New curriculum products for schools

Now, school leaders who are interested in buying SkillsTutor’s math and reading fluency software, but who are concerned that they don’t have the ed-tech infrastructure necessary to deliver the software to every student effectively, can buy the software as part of a cost-effective, integrated solution that includes Intel Classmate mobile computers and IT support from Equus.

“To engage the 21st-century learner, …educators must find ways to transform traditional learning into an anytime, anywhere ecosystem,” said SkillsTutor President Adam Hall. “By providing students with both … software and devices, we can make sure they are able to take advantage of all that [SkillsTutor] has to offer, in an innovative way that meets them where they already are.”

Beginning this school year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also will let educators virtually sample thousands of its K–12 curriculum offerings—giving teachers and curriculum directors a faster an easier way to evaluate the company’s products, the company said.

In another new deal with important implications for schools, ePals and the Smithsonian Institution have announced a partnership to deliver Smithsonian resources and expertise in science, art, history, and culture across the entire ePals social learning platform. Through this partnership, Smithsonian content will be threaded throughout ePals’ LearningSpace and SchoolMail 365 products and will be accessible to all ePals users in the ePals Global Community, the company says.

ePals LearningSpace users can explore and collaborate on Smithsonian projects and exhibits using a variety of safe, policy-managed social media and Web 2.0 tools, with the ability to share, store, and manage projects and files on ePals’ cloud-based platform for anytime, anywhere access, ePals says. SchoolMail users can get weekly eMail messages delivering interactive Smithsonian reading and writing activities targeted by topic and grade level.

All “Smithsonian on ePals” subjects include lesson plans for teachers, step-by-step collaborative projects for classrooms, and media galleries where students and teachers can publish and share completed work. ePals classrooms also can connect with Smithsonian experts and curators online for lessons, discussion, and enrichment—and the two organizations say they’ll work together to produce additional classroom projects and activities.

PBS Kids previewed new curriculum resources that will launch in September, including online games, interactive whiteboard activities, mobile apps, augmented reality applications, and play-along videos from shows such as Curious George, Super Why!, Sid the Science Kid, and Dinosaur Train. The resources are intended to help preschool and elementary school teachers take advantage of the popularity of these television shows with lessons both inside and outside of the classroom.

Pearson has announced that its digital curriculum program for K-8 math and reading, SuccessMaker, will be available online starting this fall. Now, school districts will be able to implement SuccessMaker over the internet, with Pearson hosting the digital content and student data and delivering the information online to schools.

Online deployment is a cost-effective option for schools, Pearson says, because it enables the scaling up of implementation more easily; simplifies setup; and reduces the headaches of management and backup. Plus, online delivery of SuccessMaker can help schools extend the learning day beyond the classroom walls. The latest version of SuccessMaker also includes a new Spanish language glossary to improve support for English language learners, as well as content aligned with the Common Core standards.

CompassLearning has announced innovations in its CompassLearning Odyssey 2011 curriculum software, including a new middle school science offering, enhancements to its math and English/language arts content—including hundreds of new interactive activities that are aligned with the Common Core standards—and an upgraded user interface.

eSchool News Staff

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