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April 2012 Big Deal Book of Technology eNewsletter
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April 2, 2012
Timely reminders, fabulous freebies, best sites & more "worth the surf"
In This Issue
Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Mobile Learning on the Move
"Worth-the-Surf” Websites
Bookmark These!
In Partnership With:

Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities

Get in Motion
K’NEX has announced an online sweepstakes in which five randomly chosen teachers will win a K’NEX Energy, Motion & Aeronautics set valued at $179.99. From March 16, through April 13, 2012, teachers can register online to win the Energy, Motion & Aeronautics set. The first 500 teachers to enter will receive a freeUnited States Space & Rocket Center (USS&RC) informational poster. On or around April 20, the five winners will be randomly chosen to receive a free K’NEX Energy, Motion & Aeronautics education set. No purchase is necessary.
Deadline: April 13, 2012
Click Here for More Information on Sweepstakes
Plus: The United States Space & Rocket Center, recognized as one of the most comprehensive US manned space flight hardware museums in the world, also boasts an education center that offers Space Camp programs for children and adults.
Click Here for More Information on Space Camp Programs
Nurture Exceptional Students
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program selects high-achieving youth in the United States with financial need and provides them, throughout their high school years, with individualized educational services that enable them to develop their talents and abilities. Applicants must be in the seventh grade when they apply and able to demonstrate financial need.
Deadline: April 16, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Participate in Innovative Problem Solving
In the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, students have the opportunity to create an engaging one- to two-minute science video that identifies and solves an everyday problem related to the way we move, the way we keep ourselves healthy or the way we make a difference. Video entries must demonstrate the student’s understanding of a scientific concept and should also exhibit his or her comfort level discussing science in general. Judges will review the video submissions and choose 10 finalists and up to 51 merit winners: one from each state and the District of Columbia. The 10 finalists will be paired with 3M scientists to complete a summer assignment having to do with innovation. Together they will work virtually through pre-assigned objectives, with resources and support provided by Discovery Education and 3M. In the fall, the 10 finalists will receive a trip to St. Paul, Minnesota, during which they will present their completed "innovation” to a panel of judges. Finalists will be judged on their scientific problem solving and communication skills. America’s 2012 Top Young Scientist will be awarded $25,000, and other finalists will receive exciting prizes. To be eligible, students must be legal US residents enrolled in grades 5–8 at a public, private, parochial or home school located in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
Deadline: April 19, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Let Imagination Take Over
Script Frenzy is an international event in which participants attempt the creatively daring feat of writing an entire script in the month of April. For 30 days, students get to let their imagination take over and create the film, TV show, play or graphic novel of their dreams! That means participants begin writing on April 1 and finish by midnight, April 30. The script goal for the adult program is 100 pages, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows aged-17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual page-count goals. On May 1, students can celebrate their month of "noveling” and collect their winner or participant certificate. They should also check out the "I Wrote a Script! Now What?” page (coming soon).
Deadline: April 30, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Plus: Find step-by-step guides for young writers and educators. The guides, entitled How Does Script Frenzy Work for Young Writers? and How Does Script Frenzy Work for Educators? are freely downloadable from the Script Frenzy website.

As a recipient of The Big Deal Book of Technology eNewsletter, you are invited to tell us about your participation in the purchasing decision process, the equipment you plan to use in the years ahead and the publications you read. (The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete.) Surveys submitted IN FULL by the deadline date will be entered in a random drawing to win a $50 American Express Gift Card. We’ll be giving away two gift cards for every 100 completed surveys received.
Deadline: April 30, 2012
Click Here to Activate Survey
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Free and Inexpensive Resources

