Teacher Creates Educational Storybook App with Curriculum

For Immediate Release
Cyndie Sebourn
Sascyn Publishing, Inc. author/owner
(501) 837-5467
Hot Springs Village, AR – A little Arkansas boy with a pair of magical britches is the star of “Smarty Britches: Nouns,” a new educational app that celebrates Arkansas, created by National Board Certified Teacher Cyndie Sebourn of Hot Springs Village, AR.
Targeted to first- through third-graders, the app teaches kids about nouns, using an Arkansas-based tale that includes 24 pages of story and illustrations, interactive activities, sound sprites, and animation.
A National Board Certified teacher, Sebourn said the app “is designed for educators by an educator.”
“Smarty Britches” teaches literacy and nouns through narrative, and allows kids to leave the text to visit non-linear pages and practice specific types of nouns: person, animal, place, thing or idea,” Sebourn said.
Sebourn, founder of Sascyn Publishing, Inc., also created free curriculum for the app, called “Smarty Activities,” for educators and parents that can be found on the website http://sascynpublishing.com/smarty-activities/. The curriculum is aligned to Common Core State Standards, uses upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, incorporates reading strategies, and is cross curricular.
“The app works for parents, homeschoolers, and teachers,” Sebourn said. “A child can use the app without an adult and learn nouns, or the adults can download the free curriculum and expand the child’s learning.”
Smarty Britches: Nouns is $3.99, is available on Apple’s iPad (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smarty-britches-nouns/id546046418?ls=1&mt=8)
, and will be available on other tablets soon. The app tells the story of a southern boy who owns a magical pair of “britches” that teach him literacy by helping him learn about the nouns in his life. Some of its features include The Arkansas River and Hog Heaven – a make-believe place noun where Hog fans go when their team wins.
Sebourn is founder of Sascyn Publishing, Inc. and author of “Smarty Britches: Nouns.” She has worked as an English teacher, most recently at Jessieville High School. Sebourn retired from education in 2011 to develop educational apps with Common Core State Standards aligned curriculum.


Tech4Learning Releases iPad App for Wixie

Tech4Learning’s Wixie is now available in the Apple App store for the iPad. The new Wixie app takes advantage of the iPad’s touch interface, while connecting to storage, classroom management, portfolio, and assessment tools in the cloud.

Wixie is an authoring tool students can use to paint pictures, write stories, and record their voice to explore the curriculum and demonstrate mastery. Projects are automatically stored in the cloud, making it easy to distribute a URL and passkey for to share Wixie projects with family and the community.

“We are working to make Wixie available to as many users as possible. With the large number of iPads in use at home and the growing 1:1 initiatives that use iPads, having an app for this device is essential to our goal of providing powerful tools and a wide audience for student work,” explains David Wagner, CEO of Tech4Learning.

“I have been a long time fan and user of Pixie and love how we can create the same projects online with Wixie,” shares Katy Hammack, a 3rd grade teacher in Santee, California. “Now with the Wixie iPad app, students will be able to work on assignments and digital stories on their iPads, classroom laptops, or computers at home, allowing us to enable anytime, anywhere learning.”

To learn more about Wixie, visit the Tech4Learning web site at: www.tech4learning.com/wixie.

About Tech4Learning
Tech4Learning develops award-winning educational software that supports effective use of educational technology and helps build essential skills for the digital age. Founded in 1999, the company’s software is used by millions of students around the world. For more information, visit www.tech4learning.com

Additional information about Wixie is available by contacting Danielle Abernethy at 1-877-834-5453 ext 3345.


Community College of Rhode Island to Sustain Academic Standard with New Technology

Higher Education Institution Selects Turning Technologies
as Campus-Wide Clicker Provider

Youngstown, OH – Turning Technologies, the global leader in the student response industry, adds the Community College of Rhode Island to its list of institutions to standardize support around the company’s student response solutions. After the completion of an evaluation pilot, the Community College of Rhode Island has selected ResponseCard® NXT as the centrally supported clicker device.

Community College of Rhode Island is the largest community college in New England and enrolls more than 17,000 students. In order to provide campus-wide autonomy, the institution has standardized on a reliable and flexible technology that can be supported and represented universally. Clickers are used in a variety of courses at the Community College of Rhode Island, and more than 1,000 students are expected to adopt new ResponseCard NXT clickers in fall 2012.

