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K-12 Technology

Deepen Cultural Awareness, Celebrate Making, Spark Imagination & More

LanSchool ISTE

Enhance Today’s Connected Classroom

LanSchool is celebrating its 30th anniversary! LanSchool built the best in Classroom Management so you can engage your students at a whole new level. LanSchool’s award-winning technology is recognized worldwide for being simple, reliable, and easy to use. Teachers get the tools they need to minimize distractions and maximize productivity. Administrators appreciate centralized IT control. Educators can manage all the devices in their classroom across all leading platforms (Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS). LanSchool has added many new features to its Classroom Management, including enhanced Chromebook Support, Text Chat, and Student Privacy. Visit Booth 1732 at ISTE to learn more about Lenovo Software and LanSchool.

Click Here to Request a Free Trial

Grants, Competitions, and Other "Winning" Opportunities

Inspire High Achievement

The Escalante-Gradillas Prize from honors outstanding US educators who exemplify the commitment to learning, discipline, character building, and high expectations that characterized Garfield High School in East Los Angeles when Jaime Escalante taught there and Henry Gradillas was its principal. The 2016 award will recognize a K–12 teacher who has had a significant impact on his or her students and inspired them to high achievement. The 2017 prize will go to a primary or secondary school principal, administrator, or superintendent of like description. All candidates must be nominated for the award. Nominators should provide an explanation of what makes the nominee outstanding, as well as other supporting information. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, plus the winner’s school or district will receive $10,000. Interested applicants will find this opportunity on GetEdFunding, a free database sponsored by CDW•G of thousands of funding opportunities for educators.

Deadline: June 1, 2016, for nominations

Click Here for More Information

Click Here to Access GetEdFunding

Become “Pro-Active”

PHIT America’s aim is to improve the health of all Americans, especially children, by implementing “pro-activity” programs. PHIT America GO! Grants provide funding of $1,000 to $5,000 to support school-based physical activity programs serving five- to twelve-year-olds. The grants are intended to fund gear and equipment for classroom and playground programs that will introduce children to a life of activity and fitness. Proposed projects should be new or increase already existing programs. Projects may designate a specific target group to receive services—for example, special needs students, students with health issues, or students in a specific grade. Preference will be given to projects that include a specific plan for sustainability, such as purchasing sports gear that can be reused, offering activities that children and their families can engage in outside of regular program time, or making use of available resources and tools for design and implementation to increase impact without increasing cost. The cost of the project should not exceed $40 per student.

Deadline: June 1, 2016, for applications

Click Here for More Information

Lead the Coding Movement

Wonder Workshop, creators of robots that teach students foundational skills in computer coding, invites schools to participate in the newly announced Wonder League Robotics Clubs, the first network of clubs in elementary schools for coding and robotics. The school district that gets the highest percentage of schools participating by July 10, 2016, will receive a $10,000 grant in Wonder Store credit to help fund their clubs. In addition, Wonder Workshop will choose five registered clubs each week to receive a Dash & Dot Pack.

Click Here for More Information

Plus: Coding is the new team sport for bright, young minds. Wonder Workshop invites students to join the Worldwide Robotics Competition. The theme this year is Saving the Environment. The competition will start in October 2016 for children aged 6–12.

Challenge Future Engineers

On September 21, 2015, NASA launched the first-ever Zero-G 3D Printer (built by Made In Space) to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX-4. To celebrate the launch of this “In Space Manufacturing” revolution, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation and NASA have partnered to challenge K–12 students in the United States to Think Outside the Box with 3D printing—literally. To take the challenge, students need to design an object that assembles, telescopes, hinges, accordions, grows, or expands to become larger than the printing bounds of the AMF 3D printer (14cm long x 10cm wide x 10cm tall). The assembled or expanded item should be useful for an astronaut living in microgravity on the International Space Station. The contest has two age groups—Junior (ages 5–12) and Teen (ages 13–19). Entries in each age group will be judged based on innovation and creativity of the design; usefulness of the object on the International Space Station; presentation skills (ability to communicate the design); and quality of the 3D model (compliance with the design guidelines). The grand-prize winner in each age group will win a trip to Las Vegas for a VIP tour of Bigelow Aerospace to learn about expandable spacecraft. The trip will include travel and accommodations for each winner and one parent. Four finalists in each age group will receive an inflatable tent for their family, and 10 semifinalists in each group will win a $50 Shapeways 3D printing gift certificate.

