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May 2012 Big Deal Book of Technology eNewsletter
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May 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
Mobile Learning on the Move
"Worth-the-Surf” Websites
Bookmark These!
In Partnership With:

Grants, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities

Increase Community Commitment to Youth
Each year, America’s Promise and ING celebrate 100 deserving communities that provide their youth with the Five Promises—caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others—and work to increase graduation rates. Any community committed to better serving its young people is eligible for recognition. A grant of $2,500 will be given to every community that is named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The $2,500 winner’s grant can be used to help fund a local program or service, within certain parameters, or for a local event to celebrate the win.
Deadline: May 17, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Evaluate Progress in School Technology Use
For the fifth year, administrators and faculty members from K–12 and postsecondary educational institutions have the opportunity to take a short, online survey to evaluate their current technology use. Educators can use the 20 benchmarks in the Software & Industry Information Association’s (SIIA) Vision K–20 survey to evaluate their current implementation of technology and also establish goals for the future with the "ideal implementation” component of the survey. Focusing on goals outlined in the Vision roadmap, including 21st century tools, accessibility, differentiated learning, assessment tools and enterprise support, institutions—schools, districts, two-year colleges and four-year universities—will be able to use the Vision’s benchmarks to monitor their progress. They can also complete the survey periodically as they work toward the Vision for K–20 in education. All educators who complete the survey will be entered in a drawing for free iTunes or Starbucks gift cards.
Deadline: May 24, 2012
Click Here to Participate in Vision K–20 Survey
Click Here to Learn More About Vision K–20 Initiative
Showcase Innovative Educational Projects
The World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE) Awards, sponsored by the Institute of International Education, are designed to identify, showcase and promote innovative educational projects from around the world. Under the theme Transforming Education, the 2012 WISE Awards will recognize six projects for their concrete, positive impact on society. Every year, since 2009, six winners are selected by a prestigious jury for their concrete and positive impact on education. In addition to this recognition given by eminent experts from the education world, they receive $20,000 and are given access to international exposure. WISE invites project holders in any sector and at any level of education to submit applications that demonstrate the quality and impact of their activities in accordance with the criteria stated in the regulations.
Deadline: May 31, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Encourage Communication About the Dropout Crisis
Public media stations across the country are partnering with local schools to launch youth media projects that will encourage students to tell their stories related to America’s dropout crisis and to become more engaged in school. The projects are part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, an initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help communities keep students in school until they graduate. American Graduate youth media projects use multimedia tools to foster greater academic engagement, teach technical media skills in group settings and give students a platform to communicate about the dropout crisis, all in a safe and constructive after-school environment.
Deadline: Ongoing
Click Here for More Information
Foster Empathy and Action in Schools
For a limited time, and The Bully Project are offering to take public school students to see the movie BULLY for free in movie theaters nationwide. Funding is first come, first served while the film remains in theaters. The first $100,000 of qualifying projects approved will automatically be fully funded. Projects must be submitted by full-time public school teachers.
Deadline: For limited time while film is in movie theaters
Click Here for More information
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Free and Inexpensive Resources

Promote Good Citizenship in the Digital World
Facebook has released a new resource, "Facebook for School Counselors,” intended to help counselors use the social-networking website and teach students how to use the site responsibly. The resource was released in collaboration with The Internet Keep Safe Coalition and The American School Counselor Association. The guide includes information for considering school policies, responding to online incidents and identifying risky online behavior.
Click Here to Download Free Guide
Plus: If you’re looking for Facebook-related resources from other educators, check out the Facebook for Educators website.
Click Here to Visit Website
Travel the Rails with a Globetrotting Dog
Owney is joining the ranks of the beloved characters now telling their story via ebook. Written by the director of the education department at the Smithsonian’s National Postage Museum, the freeTales from the Rails animated ebook invites readers to discover more about this globetrotting dog, who crisscrossed the country in the 1890s, riding on mail train cars and collecting tokens for his harness along the way. His story inspired the release of an Owney postage stamp last summer. The ebook continues the series of materials featuring Owney made available in 2011, including an exhibit, freecurriculum guide and freeaugmented reality iPad app.
Click Here to Visit Postal Museum Website
Click Here to Access Free eBook
Click Here to Access Free App
Model It in Three Dimensions
3DTin is a free web-based program for creating 3-D models. The program provides templates that you can use to develop the 3-D models, or you can build models from scratch. The service is free to use as long as you allow your models to be labeled with a Creative Commons license and put in the 3DTin gallery. The gallery is also a place to find examples of what can be created in 3DTin. Models that you create can be exported for use in other modeling software. To use 3DTin, you must be using a modern web browser that supports WebGL.
Click Here to Access Free Web-Based Tools
Read Along with Screen Actors
Storyline Online is a collection of video recordings of children’s stories being read by notable actors and actresses. Each video has a short introduction by the actor and then transitions to the reading of the story. Students can follow along with the pictures and words of the story. Along with each video, you’ll find a set of online and offline activities to support use of the story in your classroom. Storyline Online is a production of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.
Click Here to Access Free Video Recordings
Spot the Dangers in the Wild Web Woods
In an effort to teach children about potential dangers online and ways to avoid them, the Council of Europe offers a game called Through the Wild Web Woods. The game is designed for children aged 7–10 to help them learn how to spot dangers on the Internet and what to do when they do spot a danger online. The game is available in 25 languages.
Click Here to Access Free Game