The institution’s faculty evaluation committee consisted of ten various disciplines that based their group decision on the individual opinions and experiences of the pilot. Turning Technologies’ overall solution was identified to best address the full range of uses among faculty members. Key deciding factors included a PowerPoint® add-in, compact portability, pedagogical support, price, ease-of-use and numeric, text entry capabilities.

Jeanne Mullaney, Assessment Coordinator at the Community College of Rhode Island explained, “Students want to learn in different ways and we want faculty to be thinking differently about teaching. It’s my priority to support faculty with easy-to-use tools that will assist in improving student learning outcomes. Turning Technologies offers unparalleled product and pedagogical support. The company has been able to meet our existing needs and they can support us in the direction we want to go.”

Turning Technologies’ ResponseCard NXT provides cell phone style text entry for short answer and essay questions. Combined with TurningPoint® polling software, instructors can poll within PowerPoint®, over any application, and administer self-paced testing for individual summative assessment.
“With critical performance indicators becoming top institutional priorities, the value of immediate assessment available with our technology becomes increasingly vital to the educational process,” said Dr. Tina Rooks, Turning Technologies’ Vice President & Chief Instruction Officer. “Turning Technologies is pleased to partner with the Community College of Rhode Island to provide their educators with tools proven to increase student motivation and retention.”
Turning Technologies readily elicits customer feedback, and takes it into consideration during the development process, creating assessment delivery and data collection solutions specifically designed with users in mind. The company remains the industry leader in higher education with more than 2,300 U.S. colleges and universities using Turning Technologies’ clicker solutions. Additional growth is expected in 2012, predominately during the fall semester with ongoing pilots and standardizations.

About Turning Technologies:
Turning Technologies creates leading assessment delivery and data collection solutions for learning environments. Founded in 2002, the company began with the development of response technology that was affordable, user-friendly and better documented so that users could easily grasp its benefits. Today, an estimated six million ResponseCard clickers have been delivered to K-12 schools, universities and businesses worldwide. Turning has expanded its portfolio of products to include data collection systems that securely transfer digital data for various assessment, testing and certification programs. Based in Youngstown, OH, information on Turning Technologies’ solutions can be found at www.TurningTechnologies.com.


YourTeacher Releases Geometry iBooks Textbook for iPad, Available Exclusively on the iBookstore

YourTeacher Releases Geometry iBooks Textbook for iPad, Available Exclusively on the iBookstore

YourTeacher’s Textbooks with a Teacher Inside® Uses iBooks Author to Combine a Geometry Teacher and a Textbook for the First Time

HOUSTON – July 30, 2012 – YourTeacher (www.YourTeacher.com), a digital publisher specializing in middle school, high school and college math, is proud to announce the release of their Geometry iBooks textbook for iPad, available now exclusively on the iBookstore.

Geometry, built using iBooks Author, joins YourTeacher’s Algebra 1 as the world’s first ‘Textbooks with a Teacher Inside®.’ Unlike traditional textbooks, YourTeacher’s iBooks textbooks feature a personal math teacher built in, ready to provide the ‘heavy lifting’ instruction for every student. By ‘flipping the classroom’ so that the repetitive core instruction is done outside of class, these iBooks textbooks offer teachers the freedom to focus on higher-level concepts and one-on-one instruction.

“We are extremely excited to add Geometry to our Algebra 1 iBooks textbook already available in Apple’s iBookstore,” states Charlie Hermes, CEO of YourTeacher. “We have taken a completely fresh approach to defining what a math textbook can be on iPad. By eliminating the hard to read math text in a traditional book and replacing it with an actual teacher, we give students a chance to easily learn from their textbooks. As a result, instead of coming to class starting at ground zero, students can master much of the material before entering the classroom.”

Find out how your school or district can unlock the power of YourTeacher’s iBooks textbooks by visiting Apple’s iBookstore and downloading a sample lesson from YourTeacher’s Geometry iBooks textbook (http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/geometry/id542097752?mt=13).


About YourTeacher is a leading digital publisher specializing in middle school, high school and college level math. Our subscription website, YourTeacher.com, together with our extensive line of math apps, have provided hundreds of thousands of students with math tutoring, standardized test prep, and homeschooling. YourTeacher is also revolutionizing the textbook industry with our patent-pending math iBooks textbooks featuring a textbook with a teacher inside®. For more information, please visit YourTeacher.com.

