O’Connor touts civics lessons via online games

A free computer game for teenagers created with the help of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has made its online debut.

"Supreme Decision," the first of several planned web-based games, went online earlier this month as part of a project called Our Courts. In it, students can play a U.S. Supreme Court clerk helping a justice with a tie-breaking vote over a First Amendment case.

Backed by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and Georgetown University, the Our Courts project is designed to teach middle school students about the Constitution and the courts.

O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, has said more people can name an "American Idol" judge than the three branches of government.

Though she didn’t get a computer until she was in her 40s, and she doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, O’Connor believes using technology is the way to teach students about the Constitution and inspire a renewed commitment to civics education in U.S. schools.

Since retiring from the Supreme Court three years ago, the 79-year-old justice has helped develop free web-based games to teach civics. Yet she admits her grandchildren are much more tech-savvy than she is.

"I don’t even do much text messaging," O’Connor told the Associated Press in an interview last spring.

Besides teaching about civics, she hopes the Our Courts project will help students learn how to analyze problems and develop arguments.

"You’re going to have greater success if you teach it in ways that [students] like to use," O’Connor said. "They spend 40 hours a week, on average, in front of some type of screen."

In "Supreme Decision," students play a Supreme Court law clerk. They have to help Justice Irene Waters write the majority opinion on whether a school can ban students from wearing music band T-shirts.

Another game, called "Do I Have a Right," will be released soon. In that game, students play the director of a constitutional law firm who must decide which amendment resolves a problem posed by a client.


Our Courts

See also:

"Former High Court justice: Teach civics" (eSN Online, March 2007)



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3 Sure Fire Ways to Generate More Power off the Tee


Power can be elusive to golfers. Is true power generated through technique, strength or something more? Every golfer wants more power, more distance, more consistency. Here are 3 ways to generate the kind of power you have only dreamed of…until now.



1. Spinal Rotation. Every time you swing the golf club, you rotate around your spine. So, what does this have to do with power? Power is generated every time you stabilize your hips to make a full backswing with spinal rotation. Most golfers have heard of the X factor. This, of course, refers to the differential between the movement in your hips and your spine. Increase your spinal rotation and a new sense of power will be released.


2. Core Based Exercises. Your body’s "core", the area around your trunk and pelvis, is where your center of gravity is located. When you have good core stability, the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony. They provide support to your spine. The core is the power zone. It is where all movement begins. A well-developed core allows for improved force output, increased neuromuscular efficiency, and decreased incidence of overuse injuries. A weak core can make you susceptible to poor posture and injury.



3. Plyometrics. Plyometrics are any exercise where the muscle is contracted eccentrically then immediately, concentricly. Put simply, the muscle is stretched (i.e. loaded) before it is contracted. A good example is medicine ball horizontal twists and standing golf swings. According to a recent study published in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) journal, amateur golfers significantly increased their driving distances after just eight weeks of strength training while incorporating plyometrics. Mean driving distance increased 4.3% for the combined training group, with mean club head speed increasing 1.5%. http://www.heightgaintips.com



Once you incorporate these 3 techniques into your exercise program, you’ll never be disgruntled about driving distance or power generation again.


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Integrate Education and Technology in your classroom for free.

Salt Lake City, Utah August 23, 2009 — Gold Systems Inc., has launched a new online training and education community. LearningZen.com is a free Learning Management System that that supports the creation and distribution of shared knowledge. It was created out of the simple concept that things like training and education should be kept in the public domain and available to anyone. Individuals and organizations alike can greatly benefit from participating in such programs. LearningZen.com is dedicated to revolutionizing the Learning Management System marketplace by building a strong community of students, educators, and collaborators.

