$1M in prizes for environmental videos

This year, in partnership with the National PTA, the contest challenges 6th-12th grade teachers and their students to answer “How can science or math help improve the environment in your community?” Samsung will award $1 million in technology among finalists and winning schools. Teachers can submit a short application for a chance to participate in the Solve for Tomorrow video contest.

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Awards for reading and technology

The IRA Award for Technology and Reading honors educators in grades K–12 who are making an outstanding and innovative contribution to the use of technology in reading education. There will be one grand-prize winner, seven U.S. regional winners, one Canadian winner, and one international winner. All entrants must be educators who work directly with students ages 5–18 for all or part of the working day.

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Awards of $1K for youth-led projects

These grants are available for youth-led service-learning projects that combat childhood obesity through walking, running, or hiking programs. UnitedHealth HEROES projects will engage young people in performing meaningful service to the community as they gain new knowledge about childhood obesity.

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Gates Foundation supports college readiness apps

More than half of community college students require a remedial class.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding upwards of $100,000 to developers who propose apps and online tools that help high school students prepare for college, fund their schooling, and complete the sometimes circuitous application process.

The College Knowledge Challenge started Sept. 27 at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where 100 developers gathered for a “hack-a-thon”–an effort to create useful technologies aimed at better preparing incoming college students as the need for remedial classes continues to rise across the U.S.

Anyone can submit a proposal to the Gates Foundation through the organization’s website. Winners of the $2.5 million grant competition will be announced in January, according to the foundation.

Read the full story on eCampus News

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Partnership for 21st Century Skills Names Follett’s Adelmann to Board

MCHENRY, Ill., Sept. 26, 2012 – Susan Adelmann, vice president of strategic partnerships for Follett School and Library Group (FSLG), a division of Follett Corporation, has been named secretary of Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ board of directors for the 2012-13 academic year.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community, and government leaders.

“P21 has done a remarkable job of laying the framework to drive a common understanding of 21st century skills with examples that are actionable for a wide variety of education stakeholders,” said Adelmann (right), who joined Follett in 2006. “We see the fingerprints of P21 every day in the information literacy and critical thinking that are the hallmark of our customers’ libraries, learning centers, and innovative classrooms.”

Adelmann added, “P21 has long recognized the important role of the librarian and library learning in K-12 schools, particularly as libraries extend beyond their physical walls and digital resources play an increasingly important role in and outside the classroom.” She said the organization’s advocacy efforts are helping legislators and education stakeholders to gain a better comprehension of best practices related to digital learning.

Adelmann will be joined on P21’s incoming executive board by new board chair Frank Gallagher, executive director of Cable in the Classroom; vice chair Stephan Turnipseed, president of Lego Education/North America; and treasurer Dzana Homan, COO of Goddard Systems, Inc.

Adelmann also sits on the board of directors for the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) Education Division.

FSLG includes Follett Software Company, Follett Library Resources, Follett Educational Services and Follett International. With a global footprint in 110 countries, the group boasts more than 70,000 K-12 customers and helps to guide more than 35 million students toward achievement.

For more information on Follett School and Library Group, visit www.follett.com. For more information about Partnership for 21st Century Skills, visit www.p21.org.

About Follett School and Library Group | www.follett.com
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, eBooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.

About P21 | www.p21.org
P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.

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Note to Editors: High-res photo of Susan Adelmann available upon request.

Media Contact:
Doug Thompson | Thompson Drake Public Relations
doug@thompsondrake.com | 541.322.9345 (office) | 541.419.4471 (cell)

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Smithsonian and ePals® Kick-Off Second Annual Global Student Invention Contest

Washington, DC — Sept. 28 , 2012 — ePals Corporation (TSX-V: SLN), an education media company and the world’s leading safe social learning network, today announced the launch of Invent It, the second annual invention contest for K-12 students in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The contest kick off is timed to coincide with the September 28th Smithsonian Teachers’ Night, an education expo of resources and best practices at Washington D.C.’s National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Invent It invention challenge is offered to teachers, students and parents worldwide through the free ePals and Smithsonian learning communities. This year the contest includes both a school theme and an opened-ended theme choice for students seeking more freedom in their creative projects.
Both School and Open Ended Challenge Themes
• Challenge 1: Think about a problem in your school and come up with an invention to solve it.
• Challenge 2: Find an invention that is used in your school and tell us how you would improve upon it.
• Challenge 3: Think about a real- world problem that exists today and invent something that could help solve it.
Each challenge will have four age categories for submission: ages 5-7, 8-11, 12-14 and 15 and up. Submissions, which can be in the form of videos, PowerPoint presentations or printed documents, will be judged on originality, effectiveness, creativity, and technical quality.
“ePals is so happy to once again be partnering with the Smithsonian to support creative entrepreneurship in classrooms and homes around the world,” says Stephanie Cohen, ePals Vice President of Community Programming. “This kind of applied challenge encourages students to develop the innovative thought processes so in demand in the 21st century workplace. We look forward to seeing the great projects and ideas kids will come up with.”
Invention Process Reinforces Common Core Standards
The Lemelson Center’s Spark!Lab offers students guidance by identifying the key steps they should follow in creating an invention:
1. Identify a problem or need (Think it)
2. Conduct research (Explore it)
3. Make sketches (Sketch it)
4. Build prototypes (Create it)
5. Test the invention (Try it)
6. Refine it (Tweak it)
7. Market the invention (Sell it)
This invention process reinforces both the cross-disciplinary and higher order thinking skills outlined in the Common Core Standards, including valuing evidence, comprehending and critiquing and demonstrating independence in exploring learning.
“The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center believes that everyone is inventive—particularly kids,” said Tricia Edwards, education specialist at the center. “Following the imaginative submissions and enthusiasm of the previous contest, we can’t wait to see what students come up with this time.”
Social Media Campaign Built into Judging Process
This year, the challenge adds another layer to the final evaluation process, with an “ePals Choice Award.” ePals and Smithsonian community members will have a chance to vote online from among those top winners beginning on Jan 17th, 2013, Kid Inventor Day. Also, finalists will have the opportunity to “market” their product to voters during a month-long campaign before all winners are announced on February 4, 2013. Winner prizes will be provided by sponsors including LEGO and the Columbia, SC-based law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

