win!

As a recipient of The Big Deal Book of Technology enewsletter, you are invited to tell Big Deal Media how you use this publication and how you participate in the purchase of technology products and services. (The survey will take about five minutes to complete.) Surveys submitted IN FULL by August 20, 2014, will be entered in a random drawing to win a $50 American Express gift card. Big Deal Media is giving away one $50 card for every 100 completed surveys.

Deadline: August 20, 2014

Click Here to Access Survey

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Grants, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities

Get Help in Providing Healthful School Meals

School districts have until August 31, 2014, to notify their state agencies that they would like to implement the US Department of Education’s Community Eligibility Program (CEP) during the 2014–2015 school year. CEP allows high-poverty schools (those in which 40 percent or more of the students qualify for free meals) to offer meals to all students at no charge. To determine whether your school is eligible to administer CEP, download the US Department of Agriculture’s guidelines.

Deadline: August 31, 2014, for notifying state agencies

Click Here for More Information

Click Here to Determine Eligibility

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Assist Students in Building Sound Financial Habits

CompareCards has launched a grant program, known as Financially Literate Youth (FLY), and is offering four $5,000 grants to eligible K–12 schools that have already implemented or are looking to implement a financial education program and has in place or will put in place a measurement tool to assess participation in and comprehension of the financial education project/curriculum. The school must also agree to share overall results with CompareCards upon the program’s completion, to assess the effectiveness of the project/curriculum and look for areas to improve. A grant committee consisting of CompareCards employees and community members will evaluate all applications based on the quality and feasibility of the proposed or existing program and the potential of the program to effectively educate youth about financial choices.

Deadline: September 26, 2014, for applications; review process may take up to 60 days

Click Here for More Information

Plus: CompareCards offers free downloadable lesson plans to educate youth between the ages of six and 18 about the different aspects of building credit and credit-card ownership. Each lesson plan includes information about credit cards and credit scores, a glossary of terms to help students easily understand the information, quizzes following each section to assess students’ knowledge and visual aids to enhance their learning experience. A Student’s Guide to Investing is also available as a free download from CompareCards’ website.

Click Here to Download Free Lesson Plans and Student’s Guide

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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 2,600 (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.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Sponsored By:

Resource Roundup

Manage Classroom Technology

LanSchool delivers classroom management software that helps teachers confidently use technology to teach. LanSchool’s CODiE award-winning classroom management software enhances the learning experience by enabling instructors to easily manage classroom technology and monitor student involvement. Tools such as thumbnail monitoring, electronic assessment, voting, screen sharing, remote control, screen blanking, and web and app limiting help teachers know that technology is being used productively in the classroom. Take a guided tour and then sign up to download a free, fully functioning 30-day trial version for your classroom.

Click Here to Sign Up for Free Trial

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Transform Your Classroom Through Collaboration

Classcraft is a free online educational role-playing game that teachers and students play together in the classroom. Acting as a gamification layer around any existing curriculum, the game transforms the way a class is experienced throughout the school year. Classcraft is played in teams of five or six students. Teams are chosen by the teacher so that each team includes stronger and weaker players in balance, encouraging students who might not normally socialize to work together toward winning the game. All team members benefit from cooperative efforts, and students learn to consider the needs of others before they take action. To get the most out of the game, each team needs to establish a strategy that will ultimately help the team progress in the game. Team members also need to develop individual strategies that will help them achieve academic success. Players gain experience points when they accomplish certain tasks—for example: correctly answering a question in class, helping another student with his or her classwork, being positive and hardworking in class. Players lose points if they fail to accomplish certain tasks—for example: by being negative, lacking motivation or slacking off in class. During a regular class, students call out the actions they want to perform, and the teacher, acting as Gamemaster, inputs the actions into Classcraft’s web-based platform. The platform manages all the complexities of the game. An iOS app due in September will enable the whole system to run on a teacher’s iPad and give students more immediate ownership of the game. German and Spanish translations will add global appeal.

Click Here to Access Free Game

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Assess Your District's Technology Readiness

The Guide to Technology Requirements, a website launched by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), seeks to help school leaders access information about technology requirements for Common Core assessments. The site allows users to input their information and access district-specific resources. The site features a customizable chart that allows each district to enter their state and discover the consortia in which their state participates. The chart will then update with personalized information, including OS requirements for Linux, Mac, Windows and Chrome, as well as necessary peripherals and minimum networking speeds.