In today’s environment, children are growing up surrounded by a wealth of technology. Many school districts have already begun to integrate a blended learning model into their curriculum. In blended learning, instructors are able to provide different methods to enhance the learning process of their students. Using electronic media in the classroom is not meant to replace traditional face-to-face learning, but instead to supplement it.
Using online material to complement classroom teaching helps learners by allowing them to study at their own pace in their own time and place. It allows them to view material subjectively and encourages creative and critical thinking. LearningZen.com also supports each course with a certificate of validation, to prove that real learning has taken place.
While LearningZen.com is a free and managed solution for anyone in the community who is willing to share their content with the public, there is also an option that keeps content private and behind a secure portal and it’s just as easy to use as the free site. Premium Services were launched recently on July 6, 2009. LearningZen gives their user complete control of the content, and with the functionality of the site-you can be up and running in hours rather than days. While you can use virtually and sort of media to enhance your course, new features such as the ability to upload PowerPoint presentations are continually developed bi-weekly. LZ is streamlined for training and certification, but can also be used for simple education purposes. At $4999 annually, LearningZen is one of the lowest cost Learning Management Systems available.
Doug Mark, Vice President of Business Development had this to say: “The team at LearningZen has never understood why competitiors charge anywhere from $60,000 to over a million dollars for a Learning Management system. Organizations like the idea of e-learning because it’s supposed to save them money but a lot of LMS companies are very secretive about the overall cost. We wanted to get away form this concept and deliver a low cost solution to the masses.” 
About Gold Systems:
Gold Systems, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been providing creative and cost-effective applications for state and federal government agencies for over 20 years. The company is a leader in the areas of state and federal vital statistics, (electronic registry of births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, etc.), environmental water quality data management, aviation services, emergency medical services and developing and hosting of Internet and Intranet applications.
Gold Systems has been recognized by the State of Utah and the Mountainwest Venture Group as one of the Utah 100 fastest growing companies in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. In 2008, the company was recognized in the Fortune 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. For more information, including the latest product and technology news, visit www.goldsystems.com.
If you would like having any questions or require more information about LearningZen is available at www.learningzen.com or by calling 801-456-6154.
For media inquiries contact:
Tanya Sapula
LearningZen Public Relations

H1N1 Response Plans for Schools Addressed in First NSPRA PR Power Hour Panel of the Season

Washington D.C. and Santa Cruz, CA — August 25, 2009 – The National School Public Relations Association today announced it will host a PR Power Hour panel designed to help educators prepare a clear, strategic communications program to address the H1N1 flu virus this fall. On September 11, "Immunize Your Communication Response Plan Against the Resurgence of the H1N1 Virus" will feature communication best practices shared by school PR veterans from around the country. An interactive forum will follow the live presentation to allow participants to pose questions, share ideas and communicate among themselves throughout the volatile flu season.
The panel will be lead by moderator Frank Kwan, director, communications, Los Angeles County Office of Education. Panelists include: Rick Kaufman, APR, executive director, community relations, Bloomington (Minn.) Public Schools; Julie Thannum, APR, executive director, communications/marketing, Carroll Independent School District, Grapevine, Texas; and Brian Woodland, APR, director, communication/strategic partnerships, Peel District School Board, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Sponsored by SchoolMessenger, registration for the first 100 participants is just $35 ($50 thereafter) at http://www.nspra.org/pr_powerhours.

"NSPRA has been very alert to the H1N1 issue and extremely effective in sharing the strategies necessary to deal with it," said Mr. Kwan. "This Fall, as school communities face the regular flu season, a resurgence of the H1N1 flu virus and the largest vaccination campaign since the 1950’s, information will be key. Increasingly, parents will look to their local schools for the guidance and advice necessary to navigate through the uncertainty."

The H1N1 panel discussion represents the first in a series of nine 2009-2010 PR Power Hour sessions presented by NSPRA. For the complete 2009-2010 PR Power Hour line-up visit the organization’s web site.

