Dig-It! Games’ Roman Town Earns Common Sense Media Award

Bethesda, MD – March 28, 2013

Dig-It! Games, an independent developer of educational, interactive learning games, announced that its debut archaeology game, Roman Town, received a 2013 ON for Learning Award from Common Sense Media, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing children and families with trustworthy information about today’s media and technology resources. Roman Town joined such companies as Microsoft, Nintendo, PBS and Scholastic to be recognized as one of about 50 highest rated apps, games, and websites during the first annual ON for Learning Awards in San Francisco, held on March 26, 2013, in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference.

Roman Town earned a five-star learning score in its Common Sense Media review, which commended the computer game’s educational potential. Roman Town, created by a professional archaeologist and former teacher, delivers a fun, hands-on experience that emphasizes interactive learning, problem-solving and analytical thinking. Players excavate, analyze, and explore, bringing history to life in a way no book or board game can.

“Dig-It! Games is dedicated to creating fun and educational experiences for children. We are honored to receive praise for Roman Town’s value in the classroom and at home,” said Suzi Wilczynski, founder and president of Dig-It! Games. “We feel this award is a testament to our commitment toward developing truly interactive, educational learning experiences, and we are honored to be named alongside companies that have been so influential in educational publishing.”

Teaching children about archaeology and Roman history through challenging puzzles and mini-games, Roman Town added its Common Sense Media accolade to a growing list of industry honors. Released in 2010, the game has already earned praise from Creative Child Magazine, National Parenting Center, and National Parenting Publications Awards, among others.

“Our learning ratings are the most comprehensive tool parents have to distinguish the digital media products that are truly educational from those that simply claim to be,” said Seeta Pai, architect of the Common Sense Media learning ratings initiative. “The ON for Learning Award recipients have set themselves apart from the pack. We congratulate Roman Town for receiving this award and for creating a terrific game that helps kids learn and have fun, too.”

Dig-It! Games’ award-winning products are easy to play at school or at home. Roman Town is available for online download for PC. Dig-It! Games’ latest product, Mayan Mysteries is available on Mac, PC and tablet devices with an internet connection, and it is now available as a downloadable iPad app. For pricing and purchase information, visit http://www.dig-itgames.com/store.

About Dig-It! Games©
Dig-It! Games is an independent game developer dedicated to encouraging kids to explore the world around them. At Dig-It! Games, we know that fun and learning can, and should, go hand in hand.

To learn more about Dig-It! Games, please visit http://dig-itgames.com. For media inquiries, please contact Eric Schulman at Stanton Communications at (410) 727‐6855 or eschulman(at)stantoncomm(dot)com.

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Texthelp Products Named SIIA Education CODiE Award Finalists for Best Solution for Special Needs Students and Best Reading/English/ELL Instructional Solutions

Texthelp Products Named SIIA Education CODiE Award Finalists for Best Solution for Special Needs Students and Best Reading/English/ELL Instructional Solutions

Read&Write GOLD and Fluency Tutor Earn Prestigious Education Industry Recognition

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 20, 2013) – Texthelp Inc., provider of award-winning literacy software solutions, today announced that Read&Write GOLD with Web Apps was named a finalist for the 2013 SIIA Education CODiE Awards for Best Solution for Special Needs Students category and Fluency Tutor was named a finalist for the Best Reading/English/Ell Instruction Solution category. The SIIA CODiE Awards are the premier award for the software and information industries, and have been recognizing product excellence for 27 years. The awards have over 75 categories and are organized by industry focus of Content, Education and Software.

This year’s program features 23 Education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models. Winners will be announced during a special awards dinner at the nation’s leading education technology conference, the Ed Tech Industry Summit, in San Francisco on May 6.

Texthelp software solutions ensure that all individuals reach their potential and achieve success.

Read&Write GOLD is a customizable easy-to-use toolbar that seamlessly integrates with mainstream applications so students can access literacy support tools from within programs they use every day. Web Apps allow individuals to use their favorite Read&Write features in the Cloud to access web pages, Bookshare eBooks, and Google Docs. Read&Write GOLD with Web Apps supports the needs of diverse student populations, including those with reading and writing difficulties, learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and English Language Learners.

Fluency Tutor is a unique web-based solution for developing and measuring oral reading fluency and comprehension. The research-based software not only helps early readers but has also been proven to be highly successful when used as a reading intervention for older struggling students, especially those in RTI Tiers 2 or 3, and English Language Learners.

