November 2013: Sharing in the Harvest of Resources

November is a time to stop and enjoy the harvest, and in netTrekker, we have a cornucopia of resources, curated by our content experts. These experts create and manage collections that will open your eyes, organized by curriculum topics, themes, or content providers. These curated collections are constantly groomed and expanded – always ready to be reaped by educators and learners.

How Does the netTrekker Content Team Help You Fill Your Table with Resources?

Collections based on curriculum subject areas

netTrekker’s Browse tab now gives you a carousel of subject areas to explore – allowing you to hone in on the collection most relevant to your curriculum.

Each content area is rich with curated content – including a wealth of subtopics relevant to that area, featured content in that level (selection of highlighted resources for the topic/subtopic you have navigated to) and resources about famous people relevant to that content area.

Amazing Social Studies Collections You Can Check out Right NOW in netTrekker …

Collections based on cross-curricular themes

netTrekker’s Browse tab also gives you a carousel of themes to explore – including a collection of popular Elementary Themes.

Amazing Elementary Theme Collections You Can Check out Right NOW in netTrekker …

Collections based on content providers

As any good curator knows, you also have some content collections that are more interesting and inspiring to you than others – as such, our content team has managed to build in ways for you to get quickly to those content collections that you have identified and want to target.

While in the Search tab, enter a topic or keyword into the Search box.

Then click on Refine Search as you’re viewing your search results.

You will see the collections of Featured Content that are included in your search results at the bottom right-hand corner of the box that appears. Place a checkmark next to as many of the featured content collections as you like, and then click Refine. You will receive a set of content results that includes only the featured content collections you selected.

On the netTrekker home page, you can click on the Featured tab to view collections your school has added to your netTrekker subscription from different content providers (such as BrainPOP and Defined STEM). You will also see any free content available from these premium providers listed if your school hasn’t added the collections to your subscription.

If you like a specific collection of featured content, you can simply type in that content provider’s name as the keyword in your search (e.g. Teaching Channel) to access all of the resources our content team has collected from that specific content provider.

Amazing Elementary Content Provider Collections You Can Check out Right NOW in netTrekker …

Give a Few of These Ideas a Try and Share More with Everyone

At Knovation, we are inspired by all the creative ways educators make their marks, and we are honored to know that we can help you do that with great digital resources. Thank you for everything you do!

October 2013: Collaboration + Common Commitment = Connections

October is Connected Educator Month … so what is the big deal behind being connected?

Educators who participated in the Connected Educator Month activities last year benefited both personally and professionally by connecting with other educators and collaborating around a shared purpose. The word connected also implies a connection through technology, and the digital learning community can take many forms and leverage many different learning approaches. With the myriad ways to connect, it’s best to start simple.

You can learn more about how you can connect using the tools and technology that are already in place in your school or district.Think about your own “local” professional learning community that already exists (i.e. teachers at your school, across the district and your teacher friends from other districts) and go from there.

How can netTrekker help you make connections around learning?

  • Connect with a student, parent or another educator in your school or district through My PortfolionetTrekker’s My Portfolio gives educators the ability to share learning resources with specific students or with other educators in their school or district. Resources shared at the school level can benefit any user (student or teacher) within that specific school. Resources shared at the district level can have a huge impact for any user (student or teacher) at any school throughout the district.

    Connections that are happening NOW through the use of My Portfolio in netTrekker …

    At the school level

    – A fourth grade classroom teacher is connecting with teacher aides for specific

    students in her class to provide relevant learning modality focused resources for them.

    – A high school science teacher is connecting with parents by sharing resources

    that allow parents to talk to their children about troublesome topics

    (like the effects of using steroids over time).

    At the district level

    – A district Language Arts Curriculum Specialist is connecting with Language Arts

    teachers at all schools to share resources that provide higher levels of text complexity

    and focus on vocabulary building.