Click Here to Find Technology Requirements for Your State

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Celebrate the Transformative Power of Literacy

International Literacy Day (ILD) is going interplanetary to celebrate the power of literacy around the world. For this year’s celebration, “Lift Off to Literacy,” the International Reading Association (IRA) has partnered with NASA and Story Time From Space to inspire a literacy habit in students. The mission lifts off September 8, 2014, the day the world celebrates International Literacy Day and the transformative power of literacy. Teachers can sign up at the ILD web page to pledge their participation and receive an activity kit of 60 engaging cross-curricular activities that can be completed in 60 seconds or less. By signing up, teachers will be entered to win an out-of-this-world prize pack from NASA. The ILD web page also offers other free resources to motivate and engage students, including the official ILD 2014 poster; a 60-day log to track the activities; free printable bookmarks, a sign to announce the class’s participation and inspire other classrooms to join the mission; and pre-designed banners for a personal or class blog and social media accounts. Teachers can share their participation by using #ILD14 on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or any other social media platform. They can also follow what others are doing and find related resources on the ILD 2014 Pinterest board.

Click Here to Participate in ILD

Click Here to Access Free Activities

Click Here to Peruse ILD Pinterest Board

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Professional Development Plus

Set Up a "Wow" Classroom

On August 11, 2014, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (ET), edWeb.net and Big Deal Media will cohost a free webinar entitled Yikes, I Have Two Days or Less to Set Up My Classroom! In this webinar, sponsored by Quill.com, a second-grade teacher will present tips to organize and set up a primary classroom in a minimal amount of time without adding stress as the new school year approaches. The presenter will share a collection of classroom themes, such as Community, Recycling and Up-cycling, which will enhance learning and give students a sense of ownership of their classroom. The presenter also will share websites, free apps and materials that can be downloaded, printed and used freely with students. As a bonus, attendees will learn how the presenter recruits high school students to help set up her classroom. Join the Amazing Resources for Educators community on edWeb.net to access the free webinar recording and resources.

Click Here to Register for Free Webinar

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Develop Strategies for Enhancing Students' Financial Literacy

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC US) and Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) have launched a podcast series for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility. Throughout the series, experts from Wharton and PwC explore topics that help high school educators enhance their financial literacy and business education knowledge, and infuse new and relevant strategies into their classroom lessons. Planned topics include innovation; managing college costs and debt; and the intersection of technology and finance. During the moderated podcasts, featured speakers discuss the topics at hand and address related questions collected from educators around the country. The content and resources are then made available on the KWHS website. Educators can listen to the available podcasts in their entirety (about 60 minutes) or divided into separate parts. The edited written transcripts include related links to assist teachers in further exploring the various financial literacy and business education themes. The first podcast, Innovation and the Art of Problem-Solving, is now available at no charge. Listen, read, learn and share the podcast with your students as well as your colleagues—#HSBFR on social media.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Access Free Innovation/Problem-Solving Podcast

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Explore Ways to Create a Positive School Environment

The 2014 Federal Bullying Prevention Summit, themed Keeping Kids Safe: Opportunities and Challenges in Bullying Prevention, will be available as a live-stream webcast on August 15, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT). The summit will highlight successful state and local strategies that create a positive school climate. It will also examine current research on cyberbullying and the relationship between bullying prevention programs and school discipline. Teachers and school administrators who work directly with bullying prevention are encouraged to participate. A streaming video of meeting sessions will be hosted by the US Department of Education’s EDStream.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Attend Virtual Summit

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Discover New Approaches to Teaching STEM Concepts

The Siemens STEM Academy is a partnership between the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities. This special partnership supports an initiative devoted to providing professional development for educators in the rapidly evolving areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Siemens STEM Academy gives teachers an online portal teeming with resources that support them in their lesson planning and implementation, while exposing them to new and groundbreaking learning methods and approaches to teaching STEM concepts. Through monthly “STEM Connect” virtual events, the STARs program and the Siemens STEM Institute, teachers have a unique opportunity to learn, share and discover the latest in STEM education.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Sponsored By:

Mobile Learning Journey

Energize Classrooms, Activate Minds, Win a $10,000 Vacation

ClassFlow is a free all-in-one teaching tool for creating and orchestrating interactive multimedia lessons across a connected learning environment. With ClassFlow, teachers can deliver dynamic lessons and receive real-time insight into student learning through rich, differentiated formative assessment. Teachers can also customize multimedia lesson content based on individual learning style and level of subject-matter mastery. ClassFlow is an award-winning solution, having received commendations in 2014 from prestigious organizations such as SIIA, The ComputED Gazette and Tech & Learning. To celebrate its launch, ClassFlow is giving one lucky teacher in the United States or Canada a free $10,000 vacation. To enter, go to ClassFlow’s contest web page and register for your free account today.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Register for ClassFlow Contest

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Set Students' Imaginations Free