“Texthelp is very excited to have both Read&Write GOLD and Fluency Tutor included as CODiE Award finalists. Having our products evaluated and chosen by educators makes this selection even more rewarding and confirms their value for struggling students who need extra support, whether at school or at home,” states Jack Dolan, President of Texthelp Inc.

“We’re pleased with the innovative educational technology products that made it to this stage. All of this year’s finalists show great promise, and they should be proud of their finalist status,” said Karen Billings, vice president of the SIIA Education Division. “I look forward to seeing them all in May at the Ed Tech Industry Summit.”

Details about each finalist are listed at http://siia.net/codies/2013/finalists.asp.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 700 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. Information technology (IT) and software security are critical issues to SIIA’s members, many of whom strive to develop safe, secure and state-of the-art products that effectively serve their commercial and government customers alike, while protecting their intellectual property. The SIIA Education Division serves and represents more than 200 member companies that provide software, digital content and other technologies that address educational needs. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities and critical market information. For more information, visit www.siia.net/education.

About Texthelp Inc.
Texthelp Inc. provides literacy software solutions for individuals, K-12, higher education, and publishers. Texthelp’s products include: Read&Write GOLD, Read&Write Web Apps, iReadWrite, Fluency Tutor, and SpeechStream. Read&Write GOLD is a customizable toolbar for PC and Mac that floats on top of other applications allowing students to access the reading, writing, studying, and research support tools they need from within programs they use every day. Read&Write Web Apps provide reading, studying, and research support tools in the Cloud to make Google Docs, web pages, and Bookshare eBooks accessible anytime, anywhere. iReadWrite is an easy-to-use reading and writing App that runs directly on the iPad and includes powerful support features that benefit struggling readers and writers of all ages. Fluency Tutor is an online solution for developing and measuring oral reading fluency and comprehension. SpeechStream allow publishers to deliver digital talking eBooks, assessments, and online content with support tools. For more information, visit www.texthelp.com.

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digits Named Finalist in 2013 Software & Information Industry Association CODiE Awards

Interactive, Common Core Aligned Math Curriculum Personalizes Learning and Increases Instructional Time for Middle School Students

NEW YORK – March 28, 2013 – digits, Pearson’s interactive, Common Core aligned digital math curriculum for grades 6-8, is a finalist in the prestigious 2013 Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) CODiE Awards. digits is recognized in the Best Mathematics Instructional Solution category.

Established in 1986, the CODiE Awards celebrate outstanding achievement across the software, digital information and education technology industries. This year, nominated ed-tech products underwent an intensive review by educator judges from around the world.

Written entirely to the Common Core State Standards, digits integrates lesson planning, homework management, intervention and assessment, all within a user-friendly design that encourages collaboration via interactive whiteboards. digits streamlines instruction through point-of-need resources that are intuitive for teachers, optimizing effective time on task, and allowing them to address the individual needs of every student – in and out of class. In addition to providing a customized learning path for each student, these efficiencies result in about twice as much instructional time for teachers, when compared with traditional middle school math courses.

digits engages middle grades math students with a constant focus on real-world-based learning – not only with the structure of the problems within, but also with “student guides.” Called “Understanding by Design®* hosts,” guides steer learners through each lesson in a humorous fashion and help deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts. These hosts pop up in videos embedded in the lessons where they use humor and joke-telling while explaining concepts to students.

Pearson topped the 2013 CODiE Awards for education with 14 programs earning finalist honors. From classroom management and teacher professional development to virtual and mobile personalized learning solutions, Pearson’s CODiE finalists are a testament to its commitment to developing innovative education technology solutions that improve student achievement.

In addition to digits, Pearson’s products moving on to the next round of competition in this year’s CODiE Awards include EQUELLA, iLit, Lab Investigator Tools, MyEconLab with Knewton Adaptive Learning, MyFoundationsLab, MyMathLab with Knewton Adaptive Learning, OpenClass, Pearson Teacher Compass Suite, Pearson iBook2 Textbooks, PowerSchool, Prep for the GED Test: MyFoundationsLab Edition, Propero and Schoolnet.

digits and all of Pearson’s finalists will now be voted on by the entire SIIA membership to determine the winners in each category. The 2013 CODiE Award winners will be announced at the 2013 Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco on May 6.

For more information about digits visit: www.digitsmath.com.

About Pearson
Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has global reach and market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO).