Contact: Sue Hanson * 763-657-0987 * sue@susanhanson.com


California Institute of Technology Selects Oracle’s StorageTek Tape Storage to Archive and Access Petabytes of Scientific Research Data

California Institute of Technology Selects Oracle’s StorageTek Tape Storage to Archive and Access Petabytes of Scientific Research Data

Oracle’s StorageTek T10000C Tape Drives and Oracle’s Sun Storage Archive Manager Help Caltech Scientists Retain Worldwide Physics Project Data in Perpetuity

Redwood Shores, Calif. – July 30, 2012

News Facts

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a private research university in Pasadena, Calif., has implemented Oracle’s StorageTek tape libraries and drives to support deep data archiving for an ongoing global collaborative research project.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, operated by Caltech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and supported by the National Science Foundation, is a physics experiment testing Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity known as general relativity. With partners around the world, LIGO scientists use a network of instruments at remote observatories to collect and measure thousands of data channels, which are all copied and stored at the central archive repository at Caltech.

In 2011, the LIGO Laboratory needed to migrate 2.9 petabytes of data representing 12 years of observations to an up-to-date, reliable and scalable storage system that could automate access to existing data archives as well as support significantly higher data rates of up to 1 petabyte per year from the next generation Advanced LIGO experiment.

To support rapid data growth, perform deep data archiving, and simplify their IT environment, the LIGO Lab upgraded from Oracle’s StorageTek T9940B tape drives at two LIGO observatories and from Oracle’s StorageTek T10000B tape drives at the central Caltech repository to Oracle’s StorageTek T10000C drives throughout. This delivered 25x the capacity and up to 8x the performance at the observatories and 5x the capacity and up to 2x the performance at the central repository.

In addition to StorageTek T10000C tape drives, the LIGO Lab has leveraged StorageTek T10000B tape drives along with Oracle’s StorageTek SL3000 and Oracle’s StorageTek SL8500 modular library systems, as well as Oracle’s Sun Storage Archive Manager software for data management.

With 25 percent greater capacity on a single cartridge than any other tape drive, the StorageTek T10000C tape drives and StorageTek SL8500 and SL3000 modular library systems help Caltech consolidate hardware in its data center to make room for increased capacity requirements of up to 1 PB per year, and store millions of large files, in addition to more than 500 million small files.

Using Oracle’s StorageTek tape drives in this project allowed the LIGO Lab to double its data throughput up to 252 megabytes per second, providing the necessary performance to manage, analyze and support vast amounts of new and historical data.

The LIGO Laboratory is also using 400 terabytes of Oracle’s SAN Storage as part of its tiered storage infrastructure with Sun Storage Archive Manager software. Sun Storage Archive Manager is enabling Caltech to quickly access data in its archive and ensure that an archival tape copy is made using open standards for long-term preservation. It also provides a standard filesystem interface to a scalable hierarchical storage management system.

Furthermore, Caltech intends to leverage StorageTek Data Integrity Validation on the StorageTek T10000C tape drives to ensure there is no data loss during the transfer of files or over the course of time.

Supporting Quote

“Over the last 12 years, the LIGO project has generated three petabytes of data as a thousand scientists and engineers have worked to test Einstein’s theory of relativity and observe gravitational waves,” said Stuart Anderson, director of computing, for the LIGO Laboratory. “With the scope of the project and our intent to keep the data in perpetuity, a robust, scalable and open storage solution is absolutely vital. Oracle’s StorageTek tape storage has been central to our archive and its latest generation StorageTek T10000C tape drives have enabled us to manage more data and promises to provide additional data protection for our data, while preparing for significant data growth going forward.”

Supporting Resources

Oracle Tape Storage
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
National Science Foundation
Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

About Oracle

Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.


Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Info

Michelle Jenkins

Drew Smith
Blanc & Otus


D.C. at-risk students paid $5.25 an hour to attend summer school

The District of Columbia is paying more than 300 students $5.25 an hour to attend summer school, the Washington Examiner reports. The “Summer Bridge” program pays rising ninth-graders who are identified as “less likely than their peers” to graduate on time, the Examiner explains. According to the report, only 53 percent of D.C. public school (DCPS) students graduate high school within four years — a number the summer program hopes to elevate. Melissa Salmanowitz, a spokesperson for Chancellor Kaya Henderson, told the paper that officials plan to examine the results to determine whether the program should be extended. The Summer Bridge program comes after a similar 2008 district experiment, in which some students were given points — each worth $2 — for good grades, behavior and attendance. Harvard economist Roland Fryer was the motivating force behind the Pay-To-Behave program, saying money can be used as a reward to underperforming and unmotivated students…

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Report: Where do the ‘irreplaceable’ teachers go?

The high rate of teachers cycling in and out of schools is detrimental to the education profession and worse for students, decades of policy and research asserts. But a new report from an influential advocacy group makes the case for treating teacher turnover differently, the Huffington Post reports. The study, called “The Irreplaceables,” took several years for TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) to produce, and asserted that a high rate of teachers moving in and out of the profession isn’t necessarily bad.

“The whole basis of federal education policy since the ’60s has been the idea that if kids got greater access to opportunity, they would do better, so the main focus of policy should be increasing that sort of equity, access to teachers,” TNTP president Tim Daly said in an interview.

Rather, TNTP asserted, a high turnover rate among teachers who are “so successful they are nearly impossible to replace” — the “irreplaceables” — is the real problem. “Our analysis suggests that the problem is not the loss of too many teachers, but the loss of the wrong teachers,” Daly wrote in an e-mail introducing the report…

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Opinion: Can school performance be measured fairly?

More than half the states have now been excused from important conditions of the No Child Left Behind education law, the New York Times reports. They’ve been allowed to create new measures of how much students have improved and how well they are prepared for college or careers, and to assess teacher performance on that basis. Teachers will be evaluated in part on how well their students perform on standardized tests. One study, though, found that some state plans could weaken accountability. How can we measure achievement of students, teachers and schools in a way that is fair and accurate, and doesn’t provide incentives for obsessive testing, and cheating?

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New high school is latest to focus on project-based learning

If project-based learning is done well, it can increase test scores by up to 40 percent. If implemented poorly, however, test scores can drop by as much as 17 percent, research has found.

At the newest high school in Plano, Texas, a lesson on Hurricane Katrina could look a lot like this: Students would study the science of weather patterns, review the historical impact of the 2005 natural disaster, and read personal stories from those affected. Then, in teams, they would research and develop a plan for federal authorities on how to respond to a similar act of nature.

“This is a very untraditional way of teaching and learning, so … it’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before,” principal Renee Godi said.

Instruction focused on a problem-solving team approach rather than subject-by-subject homework assignments will drive the new Project Based Learning Academy set to open in 2013. Such project-based learning methods are quickly taking root in North Texas and around the country as more districts work to incorporate such instruction styles at local campuses.

In 2007, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district opened the Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science Academy on the R.L. Turner High School campus built on that concept. Coppell opened its project-based learning school, New Tech High, the following year. Then Dallas opened its repurposed Maceo Smith New Tech High School last year with a project-based learning model.

Such learning helps students develop a deeper level of critical thinking and cognitive skills, said Mansoureh Tehrani, director of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch program.

A few years ago at METSA, for example, students in a geometry class researched demographics and traffic patterns to develop options for DART’s Green Line rail expansion that they then presented them to local transportation officials.


QAMA: The only calculator a student should ever use

Long, long ago, before I discovered the joys of public school administration, before I fled from said administrative post for the easy life of private industry, before I left private industry behind to focus on writing and educational policy, I was a math teacher. And in my math classes, we rarely used calculators, says Christopher Dawson for ZDNet. Calculators are designed to eliminate the need for repetitive, tedious arithmetic, leaving time to actually think about the math. When used correctly in the classroom, modern graphing calculators can do wonders for visualization, simulation, and encouraging that critical thought that we’re all after. Calculators were supposed to eliminate the tedium and simple mistakes that plague many calculations but instead have become the go-to device for any math problem. Worse, students frequently lack the mathematical savvy to know when the answer output by the calculator doesn’t make sense. Estimation, it would seem, is a lost art. Enter QAMA…created by Ilan Samson, a retired physicist and serial inventor, to address exactly the problems I described above, the QAMA calculator forces students to provide a reasonable estimate for their answer before it will output the exact answer…

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