    – A district Dual-language Specialist is connecting with campus media centers by

    providing them resources that help the specialists support instruction in multiple

    languages across multiple topic areas

  • Connect by becoming a netTrekker Navigator and joining a community of educators across the country to gain valuable professional learning opportunities for you and your district.
    In an environment where digital learning is becoming more prominent in the classroom, educators often benefit from the support of others to help blend these digital opportunities into their traditional instructional paths. One community of educators that is committed to helping others in this manner is the netTrekker Navigator group. Supporting learning in districts across the country, netTrekker Navigators connect within their own districts, as well as with educators in other districts to enhance professional learning and develop and share best practices for transforming learning in their classrooms.
  • Connect with Know New Ideas, a larger educator community that focuses on new ideas related to teaching and learningAt Knovation, we are dedicated to the community of educators we serve and the learners they impact! We are helping them connect in meaningful ways to advance teaching and learning. With more than 2,700 members, Know New Ideas is a place where educator-only connections, discussions, events, and learning cohorts are focused on improving our schools and helping our learners stay in the game. This community is only a click away in the My Menu area of your netTrekker subscription.

Give a few of these ideas a try and share more with everyone below.

At Knovation, we are inspired by all the creative ways educators make their marks, and we are honored to know that we can help you do that with great digital resources. Thank you for everything you do!

September 2013: Making Your Mark This Year

Increase your impact – every teacher yearns to make a bigger impact each year. It’s in our nature as educators to reach far beyond our classrooms to impact communities and improve the overall quality of education.

How can we make that happen? What creative things can we do to make the best use of the time we have each school year? We can try new approaches and place an emphasis on our own creativity in everything we do. Perhaps the answer is developing and nurturing our creativity, which would then manifest itself in everything we do in our classroom and with students.

Is there a focus on creativity in your classroom? Considering all of the potential that creativity unlocks and unleashes for students and teachers, increased creativity in the curriculum could be the key to real results. International Dot Day (September 15th) reminds us to re-commit and re-connect to the power and potential of creativity. Have you read Peter Reynolds’ book The Dot? (See description dot).

How can netTrekker help you make your mark?

  • Creative resources to develop and nurture creativity
    How? The Creativity Resources Collection in Global Portfolio . Explore, extend and exercise creativity for both learners and educators. Our content team has curated some amazing resources you can use to celebrate Dot Day and keep creativity alive in the classroom all year long.
  • Creative approaches to meeting Common Core mastery with your students
    How? Use out-of-the-box thinking to meet the unique challenges that exist with the Common Core State Standards for your learners. Find content with formats to engage and inspire your students to take their learning to deeper levels. Use resource types like primary sources or biographies, which can be found using the refinement options in netTrekker, or look to raise the complexity of the different types of texts learners are using .
  • Creative ways for you to connect with parents
    How? Connect with parents by sharing content you have hand-picked for students’ home learning environments (using netTrekker’s My Portfolio tools). Content curated by educators is a powerful resource for parents – especially when their students are struggling in certain areas. When a teacher selects resources that students can use at home it creates a powerful partnership between home and school that will significantly impact the learning outcomes. Connect parents to the ideas you have for their children by using netTrekker’s My Portfolio feature to create special folders for your parents – either using the class folders or emailing functions within a folder. Check out an example of teacher created folder for a first grade student to use over the summer at home to extend reading and writing skills for the next school year.
  • Creative collaboration methods for educators to connect and share lessons and resources
    How? Collaborate with colleagues to create a learning community in your school. Whether you are sharing approaches around creativity and Dot Day or new learning ideas to address CCSS and the gaps the school may have in the curriculum, the tools in netTrekker’s My Portfolio provide solutions for collecting and sharing that important work at every level in your organization. See some of the great ideas that groups of teachers have shared with us for their classrooms – built using the tools, content, and the unique knowledge these teachers had about the needs for learners in their organizations.

Give a few of these ideas a try and share more with everyone below.

At Knovation, we are inspired by all the creative ways educators make their marks, and we are honored to know that we can help you do that with great digital resources. Thank you for everything you do!

April 2013: Getting the Right Resource for Learning, Right Now

View the Webinar Recording.

Refining a Search in netTrekker Search

netTrekker Search provides you with the ability to personalize your search results by refining your results to only include the specific types of content you choose. When a search result contains websites that have more than one form of content, netTrekker Search provides a Refine Search button at the top of any Search Result page. This takes you to a menu of choices that makes it possible for you to narrow your results by choosing any of the available options. Do you need quotations by or about Abraham Lincoln or a map of South America? The Refine Search menus make it easy to find websites within your results that include exactly what you are looking for. The list of options will include only those choices which are available within the resources in your Search Result list.

