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February 2012 Big Deal Book of Technology
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February 1, 2012
Timely reminders, fabulous freebies, best sites & more "worth the surf"
In This Issue
Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Of Special Interest
Mobile Learning on the Move
STEM Gems
"Worth-the-Surf” Websites
Bookmark These!
In Partnership With:

Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities

Recognize Students’ Writing Talents
The school-based Promising Young Writers program was established in 1985 by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to stimulate and recognize students’ writing talents and to emphasize the importance of writing skills among eighth-grade students. Students who are eighth-graders in the present academic school year are eligible to be nominated by teachers for the program. The nomination process requires that students each submit two pieces of writing; one is theme-based and the other, an example of the student’s best writing. The theme for 2012 is Flash Back, Forge Ahead. As writers, students have the freedom to play with time—flashing back in history or in their own memories, or forging ahead into a future that they imagine, hope for or perhaps even fear. Teachers may nominate an equal (additional) number of entrants who are English language learners (ELL). Teachers should briefly describe each entrant’s current level of language acquisition. The program’s website provides a rubric and judging guidelines, which may be downloaded as a PDF file. Students selected for superior performance in writing will receive a letter and certificate of commendation from NCTE.
Deadline: February 15, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Plus: NCTE’s Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students in their writing and to recognize publicly some of the best student writers in the nation. Only students who are juniors in the academic year 2011–2012 may be nominated for 2012 awards. Two written compositions (best and themed) by each student are required. Both writings should go through a recursive process of drafting and revision and be in two of the following genres: poetry, narrative, argument, expository.
Deadline: February 15, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Submit Problems to Scientists
The Kids’ Science Challenge (KSC) is a free, nationwide competition in which students in grades 3 to 6 submit experiments and problems for scientists and engineers to solve. Each year KSC selects three science topics and a panel of expert scientists and engineers. The entry process has three steps: students conduct research on the three topics (in 2012, Zero Waste, Animal Smarts, Meals on Mars); then they brainstorm their ideas, experiments or problems; and finally they submit their ideas or experiments for scientists to solve. Students may enter in more than one science topic, but they must complete and submit a new application for each entry. There is a limit of one entry per topic for an individual or team. Students are not required to complete a project or build a prototype; the KSC entry form requires only a well thought-out written essay and an optional drawing. If students need help in coming up with creative ideas, they can check out the brainstorming tool to get started. A grand prize is given to a winning student (or team) in each of the science topics. The grand-prize winner for each topic will win a trip to visit and work with a scientist or engineer to test their winning idea in a lab, workshop or research setting. The first 1,000 entrants receive a freeScience Activity Kit with hands-on projects related to the three science topics.
Deadline: February 28, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Underscore the Importance of Science Literacy
Siemens Science Day is a joint effort with the Siemens Foundation offering teachers hands-on activities to help reinvent science class for kindergarten through grade 6. Each activity is partnered with a video from Discovery Education. Teachers also have access to a special Teacher Support area, related websites and a teacher toolkit. In addition to the digital content, teachers in two schools and grade ranges (K–3 and 4–6) have the opportunity to win an Ultimate Cool School Assembly. Enter daily to increase your chance of winning.
Deadline: February 28, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Click Here to Enter Sweepstakes
Recognize the Impact of Technology Use in Education
Sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Kay L. Bitter Vision Award recognizes a preK–2 educator whose work has had a significant positive impact on technology use in education. (The award is in honor of Kay L. Bitter, who was involved in early childhood education for more than 20 years and effective in bringing technology into her classroom on a daily basis.) The person selected will be honored at ISTE’s annual conference and exposition and will receive a one-year ISTE standard membership and complimentary ISTE 2012 conference registration. The awardee will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to be used for the recipient’s program or own continued professional development. The ISTE website provides information about nomination materials, criteria and the judging rubric.
Deadline: March 1, 2012 for nominations
Click Here for More Information
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Free and Inexpensive Resources