*Understanding by Design® and UbD™ are trademarks of ASCD®, and are used under license. For more information about the UbD™ Framework, visit ASCD’s UbD™ resource page at http://www.ascd.org/research-a-topic/understanding-by-design-resources.aspx.

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Five ways to get kids to want to read and write

How can teachers get students to want to learn? Asks the Washington Post. Here is an article about the issue, from veteran educator Larry Ferlazzo, adapted from his new book, Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies For Student Motivation. Some of the ideas in this excerpt were contributed by his colleagues at Burbank High School. Ferlazzo teaches English and Social Studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He has written five books on education, writes a teacher advice blog for Education Week Teacher, and has his own popular resource-sharing blog

Click here for the full story

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Student wants to open café that serves discarded food for free

Turkey meatballs, organic Greek yogurt, fair trade coffee. It sounds like the makings of a persnickety shopper’s grocery list. But it’s just one batch of fresh food that Maximus Thaler retrieved from a dumpster outside of a Massachusetts supermarket, the Huffington Post reports. According to the National Resources Defense Council, supermarkets throw away on average, $2,300 worth of out-of-date, but still consumable, food every night. It’s a wasteful practice Thaler hopes to put an end to by raising $1,500 to open a café that gives away discarded grub.

“We believe food is a fundamental right, and should be shared freely with all,” the Tufts University student wrote on his Kickstarter page.

The idea for the café was born from the Gleaners’ Kitchen, a cooperative living house at Tufts that the dumpster diver founded. He hopes to offer concerts, poetry readings, lectures and one meal a day for the hungry, according to his Kickstarter page…

Click here for the full story

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School bans dodgeball citing bullying concerns

Students attending Windham schools in New Hampshire, won’t be dodging balls during gym class anymore. The school district voted to ban dodgeball and other “human target” sports in a recent 4-1 decision, according to multiple sources, the Huffington Post reports. Windham Patch reports that school officials launched an inquiry into the physically aggressive activities after a parent complained. Ultimately, administrators cited bullying concerns for the reason to prohibit students from playing dodgeball and similar games during school hours.

“We spend a lot of time making sure our kids are violence free,” Windham Superintendent Henry LaBranche told the Eagle-Tribune. “Here we have games where we use children as targets. That seems to be counter to what we are trying to accomplish with our anti-bullying campaign.”

Click here for the full story

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Amazon plans to buy social network for book fans

Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it plans to acquire the book recommendation website, Goodreads, Reuters reports. In buying Goodreads, Amazon gets a community of bibliophiles primed to buy and recommend books – one of its key areas of business.

“Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world,” Russ Grandinetti, Amazon vice president, Kindle Content, said in a release.

Based in San Francisco, Goodreads is a social network site that lets bookworms catalog and review books. Co-founded by Otis Chandler, whose family once published the Los Angeles Times, Goodreads has more than 16 million members, who have generated more than 23 million reviews…

Click here for the full story

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Educational apps of the month: March 2013

Through our “App of the Week” feature, every Monday we pick an Android or Apple app to highlight online and in our newsletters. Check out these four new educational apps we chose in March.

Do you have any suggestions for educational apps that you’d like to share with readers? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

 

Name: Vernier Video Physics

What is it? A 2012 CODiE Awards Finalist for “Best Educational Use of a Mobile Device,” Video Physics brings physics video analysis to iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Users can take a video of an object in motion, mark its position frame by frame, and set up the scale using a known distance. Video Physics then draws trajectory, position, and velocity graphs for the object.

Share video, graphs, and data via the Camera Roll, eMail, and iTunes. Perform on-the-go analysis of interesting motions. Measure the velocity of a child’s swing, a roller-coaster, or a car. Or, take a video of a basketball free throw shot. Video Physics will display the path of the ball and provide graphs of Y vs. X, as well as the X and Y position and velocity as a function of time.

Best for: Students and physics instructors.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Price: $4.99

Rated: 4+

Features: Capture a new video using the built-in camera, choose a video from your photo library, or use one of the sample videos provided; mark the position of one object, frame by frame; set the scale of the video using an object of known size; optionally set coordinate system location and rotation; view graphs of trajectory, and x/y position and velocity; export the marked video to your Photo Library; graphs are appended to video; eMail the video and data for further analysis in Vernier’s Logger Pro software for OS X and Windows; open data files directly in Vernier Graphical Analysis for iPad; open data files in Dropbox or Google Drive to upload to the cloud.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vernier-video-physics/id389784247

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North Carolina pushing for digital devices to replace textbooks

North Carolina school systems have until 2017 to align curriculum with digital devices and make the transition to digital instruction, the law states.