Deadline: August 1, 2016, for entries

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Sponsored by:

Resource Roundup

Protect Potential Together

With the prevalence of technology, access to knowledge is everywhere. Students carry entire libraries in their backpacks and hundreds of textbooks in their back pocket. Technology, however amazing it may be, doesn’t matter much when it has a broken screen or buttons that don’t work. That’s where OtterBox helps. OtterBox UnlimitEd is a protective case engineered specifically for technology used in the K–12 environment. As mobile technology becomes a permanent fixture in classrooms, OtterBox UnlimitEd helps to guard against damage from drops, dings, and the unexpected. Count on OtterBox UnlimitEd to protect your technology investment and the learning potential of every student. Visit OtterBox at ISTE Booth 1544 to learn more.

Click Here to Visit Website

Share Educational Accomplishments

GoEnnounce lets middle school and high school students create and share electronic portfolios of their academic and extracurricular achievements. On the free platform (or using the free iOS app), students can build personal pages where they highlight their activities and awards, showcase their school projects, and connect with their family, peers, and mentors. GoEnnounce also lets students raise funds for school supplies, clubs, and college. Additionally, a $500 monthly scholarship opportunity is open to all high school students. Once they apply and complete a profile, students will be considered every month based on the updates they post.

Click Here to Join GoEnnounce for Free

Click Here to See GoEnnounce in Action

Click Here for More Information About Scholarship Opportunity

Click Here to Access Free iOS App

Define Words with a Click

Lingro is a cool tool for both the “wow” factor and its usefulness. To use the tool, students simply type a web address into the field on the Lingro website and go to that site. Lingro then instantly turns the text on that new website into a clickable dictionary. When students click on words they don’t know, Lingro displays several definitions. Lingro also translates 8 million words in 11 languages. The tool hides in the background until students need it.

Click Here to Access Free Online Tool

Bring the World to the Classroom

The Global Oneness Project offers free multicultural stories and accompanying lesson plans for high school classrooms. From a Yup’ik man in Alaska teaching his grandson to fish, to Mongolian nomads struggling to preserve their way of life, these valuable stories situate day-to-day events within a larger, historical context. The award-winning collection of films, photo essays, and articles explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens. Aligned to national curriculum and Common Core standards, the content provides an interdisciplinary approach to learning and facilitates the development of active, critical thinking. Each month the Global Oneness Project releases a new story and accompanying lesson plan. All of the content and resources are available for free with no ads or subscriptions.

Click Here to Access Free Multicultural Stories and Lesson Plans

Ascertain Views About Testing

With the arrival of testing season, the minds of students, parents, and educators are turning to the high-stakes standardized testing ushered in by the enactment of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) a decade and a half ago. Debate around testing remains contentious, yet the opinions of the very people whom these tests and their ensuing accountability systems were intended to benefit—students and their parents—have been missing. YouGov has conducted a survey of 704 parents of fourth to twelfth graders and their children. A white paper titled “In Their Own Words: Students and Parents Weigh In on Education in America” shares these students’ and parents’ conflicted views about statewide tests.

Click Here to Download Free White Paper

Online Learning Plus

Join a Conversation About Fear and Prejudice

The National Youth Summit is a free webcast series that brings activists, policymakers, and historians together with middle school and high school students in a national conversation about the nation’s past and its lessons for today. In this year’s program, sponsored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum, participants will examine the history and legacy of Japanese American incarceration in World War II and consider how fear and prejudice can upset the delicate balance between the rights of citizens and the power of the state. The webcast will take place on May 17, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET)/10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (PT).