Scholastic Teacher Express offers access to 10,000+ teaching resources—all just a click away. The teaching resources include activities, practice pages and lesson plans—starting at just $0.99. You can purchase the whole e-book or just the e-pages you need. The PDFs are available instantly; there’s no wait, or hassle, or special equipment needed. Just print or project to your whiteboard. Shop now and save 30 percent, using promo code BigDealMay01.
Deadline: Offer valid through May 14, 2012
Click Here for Instant Access to Teaching Resources
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Mobile Learning on the Move

Discover Ideas for Mobile Learning
The Infinite Thinking Machine (ITM) is a high-energy Internet TV show targeted at K–12 educators, parents and students. New episodes of the web shorts (five to seven minutes) are released once a fortnight during the school year and feature real educators sharing tools and instructional practices to inspire creativity and innovation in education around the world. ITM Episode 2.02 ("Learning a Go Go”) showcases ideas and innovations for mobile learning. Features include creative ways to combine Twitter and Instagram, texting tools to poll students, ideas for using EduCreations to flip your classroom and for harnessing the power of Google Hangouts as well as advice for teaching context rather than straight facts. ITM is produced by Computer-Using Educators (CUE), a nonprofit educational association focused on advancing student achievement through technology. The free, online episodes are available on the ITM website and @ITMshow on Twitter. Get all the details in the show’s notes.
Click Here to Visit Website
Click Here for Episode Details
Exercise Creative Muscles with Cool Tools
Common Sense Media has debuted an educational ratings system for digital content with listings for more than 150 mobile apps, games and websites, and several hundred more expected to follow. The rating system piggybacks on Common Sense Media’s system of reviewing media in popular culture to determine age appropriateness and quality. The new reviews will also determine products’ levels of math, science and language arts content, as well as their potential for building skills, such as critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. The ratings are created through a combination of input from academic experts, teachers, parents and literature on contemporary learning skills. They will be applied both to digital media created for general consumption and to media created specifically for an educational audience.
Click Here to Visit Website
See It, Snap It, Report It
Citizen scientists and budding naturalists can now use their iPhone to report sightings of birds, butterflies and other migrating species from the field to the Journey North website. The new app provides tools, including maps and a geographic locator, as well as a function to record and send field notes. App users can take and send photos of their quarry using their iPhone or iPad and connect to a growing database of field observations by both students and scientists. An Android version of the app will be available by summer 2012.
Click Here to Download Free App
Plus: The Journey North website features migration maps dating back to 1997, images of wildlife, video, standards-based lesson plans, classroom activities and information from scientists about specific species and the seasons.
Click Here to Visit Journey North Website
Use Poetry for Social Engagement
Power Poetry is the world’s first mobile poetry community for youth. Employing the latest handheld technology, it enables young poets to use text, audio, images and video to express themselves and connect their voices with urgent social movements. (Text POEM to 41411.) Young writers can compose, compare, collaborate and comment as they share their poetry on a global scale using the power of language to turn social networks into poetry slams.
Click Here to Visit Website
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Pitch Technology As a Career for Women
The Technovation Challenge is a program to promote women in technology by giving girls the skills and confidence they need to be successful in computer science and entrepreneurship. Girls who participate in the program are challenged to develop a mobile phone app prototype, write a business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of venture capitalists and technology startup judges. During the 10-week program, girls are supported by high school teachers and female mentors in the technology industry. This spring more than 500 girls are participating in programs in San Francisco, Mountain View, Berkeley, San Jose, Boston, New York City and Los Angeles. Iridescent, the science education nonprofit that runs the Technovation Challenge, has invited guest speakers from leading technology startups to share stories of their path to a career in technology and the lessons they learned along the way. These videos and much more are available on the Technovation Challenge website.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: Educators can now register for the 2012 Technovation for Teachers Summer Institute. The enrollment fee is $400.00, and payment is due by July 1, 2012.
Click Here to Register Online
See Science in Action
Science magazine’s VideoLab offers dozens of videos across a variety of topics in science. For example, one video shows baboons performing a reading experiment. Another video focuses on jumping spiders. And still another explains why the Sun’s outer atmosphere is much hotter than its surface. Each of the videos is connected to an article that students can read online, or you can print for classroom distribution.
Click Here to Visit Website
Jump into an Underwater World
Ocean Tracks is an Australian website on which students can view the tracks of marine animals in an online 3-D environment. The "tracks” show students where in the world tagged animals are swimming or have swum. Ocean Tracks uses the Unity browser plug-in to provide animations of the underwater views of tracked animals. Students can see bluefin tuna, swordfish, sharks and many other fish in three dimensions.
Click Here to Visit Website
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"Worth-the-Surf” Websites