"Schools will be on the front lines in the fight against the H1N1 virus this fall," said Sanford Kenyon, President of SchoolMessenger. "Not only will educators be tasked to disseminate the latest information on the virus, but they must also act quickly to address new cases, organize school closures and abate rumors. We are proud to support NSPRA in its effort to arm schools with the proactive communication plans necessary to stay one step ahead of this flu season."


Since 1935, NSPRA has been providing school communication training and services to school leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and the United States Department of Defense Schools worldwide. NSPRA’s mission is to advance education through responsible communication. For more information about NSPRA, go to www.nspra.org.


About SchoolMessenger

SchoolMessenger is a leading provider of notification solutions for education. Thousands of school districts, public schools, colleges, universities, private schools and other educational facilities in all 50 states depend on the company’s innovative solutions to connect and effectively communicate with millions of parents, students and staff every day. Founded in 1999, the company is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California. For information, visit http://www.schoolmessenger.com or call 888.527.5225.# # #


Crestron Eagles Program Donates Theater to Marines

BETHESDA, MD, August 24, 2009 — Crestron hosted the third Eagles Program dedication ceremony yesterday for the Wounded Warriors Battalion – East at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, unveiling the new home theater donated to provide comfort and entertainment for America’s heroes recovering from injuries sustained during combat overseas. The Crestron Eagles Program was conceived by Crestron President George Feldstein to honor the service and sacrifice of our wounded warriors returning home from battle.


The Bethesda Naval Hospital is part of Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, located in the suburbs of Washington. DC. It is a temporary home for marines recovering from severe injuries sustained from combat missions, sniper attacks and IEDs. Many of the wounded men and women are undergoing multiple brain surgeries, but are very optimistic and looking forward to returning to their units or starting their lives as civilians. As the Battalion motto states, they may be “down, but not out.” Every marine has big plans for a bright future, and today was an emotional day for all who participated.


 Attending the ceremonial ribbon cutting were Officer in Charge Lt. Colonel Benjamin Hermantin, Gunnery Sergeant Charles Strong-SNCOIC, Company Gunny Staff Sergeant Charles Nesbitt, members of the L/Cpl Robert J. Slattery Detachment #206 Marine Corps League, and the entire Wounded Warriors Battalion. Cpl Jesse Brassart and LCpl Frank Parenti held the ribbon, while Sgt John McNamara cut it.

“We want to thank Crestron for giving us this very generous gift,” said Staff Sergeant Charles Nesbitt. “I can’t tell you how much all these marines appreciate your support and how much they enjoy the system you’ve provided.”

The marines presented Crestron with a certificate of appreciation, a photograph of the battalion signed by every marine, and two medals, which were accepted by Government Market Manager Pete Baca, USMC Ret.


“Thank you for your kind words, but we are the ones who are grateful and honored to be able to do this for you,” said Vincent Bruno, Crestron Director of Marketing. “You all have made great sacrifices for us – to preserve out freedom. This is merely a small token of our appreciation for all you do and are doing.” Bruno then presented Staff Sgt. Nesbitt with a gold engraved plaque.


The installation would not have been possible without the donations and efforts of industry partners.AVI/SPL installed the system, ICD did all the programming, and the other vendors kindly gave the necessary equipment: Marshall Furniture (custom cabinet), Triad (speakers and stands) and Velodyne (sub-woofer). Crestron donated an Adagio® home theater system, CEN-IDOCV interface for iPod®,   TPMC-6X touchpanel, a 52-inch HD plasma and a Blu-ray player.


The young men and women receiving treatment and recovering at the Bethesda Naval Hospital spend most of their days at “appointment” with doctors and physical therapists. There are occasional off-base trips and activities offered, but there is little to do at the hospital and boredom is often their biggest enemy. The new theater provides hours of fun and entertainment, and motivates the troops to gather and socialize when their not at appointments.


“Last weekend I was here watching pre-season football rather than at home,” explained Gunnery Sgt. Charles Strong. “The TV here is much better and it was more fun to hang out with some of the other guys.”