Click Here to Register for Youth Summit

Incorporate Project-Based Learning into the Curriculum

Just in time for summer, Defined Learning has launched a new online professional development course, Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe, coauthor of Understanding by Design. The four-module course guides educators through the process of incorporating project-based learning into their current curriculum. Module 1 gives a basic outline of a performance task, including key characteristics such as outlines and rubrics and reasons for using them to evaluate students. Module 2 describes appropriate criteria for designing an effective lesson and tools to align the task with current curriculum, state standards, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards. Module 3 provides a roadmap for educators to follow as they make adjustments to incorporate project-based learning into their curriculum. Participants will understand how their role as an educator leading the class will shift as they become a coach providing feedback and guidance to allow students to gain 21st-century skills by exploring real-world topics, solving problems, and working collaboratively. And Module 4 demonstrates how to evaluate each performance task using a rubric and how to “plan backward,” starting with the task analysis. This module also examines how tasks correlate with students’ ongoing formative assessment, which includes engaging students in self-assessment, reflection, and goal setting.

Click Here for More Information

Mobile Learning Journey

Splash Around in Liquid Mechanics

Nominated for Technical Excellence at the Independent Games Festival in 2013, Tobias Neukom’s LiquidSketch app for iOS lets users solve puzzles using beautifully colored, realistic liquid. Users rotate their device to pour liquids and then use their fingers to splash around or build bridges and pipes with blocks. The 90 challenges test students’ logic over six stages that cover different aspects of liquid mechanics, from easy and intuitive to complex and mind bending. Cost: $0.99

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store

Explore Under the Paint

The Touch Van Gogh app from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam gives students a unique look at Vincent van Gogh’s work and techniques as they discover the hidden treasures in his paintings, just as the original restorers did. The nine paintings currently featured on this award-winning app allow students to explore what is in and under the layers of paint. With a host of biographical information and research findings, students will be captivated by the layering, perspective, and techniques used by this revolutionary Post-Impressionist painter. Cost: Free

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store

Click Here to Visit Google Play

Go on a Virtual Video Journey

Interactive media platform ThingLink has launched its first virtual reality content app called VR Lessons. The app is designed for elementary school students and their teachers and parents. VR Lessons is a collection of high-quality, interactive, 360-degree image and video journeys on a variety of topics, including science, language, and the arts. The first stories take students to places with different ecosystems, from the French Alps to a jungle in the archipelago of northern Australia. As they turn their heads to look around, students can spot details and unlock additional information of each habitat in a narrated virtual reality environment. The app uses three key features: audio annotations, background audio for 360-degree images, and integration of several 360-degree images or videos into one immersive story. In the future, educators from around the world will be able to publish their virtual reality lessons in ThingLink’s VR Lessons app. Cost $4.99

Click Here to Visit iTunes App Store


Turn Ideas into Reality

On June 17–23, 2016, the White House will be celebrating the National Week of Making. Libraries, museums, recreation centers, schools, universities, and community spaces are invited to support and grow the number of citizen makers by hosting events, making commitments, and highlighting new innovations. The week will coincide with the National Maker Faire at the University of District of Columbia on June 18 and 19. The Faire will feature makers from around the country, in addition to federal agencies and departments. Communities across America will be sharing and celebrating their involvement in the Maker Movement, using #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMaking on Twitter and Facebook to share their work and connect with other makers. The Nation of Makers website offers ideas to get students thinking and making.

Click Here to Visit Website

Plus: The Maker Map is an ongoing open-source project to create a global database of maker resources—from workspaces to incubators—powered by the maker community and easily searchable on any device. Share your location to find the makerspaces in your area. You can also contribute to the map by adding resources.

Click Here to Visit Website

Balance On Point(e)

What forces act on a dancer? What is balance? How can a dancer keep her balance while turning? The Physics of Dance, based on the work of a physics professor at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, helps students understand the physics behind the movements a dancer is performing.

