April 15, 2014

Cool Tools for Featuring Student Book Reviews

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There’s nothing like a book recommendation from a friend. Encourage students to share their opinions by creating a student-driven book review site. Richard Byrne shows you how in the accompanying screencasts.

Harvard Study Examines Youth View on Technology Use in Schools

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A new Harvard study examines US students’ attitudes towards technology in schools. Although 78 percent own cell phones, activating them in schools is restricted, which frustrates students. Students also express frustration with school’s limited WiFi access, Internet filtering, monitoring, and the push to embrace tablet computers.

Engaging with Ebooks Can Aid Children’s Literacy, Study Finds

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As younger and younger children recognize and use electronic devices as sources of information and entertainment, what is the impact on their literacy skills? Largely a positive one, according to a study in the January edition of SAGE Open.

SLJ Survey: Ebook Usage in School Libraries Expected to Rise Incrementally

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School library media specialists, especially in high schools, expect ebook usage by their students to rise incrementally, according to the 2013 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K–12) Libraries. The annual survey, the fourth of its kind, was produced by School Library Journal and sponsored by Follett.

Animation Made Easy: The best tools for student projects, from stop motion to GIFs

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With accessible tools, you and your students can create your own simple animations to convey powerful ideas. Screencast tutorials will have you up and running with the latest “Cool Tools” from Richard Byrne, SLJ columnist and blogger at “Free Technology for Teachers.”

Tablets in Schools—What’s Ahead in 2014

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“Twenty thirteen was the ‘year of the tablet’ and good riddance,” says Christopher Harris. Time to focus on the real reason to invest in any tool for learning: content and pedagogy.

South Dakota Honors “21st Century School Libraries”

Sioux Falls school librarian and 21st Century
School Library Award winner Kerri Smith (in green jacket)
with her students from Washington High School.

The South Dakota State Library launched a new program this fall, the 21st Century School Library Award, to honor the work of 20 school libraries who are best representing 21st-century principles. The creators are hoping the recognition will serve as a motivation for other schools and districts to invest in their libraries.

MacMillan, Follett Partner to Expand PreK–12 Ebook Offerings

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Follett has partnered with Macmillan Publishers to distribute Macmillan’s collection of popular ebook titles for PreK–12 students. The collection adds to the more than 250,000 ebook titles currently available through Titlewave, Follett’s collection development, search and ordering tool.

Creature Feature: Fanciful Characters Drove this Transmedia Story

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In an ambitious foray into transmedia, Razorbill has teamed with the special effects company Framestore to produce The Creature Department (2013). The making of the new novel by Robert Paul Weston, starring a cast of fantastical characters, was a unique collaboration—with Framestore playing an active role in the book’s creation.

Follett Offers Simon & Schuster Ebooks to Schools

Follett has partnered with Simon & Schuster to make more than 450 PreK–12 titles in ebook format available on Titlewave, Follett’s collection development, search, and ordering tool. The partnership brings the total number of Follett’s offerings through Titlewave to more than 250,000 ebooks.