The next hospitals scheduled to receive a home theater are Warrior Transition Battalion  at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX and Wounded Warriors Battalion – West in San Diego, CA.

For more information about the Crestron Eagle Program contact Pete Baca at pbaca@crestron.com. For high-resolution photos of the Crestron Eagles Program dedication ceremony at Camp Lejeune go to www.crestron.com/pressroom and select “High Res Photos and Logos” and then “Current Press Photos.”


About Crestron
For 40 years Crestron has been the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced control and automation systems, innovating technology to simplify and enhance modern businesses and lifestyles. Today, delivering direct network connected systems and the new Crestron DigitalMedia™ line, Crestron provides the only viable solution for the digital age. Its integrated solutions control AV, computer, and environmental systems from touchpanels, keypads, remotes and mobile devices. Crestron streamlines technology to improve resource management, operational efficiency and convenience in commercial buildings, schools, hotels and hospitals.

Crestron manufactures all products from its World Headquarters in New Jersey, with 57 regional offices throughout North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Australia.


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GigaTribe Photos :
PR Contact:
Karen Thomas
Thomas PR
Provides Secure Access to Schools for Sharing Educational Videos, Photos & Documents
Saves Money, Completely Safe & Encrypted
August 24, 2009, Suresnes, France – GigaTribe http://www.gigatribe.com, the free community file sharing software, announced today its new “Back to School” features. In schools, videos are created in the classroom to train new teachers how to teach, behave, explain, etc., in real-life situations, with real children. This material is very private, as school children would have to have their faces completely blacked out if the videos were on a public network, costing schools a lot of time and money.  Completely safe and encrypted, GigaTribe.com’s peer-to-peer private online network solves this problem by letting schools share classroom videos privately online with teachers.  


Another “Back to School” feature is the ability to share class documents ? a great way to improve student interaction outside the classroom ? as well as share course materials among teachers.  Also, students use GigaTribe.com to remotely access their computers while on campus, at the library, Starbucks, or other WiFi locations; to view and share study materials, videos, and photos with other students and friends online with GigaTribe’s secure remote Internet access.
In addition, GigaTribe recently announced its new DivX video streaming feature, which students can use to instantly stream DivX videos online. With the new DivX video feature, there’s no waiting, so users can view videos while they are still being transferred, even if they are not completely downloaded yet. Entire personal video libraries can be remotely accessed through the GigaTribe secure “Private Area” without delay and watched when traveling or away from their home, dorm, or school, with only the need of a web browser. 
GigaTribe New “Back to School” Features:
  • Training Videos:  Schools can post private teacher training videos with real children included, without having to spend the time and money to cover up faces, as needed with other un-secure networks.
  • Teachers Share Materials:  Teachers can sharecourses materials with other teachers.
  • Remote Access: Students can remotely access their computers while on campus, at the library, café, or other location with WiFi.
  • Students Share Materials:  Students can share study materials, videos, and photos with classmates online.
  • DivX video:  Video can be streamed for instant viewing.
“GigaTribe is clearly the best solution to share private files safely. It helps schools save precious time and money,” said Alexis Leseigneur, Gigatribe CTO and co-founder. “GigaTribe is already a must-have software for teachers and students alike, especially during the ‘Back to School’ period.”
GigaTribe “Ultimate” is priced at only $4.99/month or $29.95 a year, GigaTribe Basic is available for free. See www.gigatribe.com for more information.
About GigaTribe
GigaTribe is community software used by more than 1 million people to share files privately over the Internet.  GigaTribe’s unique solution lets you share files directly from your hard drive, without having to copy your files on someone else’s server. This way sharing files remains private, secure and without a limit to the number or size of the files that you share.