Click Here to Download Free Resource

Worth-the-Surf Websites

Ignite Imagination

Destination Imagination (DI) aims to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. In 2016–2017, DI will offer seven standards-based Challenges: The Technical Challenge prompts students to complete tasks by using engineering, research, strategic planning, and related skills. The Scientific Challenge blends the research and curiosity of science with the thrill and creativity of theater arts. The Engineering Challenge asks teams to design, build, and test load-bearing structures out of specific materials. The Fine Arts Challenge has students flex their acting and creative muscles as they experiment with different types of artistic media and theater arts, write scripts, and design props. The Improvisational Challenge is all about spontaneity and storytelling. Teams receive topics and produce skits on the spot. The Service Learning Challenge engages students in public service to address real-life community issues. And the Rising Stars! for Early Learners Challenge offers simple experiences with the creative process and gives young children (preK–2) a place to work together and make new friends. In addition, Instant Challenges require teams to engage in quick, creative, and critical thinking. Each of DI’s open-ended Challenges enables students to learn and experience the creative process, from imagination to innovation, while fostering curiosity. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. In working to solve DI’s Challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship, and courage), step outside of their comfort zones to pursue ideas and make presentations, and build on their unique strengths.

Click Here to Visit Website

Click Here to Preview 2016–2017 Challenges

Plus: Destination Imagination has developed some free resources to help students brush up on their Instant Challenge skills.

Click Here to Access Free DI Resources

Make Reading a Social Adventure

Bookopolis provides a safe and fun online place for elementary and middle school students to connect with other young readers about books and reading. Teachers and librarians can use Bookopolis to help build a community of readers in their classroom. Students can connect with friends to share book reviews and swap book recommendations. Students can also practice persuasive writing, comprehension, and typing skills by completing reviews, reports, and reading logs online. Educators can sign up with a “teacher” account and then set up one or more classes and accounts for their students. While the main goal is to ignite a lifelong love of reading, the features and activities on the site also align to several Common Core reading and writing standards for students in grades 2–7.

Click Here to Visit Website

Build Lasting Knowledge

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access created the Smithsonian Learning Lab to inspire the discovery and creative use of its rich digital materials—more than a million images, recordings, and texts. From the Discovery space shuttle to the “Star Spangled Banner” to dinosaur fossils, the Learning Lab gives everyone with a desire to learn the opportunity to explore the Smithsonian’s rich resources anytime, anywhere. It’s easy to find something of interest because search results display pictures rather than lists. The digital materials are also easy to personalize. Users can add their own notes and tags, incorporate discussion questions, and save and share. The Learning Lab infuses real-world experiences into learning to build lasting knowledge and critical skills that take learners from simply finding resources to thoughtful selection, organization, and creation of new resources.

Click Here to Visit Website


Big Deal Media provides timely, relevant resources in a rapidly changing educational environment created with insight and attention to detail by seasoned educational publishing professionals and practicing K–12 educators.

Browse the latest free K–12 Technology ebook sponsored by CDW•G and the free Resource Essentials for Educators of English Language Learners and Reaching ALL Students ebooks sponsored by Quill. And be sure to "Like" Big Deal Media on Facebook and follow Big Deal Media on Pinterest, Twitter (@TheBigDealBook) and Google+ to learn how other educators are using Big Deal Media resources and to share your own ideas and experiences.

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K-12 Technology

« May 16, 2016

In this Issue:

· Enhance Today’s Connected Classroom

Grants, Competitions, and Other "Winning" Opportunities

· Inspire High Achievement
· Become “Pro-Active”
· Lead the Coding Movement
· Challenge Future Engineers

Resource Roundup

· Protect Potential Together
· Share Educational Accomplishments
· Define Words with a Click
· Bring the World to the Classroom
· Ascertain Views About Testing

Online Learning Plus

· Join a Conversation About Fear and Prejudice
· Incorporate Project-Based Learning into the Curriculum

Mobile Learning Journey

· Splash Around in Liquid Mechanics
· Explore Under the Paint
· Go on a Virtual Video Journey


· Turn Ideas into Reality
· Balance On Point(e)

Worth-the-Surf Websites

· Ignite Imagination
· Make Reading a Social Adventure
· Build Lasting Knowledge

Archive Search