Create a Film Storyboard
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) offers a free, online resource for creating storyboards. The ACMI Storyboard Generator provides templates with video directions for creating a storyboard from scratch. Alternatively, students can build a storyboard without using a template at all. Students needing a little inspiration for a story can consult some of the examples displayed under the Education Themes tab and view the showcased videos.
Click Here to Access Free Tool
Battle for Video Game Supremacy
Platform Wars is an epistemic game, or management simulation, developed by MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In this live, web-based simulation, participants play the role of senior management of a video game hardware platform producer, such as Sega, Nintendo or Microsoft. Built around a companion case study describing the launch of Sony’s PS3, the game lets students experience the challenges of strategic competition in complex and dynamic markets.
Click Here to Access Free Simulation
Explore Issues Behind Headlines
60-Second Civics is a daily podcast that explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines and the people and ideas that formed our nation’s history and government. 60-Second Civics is produced by the Center for Civic Education. The content is primarily derived from the Center’s education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution, Project Citizen, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy.
Click Here to Access Free Podcasts
Assume the Role of a Congressional Representative
The Center on Congress at Indiana University provides free, interactive role-playing activities for learning about how the United States government functions. Each activity allows students to experience the roles and functions of different members of Congress. For example, in the activity entitled "How a Member Decides to Vote," students take on the role of a Congressman or Congresswoman for a week. During the simulated week, students receive phone calls from constituents, read newspaper headlines, meet with constituents and lobbyists, and attend meetings with other Congressmen and Congresswomen.
Click Here to Access Free Activities
Plus: The Center on Congress has a YouTube channel containing 25 short educational videos. The videos cover such topics as federalism, checks & balances and the legislative process.
Click Here to Access Free Videos
Encourage Responsible Technology Use
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) offers a poster that lists each of the nine elements of digital citizenship from the ISTE bestseller Digital Citizenship in Schools, Second Edition. Hang this poster in your school or classroom to remind your students of the issues surrounding responsible technology use so students will be able to make the right choices to be good digital citizens. The price of the poster is $9.95 for non-ISTE members; $6.97 for members.
Click Here to Purchase Poster
Foster Empathy and Action
The new documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, offers an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five children and their families. Facing History and Ourselves’ official guide to the film, BULLY: Fostering Empathy and Action in Schools, helps adult and student audiences confront the stories in this film and explore the meaning for their schools and their wider communities.
Click Here to Download Free Guide
Support Online Safety
Own Your Space is a free, 16-chapter ebook designed to educate ‘tweens and teens about protecting themselves and their stuff online. Each chapter of the ebook goes into great detail explaining the technical threats that students’ computers face online as well as the personal threats to data that students can face online. For example, in the first chapter, students learn about different types of malware and the importance of installing security patches to prevent malware infections. The fourteenth chapter explains the differences between secured and unsecured wireless networks, the potential dangers of an unsecured network and how to lock down a network. The ebook is available in Windows format only. Download the entire book or individual chapters from the Microsoft website.
Click Here to Download Free eBook
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Mobile Learning on the Move

Take Science and Math Learning to the Next Level
Exploriments are simulation-based interactive learning units for enhancing conceptual understanding in science and math in an experiential manner. Designed to be equally effective as learning as well as teaching aids, Exploriments provide a highly interactive, exploratory and engaging experience. Try the freeExploriments iPad apps for Motion, Fluids, Electrostatics, Electricity and Force.
Click Here to Access Free Apps
Analyze News from Different Perspectives
Newsy is a multisource Video News Analysis app designed and developed exclusively for the iPad. Through short videos, Newsy accelerates your understanding of a news story by analyzing perspectives from multiple sources around the world. A news analyzer, not an aggregator, Newsy is the only video news app producing daily videos that highlight the nuances in reporting. Download the free iPad app and experience Newsy’s short, informative videos.
Click Here to Download Free App
Address Communication Disorders
Developed by students in Purdue University’s EPICS Department, the SPEAKall! iPad app is designed to help children with special needs learn the process of constructing sentences. The app specifically targets children with severe communication disorders who need intervention in the area of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). It can be used within an exchanged-based communication approach. The app is customizable to each child’s specific needs by allowing the instructor to use recorded audio and custom images from any library.
Click Here to Download Free App
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Explore How Math and Science Shape the World
Raytheon’s traveling exhibit promoting science, technology, engineering and math among children starts at the Smithsonian, but the company will then take it on the road to stops across the nation and then internationally. With nearly 40 interactives, MathAlive! lets students do cool things, such as make music, design skateboards and keep water clean in what the company calls an "immersive” experience.
Click Here to Visit Website
Journey into Galaxies
NASA scientists have unveiled a first-of-its-kind atlas of the stars that catalogs more than half a billion celestial objects—including stars, galaxies, planets, asteroids and hundreds of objects that had never been detected before. The project, made possible by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, processed more than 15 TB of data to narrow the material down to 18,000 images in a catalog.
Click Here to Visit Website
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"Worth-the-Surf” Websites