Elluminate creates free social learning network for educators

Elluminate Inc. has expanded its role as a provider of online learning platforms and meeting spaces by launching a new social learning network for education, called LearnCentral. A free and open resource for professionals in the global education community, LearnCentral provides social networking and collaboration tools for members to find and connect with others, share content and best practices, create and maintain a portfolio of learning content, meet in real-time virtual rooms, and hold and attend virtual events. Upon joining LearnCentral, each member receives a free Elluminate vRoom, a virtual meeting room for up to three participants or locations. The network is moderated by Elluminate’s social learning consultant, Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0 and director of the Consortium for School Networking’s K12 Open Technologies Initiative. http://www.learncentral.org


Texas School District Taps Stimulus Funding for Carnegie Learning Math Curricula & Teacher Development

PITTSBURGH, PA, August 24, 2009 – Crystal City Independent School District (ISD) in southwest Texas has purchased Carnegie Learning® Professional Development programs for teachers and Carnegie Learning® Math Curricula for the District’s five elementary, middle, and high schools. The three-year purchase was made entirely with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) education funds.

The goal of Crystal City ISD’s three-year mathematics initiative is to improve the passing rate on the math Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) standardized test, administered in grades 3-12. Carnegie Learning® innovative software, print, and professional development solutions will be integrated with the District’s existing CSCOPE curricula. CSCOPE programs were developed by Texas Education Service Centers to transform classroom practices by integrating improved curriculum and assessment, professional development, and innovative technology.

Crystal City ISD purchased six Carnegie Learning® Math Content Academies for teachers in kindergarten through 8th grade, including the workshops Developing Mathematical Understanding and Developing Algebraic Thinking, which provide teachers with the experience, insight, and support to grow as more reflective practitioners. For students in grades 6-12, Crystal City ISD is implementing Carnegie Learning® Bridge to Algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry software, print resources, and collaborative classroom activity.

“We are creating a mathematics turnaround in Crystal City ISD,” said Raymundo Villarreal, Jr., superintendent of schools for Crystal City ISD. “By enhancing our existing CSCOPE resources with Carnegie Learning® Math Curricula and teacher resources, we are stepping up our commitment to improving the futures of our students and our teachers. Our goal is to deliver a deeper understanding of math concepts, how to teach them more effectively, and how to learn them with sustainability and application to the real world as a path to graduation.”

Carnegie Learning® Math Programs include interactive software lessons, print resources, collaborative classroom activity, ongoing formative assessment of student and class progress, and Professional Development services. Based upon an artificial intelligence model, Cognitive Tutor® Software provides self-paced, differentiated instruction that identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses and individualizes instruction. Teachers can re-sequence units to build a custom program that meets the unique needs of a class or an individual. Integrated print resources engage students in classroom activities that strengthen understanding of math as it applies to the real world, and collaborative classroom activities encourage students to work cooperatively to solve problems.

"Carnegie Learning® Math Programs are strongly aligned to the guidelines and objectives of ARRA funds for education,” said Dennis Ciccone, chief executive officer of Carnegie Learning, Inc. “Like many districts in Texas and throughout the country, Crystal City ISD is re-directing their math strategy to focus on scientifically based resources that integrate technology and e-learning to personalize and differentiate instruction and bring innovation to teaching and learning.”

About Carnegie Learning (www.carnegielearning.com)
Carnegie Learning, Inc. is a leading publisher of innovative, research-based math curricula for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students. Our curricula – Bridge to Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Integrated Math programs – provide differentiated instruction that helps 500,000 students in nearly 2600 schools throughout the U.S. to succeed in math as a gateway to graduation and the 21st century workforce. Carnegie Learning® Blended Math Curricula integrate interactive software, text, and collaborative classroom activity for core, full-year math instruction. Carnegie Learning® Adaptive Math Curricula Solutions feature Cognitive Tutor® Software that may be customized for Response to Intervention programs. All solutions are supported by Carnegie Learning® Professional Development Services. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Learning was founded in 1999 by cognitive and computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in conjunction with veteran mathematics teachers.