Monster Physics is a unique building app from Freecloud Design that engages students aged 9–11 in playing with physics. Students can build and operate their own car, crane, rocket ship, plane, helicopter, tank and more. In the BUILD IT section, students can build intricate, working contraptions with more than 68 different parts, including wheels, rockets, propellers, cannons, magnets, claws and wings. They can choose from different materials, such as metal, wood, plastic, rubber and ice. And they can connect parts together by welding them, drawing a rope or chain between them with their finger or using special dynamic joints to bring them to life. When students’ inventions are complete, Monster Physics will render the invention with its built-in physics engine and let students actually operate their creation in real time. The SOLVE IT section encourages students to think outside the box with 50 missions for students to solve. The missions include simple tutorials as well as mind-bending challenges. Many of the missions are open-ended and have a variety of solutions. Students use their problem-solving and creative-thinking skills while having tons of fun. In the LEARN IT section, students learn physics “hands on” through solving missions and building and refining their own inventions. In addition, a separate LEARN section introduces students to basic physics concepts, such as friction, force, mass and acceleration. The app is available for the iPad and iPhone at a cost of $0.99.

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store

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STEM Gems

Bring Promising Young Minds Together

Brilliant is an online hub for the world’s most promising young minds to come together, connect and see how they measure up against one another. The site is designed for talented 11- to 18-year-olds who would probably be Googling for difficult math problems. Brilliant administers a diagnostic exam to new users and then begins delivering “tantalizingly tricky and hard” questions written by math and physics teachers. Because Brilliant’s team assumes their users already have a strong foundation in STEM topics, the site focuses on measurement: How can we structure practice in such a way that students will understand (a concept) by the end of the practice? And then how can we measure throughout whether they’re on track to understand the concept? On Brilliant, students can participate in this sort of academic socializing on a global scale. They can share their answers, and how they devised them, with the Brilliant community and their social networks. The data can be sifted by geography and age range. Students can access Brilliant on the web, Facebook, Twitter or an Android device.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Capture the Imagination of Each Student

The Technology Student Association (TSA) is devoted exclusively to the needs of students engaged in STEM. Open to students who are enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA has more than 190,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools spanning 48 states. TSA is supported by educators, parents and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. Members learn through competitive events, leadership opportunities and membership activities. Educators can explore TSA’s offerings in a guide entitled 2014 & 2015 Middle School Technology Activities. With competitive events that range from video-game design to structural engineering, teachers will find something to capture the imagination of and bring out the best in each of their students. Guided by their teachers, students will enjoy the challenge of TSA’s competitive events at local, state, regional and national TSA conferences. The competitions described in TSA’s guide not only support a broad spectrum of goals related to STEM curricula; they also promote leadership skills and focus on future career choices.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Download Free Guide

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Encourage Girls to Pursue Coding Careers

Google recently launched a $50 million initiative to teach young girls how to code. In its research, Google found that four major factors determined whether girls opted into computer science—social encouragement, self-perception, academic exposure and career perception—so the company created the Made With Code website to target these influences. To give parents the resources to encourage young girls, Google teamed up with all-girls coding groups and camps across the country to create a national database of programs. Parents can enter their zip code and find the program or camp closest to them. To introduce girls to coding before they even attend programs or camps, Google created 13 different coding projects on its website. One allows girls to code their own bracelet in five to 10 minutes; the bracelet is then 3-D printed and sent to them in the mail. In addition, the site includes a list of “makers and mentors,” female role models who use coding in their jobs in a variety of ways, so girls not only understand what coding is but also envision themselves using it in their careers.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Relate Abstract Concepts to the Real World

MIT BLOSSOMS video lessons are enriching students’ learning experiences in high school classrooms from Brooklyn to Beirut to Bangalore. The BLOSSOMS Video Library contains more than 100 math and science lessons, all freely available to teachers as streaming video and Internet downloads, and as DVDs and videotapes. Teachers can visit the BLOSSOMS Video Library anytime to browse and download lessons to use in their classrooms. They can search MIT BLOSSOMS by Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Every 50-minute lesson is a complete resource that includes video segments, a teacher’s guide, downloadable handouts and a list of additional online resources relevant to the topic. Each lesson builds on math and science fundamentals by relating abstract concepts to the real world. The lessons intersperse video instruction with planned exercises that engage students in problem solving and critical thinking, helping students build the kind of instinctive knowledge that comes from hands-on experience. By guiding students through activities from beginning to end, BLOSSOMS lessons give students a sense of accomplishment.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Worth-the-Surf Websites