Count Down to Election 2012
iCivics, the organization founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, is marking the countdown to Election Day 2012 with the launch of its latest freeonline video game, Win the White House. In this game, students take on the role of a presidential candidate from primary season through Election Day, making tough choices about the party platform and vice presidential selection as well as where to fundraise, poll and spend valuable campaign dollars on appearances and advertisements. News coverage recaps their successes and failures as they campaign for their 270 electoral votes. Students also have to make decisions about the kind of campaign they will run: will they focus on their platform or on attacking the stances of their opponent? Win the White House prepares young people for meaningful citizenship by helping them see the value of voting and different candidates’ reasons for choosing different strategies for engaging the public. The iCivics Politics and Public Policy Curriculum Unit also offers a broad array of resources for educators, including lesson plans, additional games and game guides. iCivics content is designed by educators and is standards aligned.
Click Here to Access Free Resources
Control Where Tax Dollars Go
A free, challenging online game makes civics and economics accessible and fun for students. Budget Hero lets students try to balance the federal budget. First students choose one to three "badges” that reflect their political values. Then they try to earn these badges by choosing from more than 70 policy options. The game is built on the Congressional Budget Office model, which incorporates pro and con arguments for each policy, drawn from dozens of sources and vetted to ensure the game is nonpartisan. Players make their own decisions about health care, military spending or environmental protection. In the end, students can see how long it takes before their budget goes bust and share their results with friends via Facebook or Twitter. To date, the game has been played more than one million times. Budget Hero was created by the Woodrow Wilson Center and American Public Media.
Click Here to Access Free Game
Enhance Learning Outcomes with Instructional Technologies
EmergingEdTech’s 2012 Free Education Technology Resources eBook contains 65 pages of articles and insights into dozens of the Internet’s best free educational technology resources. The 2012 edition includes chapters focused on iPad apps, the use of Facebook in Education, free productivity resources and more. To get your free copy, just sign up to receive EmergingEdTech posts via email by providing your name and email address.
Click Here to Sign Up for Free eBook
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Of Special Interest

Celebrate Black History Month
A freeonline resource guide from Primary Source offers a new fact for every day of Black History Month. Facts also include links to additional information and resources. Navigate through the guide week by week using the tabs at the top of the web page.
Click Here to Access Free Resource Guide
Think Fast About the Past
THIRTEEN’s Mission US: Flight to Freedom is the second in a series of innovative role-playing games developed to transform the way middle school students learn United States history. Launched on January 24 in time to support and extend curriculum activities connected to Black History Month, Flight to Freedom immerses learners in the experiences of a runaway slave in the years before the Civil War. In the game-based interactive, players take on the role of Lucy King, a fictional 14-year-old enslaved in Kentucky in 1848. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio via the Underground Railroad, they discover that life in the "free” North is dangerous and difficult. Players encounter a diverse group of people—from abolitionists to slave owners—and make decisions that affect the game’s outcome. "Flight to Freedom” helps students learn how enslaved people’s choices—from small, everyday acts of resistance to action that sought an end to slavery—affected the lives of individuals and ultimately the nation. Educators and students can access the game via streaming or download it, free of charge, through any Internet-connected computer.
Click Here to Access Download Free Game
See Democracy in Action
A free, downloadable study guide from Facing History and Ourselves supports educators and students in their use of the documentary Freedom Riders. This film tells the powerful story of the Freedom Riders, who took brave and decided actions to dismantle the structures of discrimination—specifically segregated interstate bus travel—through nonviolence. From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, the documentary features testimony from the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand. Visit the Facing History website to view video clips of their testimonies and download the study guide.
Click Here to View Free Video Clips and Download Free Study Guide
Join in Commemorations Year-Round
Celebrate! Holidays in the U.S.A. discusses the 10 federally recognized holidays in the United States, as well as many celebratory days, such as Valentine’s Day. There’s also a section addressing four recognition months commonly acknowledged in the United States: Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) and Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15).
Click Here to Visit Website
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Mobile Learning on the Move