The deadline for submitting inventions to the Invent It contest is January 4, 2013. For details and to enter an invention project, go to www.epals.com/invent-it
About ePals Corporation
ePals Corporation (TSXV: SLN) is an education media company and the leading provider of safe social learning networks (SLN). Focused on the K-12 market, ePals offers elementary and secondary school administrators, teachers, students and parents worldwide a safe and secure platform for building educational communities, providing quality digital content and facilitating collaboration for effective 21st century learning. ePals’ award-winning products include: the ePals Global Learning Network; SchoolMail®365; LearningSpace®; In2Books®, a common core eMentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical thinking skills; and popular children’s educational publishing brands including Cricket® and Cobblestone®. ePals customers and partners include the International Baccalaureate, Microsoft Corporation, Dell Inc., IBM Corp., National Geographic and leading school districts across the United States and globally. ePals serves approximately 800,000 classrooms and reaches millions of teachers, students and parents in approximately 200 countries and territories. Visit www.epals.com. For In2Books, visit www.In2Books.com.
About Spark!Lab
Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity space that is part of the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation (http://invention.smithsonian.org/home/) at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The center’s mission is to document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation, to encourage creativity in young people, and to foster an appreciation for the central role of invention and innovation in the history of the United States. Spark!Lab is currently closed for renovations and will reopen in 2015.

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Sue Hanson
Media Relations
ePals PR
Phone: (763) 657-0987
sue@susanhanson.com
Will Jarred
SVP, Marketing & Corporate Communications
ePals Corporation
Phone: (703) 885-3400
wjarred@corp.epals.com

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Opinion: Jeb Bush speech best on education

Whiteboard Advisors, a consulting firm that specializes in school policy, recently conducted one of its monthly surveys of 50 to 75 anonymous political and policy “insiders,” including current and former senior staff from the U.S. Department of Education, White House, Congress and think tanks, the Huffington Post reports. Respondents were asked to weigh in on the Democratic and Republican National conventions, as well as the ongoing presidential campaign. Although the vast majority of insiders are not convinced the Democratic and Republican platforms will have any real effect on education policy, 78 percent believe the inclusion of the Common Core standards in the Democratic platform will have a negative impact on linking federal policy and state cooperation — something that is necessary in order to enact the standards…

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The 5 most educated countries in the world

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development recently released its Education at a Glance 2012 report, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The report examines OECD and G20 countries where the data was available. According to the report, which includes vocational training as part of higher education/post-secondary education, here are the five most educated countries in the world…

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Traditional or charter schools? Actually, they help each other, study says

Charter schools are not a silver bullet for education reform, a new report says, but applying the best practices from some charter schools to low-performing public schools may increase student achievement, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Early data show that the strategy – applied in Houston and Denver pilot programs – yielded “promising” results, according to the report, titled “Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools” and released Thursday by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. The study could help improve cooperation between charter schools and traditional schools, which have often viewed each other as competitors. The debate about whether charter schools or traditional schools are more effective is a false one and misses the central point, said secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Hamilton Project’s education forum Thursday in Washington…

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U.S. is tightening web privacy rule to shield young

Federal regulators are about to take the biggest steps in more than a decade to protect children online, the New York Times reports. The moves come at a time when major corporations, app developers and data miners appear to be collecting information about the online activities of millions of young Internet users without their parents’ awareness, children’s advocates say. Some sites and apps have also collected details like children’s photographs or locations of mobile devices; the concern is that the information could be used to identify or locate individual children. These data-gathering practices are legal. But the development has so alarmed officials at the Federal Trade Commission that the agency is moving to overhaul rules that many experts say have not kept pace with the explosive growth of the Web and innovations like mobile apps. New rules are expected within weeks…

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