Visit Global Landmarks—Virtually
3-D Photo Tours in Google Maps is a collection of public Panoramio and Picasa images of famous landmarks arranged into 3-D panoramic tours. You can take a tour of places such as the Grand Canyon, Buckingham Palace and Fenway Park. To access these new views, you need to be using a modern browser that supports WebGL technology.
Click Here to Visit Website
Explore Stories of American Life
History Engine is an educational project developed by The University of Richmond for the purpose of giving students a place to explore stories of American life and publish their own stories based on their research. A map on the History Engine website allows students to search for stories by selecting a decade on the timeline and then clicking a location on the map. Students will find stories about ordinary citizens making minor news in their communities as well as stories about famous Americans, such as George Washington.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: The History Engine website provides a guide for teachers who want to have their students conduct research and then write and publish their stories. There’s also an easy-to-follow style guide for students to use in formatting their writings.
Click Here to Access Free Teacher’s Guide
Click Here to Access Free Writing Style Guide
Travel with Alice Through Wondermind
Wondermind is about the mind-boggling stuff going on inside students’ brains as they grow. It’s also about the art of Alice in Wonderland, the exhibition at Tate Liverpool. And it’s about putting together both of those things: mixing art with science. On this website, students can follow Alice down the rabbit hole into the wonderland of their brain.
Click Here to Visit Website
Picture a Story
The Art of Storytelling is a website hosted by the Delaware Museum of Art. On the site, students can listen to and read stories based on works of art. Students can also create their own stories simply by selecting a work of art and then typing a story or recording an audio through their computer’s microphone. Students can also build stories after creating their own simple works of art, using drag-and-drop menus. Stories can then be shared on The Art of Storytelling website.
Click Here to Visit Website
Share Figments of the Imagination
The website Figment—founded in 2010 by Jacob Lewis, a former editor of The New Yorker, and Dana Goodyear, a New Yorker staff writer—gives young writers a forum to freely publish their work. The site presently boasts more than 220,000 registered users and has stocked a library of more than 350,000 individual pieces, ranging from reflective poetry to multi-chapter novellas. As with Facebook, Figment users—most of whom are between 13 and 24 years old—create a profile and upload their work, giving it a title and selecting from a large collection of stock images to use as cover art. Other users can read the pieces online and leave comments and provide feedback. Figment will continue to add features, such as "in-text editing” enabling users to change their work online in real time. In addition, Figment will continue to bring in professional writers and published authors for online Q&A sessions, live chats and blog posts, to connect them to Figment’s aspiring teenage writers. Figment also hosts regular contests in different genres in order to feature fresh young talent.
Click Here to Visit Website
Observe the Growth of a Nation
This "moving” map shows our nation from the beginning of the 13 states through the present. It includes the acquisitions from England and Spain, the slave states, the free states, a segment on the Civil War and some mentions of Central and South America. It also shows the Indian Nations as they were during the Indian Wars: Modac, Miwok, Mujave, Nez Perce, Flat Head, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Navajo, Apache, Dakota, Sioux, Kiowa, Wichita and Comanche. Be sure to turn on the sound, as the narration is a significant portion of the presentation.
Click Here to Visit Website
Become a "Backseat” Reader
Every month, NPR picks a Backseat Book Club selection in the hope that students will read the book and send in their questions. At month’s end, NPR puts some students’ questions to the book’s author during its afternoon radio program All Things Considered. The May book selection takes students on the most action-packed adventure yet for NPR’s Backseat Book Club. In the Newbery Honor–winning Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, students meet 14-year-old Manjiro, a Japanese boy who is full of questions in a world where questions aren’t welcome, but which serve him well when his fishing boat is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan—and he encounters the dreaded Barbarians. They are, it turns out, Americans on a whale hunt, and they bring young Manjiro back to California. He is believed to be the first Japanese in the United States, and he thrives in his new life. Eventually he returns to Japan to become an influential samurai, instrumental in ending Japan’s 250 years of total isolation toward the outside world. The novel is based on true events, and the book includes drawings from the real Manjiro.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: To select the book for June, the Backseat Book Club has partnered with the Children’s Choice Book Awards. Winners will be chosen in six different categories, and NPR’s Backseat Book Club will select one of those books to be the read for June. Teachers, librarians, students and other interested readers are invited to cast their vote to help get their favorite author on the air.
Click Here to Vote for June Book Selection
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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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