Mary Murrin
Carnegie Learning, Inc.
(412) 690-2442 X176


Discovery Education and Scholastic Media Renew Relationship Providing Students and Educators High-Quality Curriculum-Aligned Digital Content


Silver Spring, Md. (Aug. 24, 2009) – Discovery Education and Scholastic Media announce the continuation of their relationship providing award-winning digital content to more than half of schools nationwide through Discovery Education streaming.  This agreement ensures Discovery Education’s role as the only streaming media service to offer The Magic School Bus® series to the K-12 market.  The award-winning series’ engaging approach to early science education consistently ranks it among the highest viewed assets on Discovery Education streaming.


In addition to The Magic School Bus, under the new agreement, Discovery Education streaming‘s more than one million users continue to enjoy exclusive streaming access to more than 50 Scholastic titles from series including Dear America®, Horrible Histories™, and I Spy™.


Discovery Education also is continuing its relationship with Scholastic subsidiary Weston Woods®.  Currently, 150 Weston Woods children’s literature titles are available as part of Discovery Education streaming‘s robust content library, including such favorites as Chrysanthemum, How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, and Rikki Tikki Tavi.  Coming this fall, Discovery Education will add an additional 20 Weston Woods video titles to its collection.  Discovery Education also features 135 audio books from Weston Woods in a variety of world languages, including Japanese, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.


"We are delighted to continue our relationship with Discovery Education, and are pleased that educators and students will have access to Scholastic’s quality content through their Discovery Education streaming service," said Leslye Schaefer, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Products for Scholastic Media.


Scholastic Media is the latest media partner to renew its distribution agreement with Discovery Education.  In July, PBS Distribution LLC, a joint venture between the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and its Boston-based affiliate WGBH, renewed its agreement.  At the same time, Discovery Education struck new content partnerships with the Chicago Sun-Times and Educational Publishers LLP, a joint venture between Pearson Education and BBC Worldwide.


"Discovery Education is committed to providing educators and students the highest-quality digital content from the Discovery Communications library and the libraries of other top content providers like Scholastic Media," said Kelli Campbell, Senior VP of Content and Product Development, Discovery Education.  "Digital content has enormous potential to engage students in learning across the curriculum, and we will continue to seek only the most powerful educational media for our services."


Discovery Education’s Curriculum Development team reviews all videos to ensure appropriateness for K-12 classrooms, creates teaching materials to accompany the videos, and segments the programs into 2-3 minute teachable moment clips.  To assist in the process and to guarantee impartial review of materials, the Curriculum Development team also works in partnership with external content experts across curriculum areas, including teachers, curriculum supervisors and district-level administrators.


The only digital video-based learning resource scientifically shown to increase academic achievement, Discovery Education streaming enhances curriculum with up to 9,000 videos and 71,000 high-quality digital video clips, all aligned to state standards.  Searchable by keyword, content area and grade level, the rich video content and other digital assets from Discovery Education can be easily integrated into curricula to engage today’s students in learning.


For more information about Discovery Education streaming or any other products and services from Discovery Education, please visit www.discoveryeducation.com or call 800-323-9084.


About Weston Woods Studios

Weston Woods® Studios, a division of Scholastic Media, is the leading creator of audiovisual adaptations of classic children’s picture books.  Serving the school and library market as a supplemental educational resource, Weston Woods has brought such cherished films as Where the Wild Things Are  and Make Way for Ducklings to generations of children. These best-loved stories are offered through retailers on DVD, as SCHOLASTIC STORYBOOK TREASURES, distributed by New Video.


About Scholastic Media

Scholastic Media, the entertainment and media division of Scholastic, is a leading producer of quality, family-oriented content across multiple platforms, including feature films, television programming, videos, interactive and audio products, and websites, and is a major developer and marketer of children’s brands worldwide.  For more information visit www.scholastic.com.


About Discovery Education

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education.  Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement.  Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services.  Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.


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