See America’s Diversity
America is a nation of Smiths, Johnsons and Sullivans—but also of Garcias and Nguyens. Zoom in on the interactive map on this National Geographic web page to see which surnames proliferate in your part of the country.
Click Here to Visit Website
Travel Through Time
ChronoZoom is a new multimedia timeline from Microsoft Research that displays the history of the world from the dawn of time to today. The timeline is arranged according to themes and thresholds. Thresholds are eras and major developments in the history of the world. Within each threshold are multiple videos, images and texts about that time. View the tutorial from Microsoft to discover all of the functions of ChronoZoom.
Click Here to Visit Website
Click Here to View Tutorial
Drive Innovation in the Classroom
Schools are coming together to form a League of Innovative Schools to drive innovation in America’s classrooms. The new League of Innovative Schools is formed as part of Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization tasked with improving and expediting innovation in education. The top objectives of the movement are to help districts make smarter decisions when purchasing technology, allow for innovation in schools to happen more quickly and create a system of models for effective innovation that could be used in other schools. By taking part in the League, schools can share ideas about using technology successfully, find new ways to get promising technologies into the classroom and evaluate how well they work. Join the online discussion on how you’re using technology to help teachers teach and students learn.
Click Here to Visit Website
Connect Contemporary YA Fiction to Real Life
The Contemps is a community of readers and writers passionate about contemporary young adult fiction. Their goal is to help teens, booksellers and librarians connect with and celebrate books that feature true-to-life settings, characters and situations, and to let publishers know about the ongoing demand for contemporary stories. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, a new or fairly recent contemporary title is spotlighted on The Contemps website. For example, the spotlight book for March 28 was The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George.
Click Here to Visit Website
Teach with TED
In early April, the nonprofit TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design – is launching a free, online education website, TED-Ed, which will house high-quality online lessons and assignments as companions to its library of about 1,100 free "video talks” maintained on the TED website. Initially, TED-Ed lessons will be geared toward high school and college students and "life learners.” The first batch of about a dozen videos is expected to grow to about 300 within a year. Subjects are likely to include standard high school subjects, such as math, science, social studies and English, but TED-Ed is open to unusual topics as well. Teachers will be able to insert questions for their students into the videos and send their students links to the annotated videos. TED-Ed is inviting educators and animators to submit ideas for lessons and will select and produce them. The public can also nominate talented educators. Teachers will not be paid for their ideas or for recording lessons for the videos. Advertising is barred from the videos, and teachers appearing in them are not permitted to use them for commercial purposes. If the video is shown via YouTube for Schools, a special network setting will restrict access to only educational videos; no advertising will appear.
Click Here to Visit Website
Picture a Period in American History
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Picturing the 1930s website enhances students’ visual literacy skills and allows them to assimilate and present content in the documentary movie style. Students learn about the 1930s through eight exhibitions: The Depression, The New Deal, The Country, Industry, Labor, The City, Leisure, and American People. Artworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection are supplemented with other primary sourcematerials, such as photographs, newsreels and artists’ memorabilia. Students can explore this virtual space and find information by clicking on people and objects. They can gather artworks and place them in their bin for later documentary production. The feature presentation in the "movie palace” is a series of interviews, entitled Abstract Artists Describe the 1930s, produced by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Additionally, user-created documentaries can be viewed from the movie palace’s balcony. In the projection booth, you’ll find PrimaryAccess, designed specifically for history teaching, and a movie-making tutorial. In creating digital documentaries, students embed facts and events in a narrative context that can enhance retention and understanding.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: America in the 1930s, from American Studies at the University of Virginia, includes timelines, images, radio programs and links to sites documenting the Great Depression around the country.
Click Here to Visit Website
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Bookmark These!

Browse 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! Find thousands of titles from your favorite educational publishers.
Explore the Web Wednesday feature on 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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