Set Your Sights on Bird-Watching
The National Audubon Society has updated the iOS version of its bird-watching field guide. The app offers a number of new features, including eBird, the ability to locate birds in real-time based on recent sightings, locations of rare birds and maps to all the birding hotspots across North America. The app also offers a journal feature so that bird-watchers can track what they’ve seen and where. To help with identification, the app has a rich image library with more than 3,000 images that help users recognize birds by gender, age and plumage. The app, which is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, is available for $19.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Click Here to Visit Website
Click Here to Access App
Click Here to Access Free eBird Feature
Follow America’s March Toward Independence
The Revolutionary War app by Multieducator combines paintings, firsthand accounts, multimedia presentations and documents to tell the story of America’s march toward independence. The app makes full use of the capabilities of the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The program allows users to email or print any presentation or text. The app uses Air Play so that videos can be played through an Apple TV. Major sections include "Causes of the War,” "Major Battles and Events,” "200 Biographies,” "Myths and Stories,” "The Journals of the Continental Congress,” "Letters Between John and Abigail Adams,” "Diary of the Revolution,” "Americans of the Revolutionary War Period,” "Economics During the War” and "Documents of the Period.” The app is available in the iTunes App Store for $4.99.
Click Here to Access App
Imagine, Create, Share with Others
Scribble Press is an iPad app that lets students build and illustrate their own ebooks. The free app offers numerous story templates and drawing tools, guiding students through the story-writing and book-layout process. The books that are written with Scribble Press can be shared with others—either via Facebook or Twitter or by email. They can also be posted online on the site’s gallery; books remain private unless shared there. The app is available at no cost in the iTunes App Store.
Click Here to Visit Website
Click Here to Download Free App
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STEM Gems

Experience Science on Earth and Beyond
Interactive science & engineering (for nine- to eleven-year-olds) includes games involving light, sounds, forces & motion, earth & beyond, and electricity. Students can go undercover with Silicon Spies, brave the rides with ParkWorld Plot, launch themselves into Alien Attack, immerse themselves in Ocean Odyssey and take a giant leap into Astro Adventure. They’ll also find out how engineers use science to help people and what exciting new inventions we’ll be using in the future.
Click Here to Visit Website
Engineer the Past
On the Time Engineers website, students come across a Time Engineers binder that contains confidential information on a time-travel machine that the United States government built to travel back in time to obtain and document the history of engineering. The document contains three chapters, each with their own space–time coordinate for time travel. The chapters contain mission briefings, engineering tasks and mission commander assistance. The final document contains a map showing the location of the time machine and start-up procedure. With the documents in hand, students are ready to begin their journey back in time. The catapult simulation covers algebra, physical science, technology and history.
Click Here to Visit Website
Take Math into Today’s World
The Yummy Math website presents mathematics problems and scenarios based on things happening in the world today. For example, an activity for January 26 has students study historical Super Bowl data to reflect on average (mean, median and mode) losing scores, winning scores and range of scores. They are asked to judge which of these central measurements seems the most meaningful and explain their reasoning. Another activity has students plot the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad over the past 45 Super Bowls. How has the cost of a Super Bowl ad changed over time? Has it grown linearly? exponentially? Yummy Math lists activities chronologically as well as by mathematics subject area. Two mathematics teachers, Brian Marks and Leslie Lewis, developed Yummy Math and welcome suggestions from other mathematics teachers.
Click Here to Visit Website
Unlock Rubik’s Secret
Teachers who want to include the Rubik’s Cube in classroom lessons can access lesson plans and activities tied to state standards on the website YouCanDoTheCube. On the site, the cube—believed to help develop problem solving and spatial thinking skills—is used in math lessons, helping students visualize fractions, geometry and algebra problems. Download a free, PDF version of the You CAN Do The Rubik’s Cube Solution Guide in English or Spanish.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: The free, downloadable Rubik’s Cube Mosaic Builder Guide and templates of six historical figures (Abraham Lincoln, Sitting Bull, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein and Anne Frank) allow educators to combine fun with math, science, history and art. Students can learn about algorithms, geometry, problem solving, spatial relations and more, while also learning about pixels and significant historical figures.
Click Here to Access Mosaic Templates
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"Worth-the-Surf” Websites