Create an Encouraging Learning Environment

School products and teaching supplies from Quill.com allow teachers to create an engaging, encouraging learning environment with colorful books, art supplies, stickers and more. Categories range from math and science to social studies and language arts, permitting teachers to find the most appropriate materials for all their education needs. Quill’s Education Resource Center offers “The 5 R’s of Implementing the Common Core State Standards,” “Classroom Decorating Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank,” “Lessons Learned for Saving on Discount Teacher Supplies,” “Teacher Grants, Contests & Awards”—and more.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Bring the Voices of History into the Classroom

The world will commemorate several important events during the 2014–2015 school year that will provide teachers an opportunity to explore these milestones in ways that will impact and engage students: 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, 40th Anniversary of the start of the Cambodian Genocide and 100th Anniversary of the height of the Armenian Genocide. USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education is offering free, back-to-school resources to help teachers bring the voices of history into their classrooms by incorporating interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides that are housed in its Visual History Archive. These resources span disciplines from English to economics, history to ethics. By engaging with testimony, students can hear the survivors’ own voices and see the emotions on their faces as they tell the stories of their lives.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Explore the World of Symphonic Music

On the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s SFSKids website, students can learn to compose and play music. First students listen to samples of different styles of music performed by the symphony. A dialog box appears with each selection of music. In that dialog box, students will learn about the style of the composition and performance they’re hearing. After listening to a selection of recordings, students move on to play games in which they try to recognize and match rhythms and moods. In the Perform section, students can play with the instruments and find their favorite sounds. They can make music by clicking on different sounds, and they can even play instruments themselves, learning how to make each instrument produce different notes. Then they can jump into the Compose section, where they’ll work through a series of lessons on the basics of composition and begin writing their own pieces. In the Conduct section of the site, students learn what a conductor does, and then they can try their skill at conducting a virtual orchestra.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Use Body Movement As a Means to Learn

Alien Health is an exer-game created at Arizona State University both to instruct in nutrition and to encourage youth to exercise. The game teaches second through tenth graders about nutrition and the UDSA’s MyPlate image. It gets students out of their seats and performing short exercises to help a foundling Alien save the planet from an asteroid. Students receive practice on rapid decision making that will serve them well when they must make quick choices about which food item to grab in a cafeteria line or at a convenience store. Alien Health has three levels: In Level 1, students make choices about which of two foods is more healthful and place the food item in the Alien’s mouth. As the Alien metabolizes the food, players must dance, jump and exercise to help him. In Level 2, students make choices about “nonfoods” (foods found in the Alien’s backpack). These made-up foods force students to pay attention to each item’s nutrient profile. In Level 3, students build a healthful lunch with six items. They see how each item maps dynamically to portions on the MyPlate image. In every level, the Kinect for Windows Sensor provides feedback on the quality of all exercises. A Spanish translation of the game will soon be available.

Click Here to Visit Website

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Bring Public Policy to Life

Legislative Explorer (LegEx) from the University of Washington’s Center for American Politics and Public Policy helps students visualize the complexity of lawmaking. While textbooks give an overview of how a bill becomes law, LegEx lets students discern what is “between the lines” of that narrative. An online tool provides graphic data points for every bill and resolution introduced in Congress from 1973 to the present, illustrating the movement of legislation from beginning to end. The information can be sorted by topic, committee of origin, political party or even by the gender of the bill sponsor. The tutorial link provided on the upper right-hand side of the screen is helpful to students as they begin their interaction with the website. The tutorial provides a brief explanation of how to interpret and navigate their way through the material. The site also provides questions for scaffolding inquiry-based learning; the questions can also serve as a starting point for classroom investigation. Legislative Explorer is suitable for both middle school and high school students. The tutorial page provides a link to the Center for American Politics and Public Policy. There, students will find multiple animations of data from the LegEx website with titles that include “Our Dysfunctional Congress,” “Why Do Legislators Sponsor Bills?” and “Why Do Bills Progress?” Teachers can incorporate these brief videos into existing lesson plans. Educators looking for authentic ways to incorporate Common Core proficiencies related to the use of qualitative or technical analysis of data need look no further than LegEx.

Click Here to Visit Website

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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.

Subscribe to 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!

Join Big Deal Media’s inclusive community of special needs educators by subscribing to Everyone CAN! Essentials for Educators of Special Needs Students, a free quarterly enewsletter of curated, easily accessible resources to serve this group of educators. Find sources of funding, research-based developmental strategies, mobile learning innovations, assistive technology collections and truly useful online interactive environments, including specialized resources to partner with parents.

Sign up at Big Deal Media’s website for hELLo!, a free quarterly ELL enewsletter that includes a wealth of information on interactive resources for students, teachers, librarians, principals and others involved in the education of English language learners.

Explore the biweekly Web Wednesday features 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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