Over the next four years, students in North Carolina public schools will trade in their traditional textbooks for digital devices as the state shifts how it funds educational materials.

Last week, Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that calls for public schools to allocate more money for devices such as digital textbooks and iPads. The legislation is one of four bills designed to address the changing landscape of public education because of the growing use of technology in schools.

“This is where we have been going the past couple of years,” said Cumberland County schools Superintendent Frank Till Jr. “Textbooks are becoming an antiquated way to learn. This puts a stake in the ground that says textbooks are passe.”

School systems have until 2017 to align curriculum with digital devices and make the transition to digital instruction, the law states. A similar mandate to move toward digital instruction by the 2015-16 school year exists in Florida, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called for all U.S. schools to move toward digital learning within five years.

The use of digital textbooks and devices can “raise the level of academic performance of the state’s students” and provides students with “high-quality, up-to-date information that can be customized for individual students throughout their educational experience,” according to North Carolina’s new law.

“The thinking is that there are many school districts moving to digital learning,” said Neill Kimrey, director of digital teaching and learning with the state Department of Public Instruction. “There are a few districts that are resistant to change. This bill draws the line in the sand.”

School systems will have flexibility to use state money designated for textbooks or local money for technology. The legislation suggests using additional funding sources, such as private grants and parental contributions. Schools can adopt a “bring-your-own-device” policy that allows students and teachers to use their own technology in the classrooms.

The bill does not allocate state funds for digital devices. However, legislation is pending that would allow lottery funds to be used for technology.

Cumberland County officials are not optimistic that the state will allocate additional funds for digital devices, and there is little local money to divert from textbooks.

(Next page: Funding a problem?)

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Discovery Education and Digital Promise Launch Future@Now: Transition to Digital Classrooms Event

Discovery Education and Digital Promise Launch Future@Now: Transition to Digital Classrooms Event

— Congressman George Miller (D-CA), leading educational strategists, school district leaders and students from across the country come together to discuss the state of digital learning —

WHAT:

Discovery Education and Digital Promise, in conjunction with Connect2Compete, ERDI, ISTE, NCERT and other leading national and state-level education organizations, are launching the first inaugural Future@Now: Transition to Digital Classrooms conference that will gather both public sector and private industry thought-leaders from across the country to discuss one of the most important issues in education today – the state of digital learning. Launching a year after the FCC and DOE’s Digital Textbook Playbook initiative, the goal of Future@Now – Transition to Digital Classrooms is to raise awareness about the benefits of digital learning and celebrate the successes of districts that have already deployed digital textbooks in meaningful ways in their classrooms.

Discovery Education will also be making a special announcement at the conference that will impact students and educators across the county.

WHO:

• Congressman George Miller, U.S. House of Representatives member, Senior Democrat of the House Education and Workforce Committee and author of the “Transforming Education through Technology Act”
• Dr. Mark Edwards, AASA Superintendent of the Year, Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools member and Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District
• Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent and recipient of the Broad Prize in Urban Education
• Mary Moss Wirt, 3rd grade student in the Wake County Public School System and digital learner
• Sara Schapiro, Director of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools
• Bill Goodwyn, President & CEO, Discovery Education
• Zach Leverenz, CEO, Connect2Compete
• Holly Jobe, President, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
• Senior policy-makers, educational thought leaders, superintendents, CAOs and CFOs who will offer exclusive insight into digital learning and the strategies for its effective implementation

WHEN/WHERE:

Thursday, April 11 – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
View the live stream here:
www.discoveryeducation.com/futurenow

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations around the world to transform teaching and learning with innovative content and services that support educators and accelerate academic achievement. With a presence in over half of all US schools and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education fuels educational transformation with award-winning multimedia content including digital textbooks, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 and community college instruction. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

About Digital Promise
Digital Promise is an independent, bipartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to spur innovation in education. Through its work with educators, technologists, researchers, and leading thinkers, Digital Promise supports comprehensive research and development to improve all levels of education and provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy. One of its flagship initiatives, the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, is a national coalition of public school districts committed to digital innovation that delivers results for students. The League of Innovative Schools is made up of 32 school districts and education groups in 21 states, that collectively serve more than 2.5 million students.

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