Connect with Peers in an Education Community
The edWeb is a social networking website that makes is easy for anyone in the education community to connect with peers, share information and best practices, spread innovative ideas and provide professional development. The edWeb provides an easy and intuitive Web 2.0 platform that includes blogs, discussions, file sharing, shared calendars, wikis, live chat, messaging, polling and shared links. Communities (groups) can be created and linked for closer collaboration. Teachers and administrators can share best practices, information on what’s working and support one another across schools, districts, states, the country and even around the world. Schools and districts can create professional learning communities and practice groups, improve teacher and principal quality and technology skills, and provide mentoring and support. The edWeb is free for professionals in education and for educational institutions.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plan Project-Based Learning Activities
The BUCK Institute has created the BIE Electronic Online PBL Planning Site, a place to plan Problem-Based Learning (PBL) units. Simply sign up for a free account and begin putting down your ideas for a Project-Based Learning activity. If you don’t have time to finish your unit in one sitting, you can keep what you’ve entered in your file cabinet. You’ll be able to return using any computer from any place that has Internet access. You can also keep all of your projects in the My Project file cabinet. They will stay there for you to use, print, share and edit as you revise your projects from year to year. Under the Share button, you’ll find a link to copy and send your unit to a colleague; or just enter an email address, and the BIE Project Planner will send it. Those collaborators will need a free BIE account. If you’re not sure what everything on the form means, then check out the BIE Do It Yourself Kit.
Click Here to Access BIE Do It Yourself Kit
Click Here to Visit Website
Explore Environmental Issues from Different Perspectives
The Smithsonian is offering teachers a multidimensional resource for expanding and enriching curriculum with Shout, a freeenvironmental exploration program. Through interactive webinars, comprehensive lesson-planning materials and hands-on activities, In February, March and May, the program will look at water from the Smithsonian’s many points of view, from marine biology to American history. Students will explore both water quality (how we can ensure that water is safe for ourselves and for the environment) and water quantity (how we can manage crises of too much water and not enough water). The program as a whole addresses curriculum standards for ecological, social and economic systems; human impact on the environment; and civic responsibility. New to Shout this year is Smithsonian Badges, a digital-recognition program that encourages and rewards student participation. Students complete challenges centered on global environment issues to earn specific badges, demonstrating their understanding of ecological, social and economic systems affecting water; the human impact on the environment; and civic responsibility in sustaining water resources. Educators can also receive badges for being facilitators of student learning.
Click Here to Visit Website
Bring to Life Pivotal Moments in American History
History and social studies educators have free online access to a comprehensive, multimedia collection of teaching resources from the Pare Lorentz Center at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. Pare Lorentz created groundbreaking documentaries for the New Deal agencies of the Roosevelt Administration, shedding light on environmental and social problems in the 1930s and 1940s. The resource collection includes an interactive timeline, distance learning opportunities, video curriculum guides and a film library containing filmmaker Lorentz’s body of works and other historical footage. The collection brings to life emergent themes and pivotal moments in American history, including the Great Depression; the New Deal Programs; Social Security; Conservation of Natural Resources; the Presidency and the Supreme Court; The Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor; World War II; Japanese American Internment; The Tuskegee Airmen; creation of the United Nations; and the Legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Click Here to Visit Website
Hear the Voices of History
History and Politics Out Loud is a collection of audio materials, capturing significant political and historical events and personalities of the twentieth century. The materials range from formal addresses delivered in public settings to private telephone conversations conducted from the innermost recesses of the White House. Students can hear key speeches by Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and others. They can listen to King’s "I have a dream” speech,” President Roosevelt’s speech to Congress declaring war on Japan, Churchill’s "iron curtain” speech and more.
Click Here to Visit Website
Chronicle Journalism’s Journey West
One of the features of Stanford University’s Rural West Initiative is an interactive map of the growth and decline of newspapers in the United States. You can use the timeline at the top of the map to see how many newspapers were in an area at a given time, from 1690 to 2011. Click one of the placemarks on the map to find links to more information about each newspaper. The newspapers mentioned in the map are linked to the Library of Congress website where you can find out which libraries in the United States have copies of those newspapers.
Click Here to Visit Website
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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 freeenewsletter, K12 TeacherFile.
Get a free copy of The Big Deal eBook of Resources for 21st Century Teaching and Learning: From the 3Rs to the 4Cs. Explore this collection of resources to help students move beyond the 3Rs and embrace the 4Cs—Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity—the 21st century skills cited by industry as keys to innovation and invention in an increasingly challenging global economy.
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.
Download a free eBook of the popular print edition of 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.
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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