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Weekly News Roundup: ISTE 2011 Edition

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Another ISTE attendee.


The International Society for Technology in Education held its annual conference and exhibition this week in Philadelphia. While the official headcount has yet to be released, early estimates pegged the number of attendees at over 20,000.

In lieu of our typical weekly review of ed-tech news, we've opted to focus instead on some of the announcements that came out of ISTE 2011.

  • Educational animation site BrainPOP launched GameUp, a free resource that integrates educational games into the BrainPOP platform. The game titles include "Battleship Numberline" and "Microbes" and come from organizations like iCivics, Filament Games, and The games focus on topics like science, math, and social studies, and like the rest of the BrainPOP materials include supplemental information for teachers such as how to use the game in a lesson, which curriculum standards the game is aligned to, as well as a link to one related BrainPOP topic.
  • PBS launched PBS Learning Media, an online resource with over 14,000 pieces of digital content, including video, audio, photos, and more. The content comes from various local public broadcasting stations, as well as other public agencies, such as the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and NASA. The site is available to teachers and parents, and the material is all tagged and searchable, so that information can be found by content type, age type or topic. See our full story here.
  • ISTE itself released a white paper this week that offers a first look at ISTE's new standards for technology coaching. The proposed NETS*C won't be finalized until this fall, but the white paper discusses ISTE's latest set of standards and the organization's recommendations for helping integrate technology more fully into professional development.
  • Project Tomorrow and Blackboard released a new report examining the rapid acceleration in online learning at the middle and high school level in the U.S. The survey found that the number of high school students who have been involved with online learning has tripled and the number of middle school students who've done so has doubled over the last three years. Furthermore, 36% of classroom teachers say that they too have taken some sort of online class. More than 40% of the students surveyed said they see online classes as an essential part of their learning experience, and more parents and administrators are starting to agree. The demand for online learning opportunities is growing, with a third of 3rd through 5th graders saying they'd like to have the opportunity.
  • StudySync announced that it was expanding its supplemental curriculum from the high school to the middle school level. The company provides a library of more than 300 videos that help teach literature and writing. The video lessons serve to help students learn how to analyze and appreciate literature, and the StudySync system also includes peer-to-peer interaction, so that students learn to engage in written discussions around literature. In expanding to the middle school level, StudySync has added new level-appropriate titles, including Alice in Wonderland and Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl.
  • Sokikom announced the launch of what it's calling the first massively multiplayer online math game. Geared to students grades 1 through 6, Sokikom's game lets up to 30 students in a classroom play a game together. Currently Sokikom has 3 games: Frachine, which focuses on fractions, decimals and percentages; Opirate, which focuses on algebra; and Treeching, which deals with measurement, time, and money.
  • McGraw-Hill introduced CINCH, an all-digital, cloud-based curriculum for K-12 math and grade 7 through 12 science. The content is available through the browser, meaning that students will be able to access it on any Internet-enabled device. CINCH includes not just digital text but also education games, an assessment component, and social networking elements (such as commenting within the curriculum). McGraw-Hill says that the content in CINCH is customizable by districts and teachers and is aligned to Common Core State Standards.
  • Interactive whiteboard maker Promethean announced a partnership with the Channel One Network. Promethean Activboards will get access to the daily Channel One news, supplemented with various interactive tools.