Example of Refine Search Options

The five Refine Search Menus can be used individually or in conjunction with each another. To choose a type of refinement, click on the check box next to that refinement. When you have chosen all the refinements you want, click on at the bottom of the list.

The Learning Aids Menu

The refinement menu focuses on characteristics within resources that are helpful for learning and instruction. The Learning Aid menu choices are:


Looking to provide a variety of assessments for learning? This choice offers informal and formal options, interactive and printables, even choices that build assessment into a game. Start looking at differentiation of assessment as an option to help personalize learning for your students with this refinement.


Famous people are very popular in learning environments – whether you are looking to find facts about a person OR their point of view and lifetime experiences, Biographies is a good place to start.


Locating full-length books, references to books or literature of a subject is difficult without the right kind of focus. Bibliographies are invaluable tools for researchers to quickly access the collections of information that subject matter experts have already compiled – often viewed as a huge help while researching a particular subject or area.


Certain subject areas are rich with formulas and examples – all of which illustrate the concepts that learners are trying to understand. Many times educators will need to find a quick example of a theory or a quick formula to share with their learners, and this area provides a perfect way to get to those.

Lesson Plans (available only to Teachers)

Looking for lesson plans? Whether you want something you can repurpose for your own classroom, a sub plan or even just ideas…the Lesson Plan choice delivers a variety and a wealth of options.

Learning Exercises

Practice, practice, practice – sometimes a concept goes from short-term to long-term memory after it has been applied repeatedly. Learning Exercises is an option that will help you locate resources that give learners the opportunity to apply a newly learned skill, practice a technique or simply try to perfect their understanding of something they are learning.

Learning Games

You don’t have to explain this option to a student. They are looking for the ability to learn and have fun at the same time. Resources you find with this option give learners opportunities to utilize their own curiosity and problem-solving skills to figure out and “win” in a game based resource and approach.


By studying and investigating maps and charts, students can understand more about the economical, political and social features of a country, in addition to gaining geographical knowledge. The study of maps and charts also increases critical and abstract thinking skills and provides a global context that will help students as they progress in school and life.

Primary Source Documents

Primary Sources are snippets of history. They are incomplete and often come without context. Resources that are primary sources require students to be analytical, to examine them thoughtfully and determine what else they need to know to make inferences from the materials. They also help students relate in a personal way to events of the past – which allows them to come away with a deeper understanding of history as a series of human events.


A quotation is the repetition of someone else’s statement or thoughts – in that way, quotations function much like primary source materials and give students direct access to the ideas of the person who is being quoted.

March 2013: Removing Barriers for Struggling Readers with netTrekker

View Webinar Recording.

Struggling readers need tools that engage them in the text and aide in comprehension. netTrekker Search features can do just that: by providing text to speech support, by providing definitions of words in context, and by giving educators opportunities to deliver resources to readers that are in their reading “sweet spot.” Help your students “Tame the Wild Text” (Susan Allen) with some of the approaches we share here…

Removing the reliance on one or two types of reading material

Count on netTrekker Search to enable you to offer a wide range of materials and information so that your struggling readers will have opportunities to learn from a variety of different sources.

How? Have you browsed the Language Arts subject area and looked at all the literary genres?

First, switch to the Browse approach, and drill down into Language Arts area under the Subjects selection.

Check out the Current Events non-fiction information under Themes…

Also, in our ELL Theme we have a great section devoted to reading and highlighting a variety of types of materials like movie scripts and comics.

Removing the need to interrupt learning to find assistance with reading

Give readers a toolkit of literacy support approaches that will build their confidence and independence when reading challenging texts.

How? The Read Aloud tool converts text to speech, giving students the ability to have assistance with passages they are struggling with AND offering them a higher level of engagement with the text. Our dictionary tool functions at the individual word level, to give just in time definitions,synonyms and translations in text, helping readers overcome the gaps in their vocabulary and increase overall comprehension.

Look in our ELL Theme area again, this time notice all the other topics in the Skill Development section – check out stellar resources and collections that build ELA skills such as vocabulary and parts of speech awareness.

Removing the experience of frustration with text that is too complex

Let students read at their comfort level and for fun! Understanding how difficult resources are to read (or their complexity level) can be extremely helpful for teachers and learners to be able to target material that they will be successful with.

How? The netTrekker Readability Score is an easy and quick way to gauge the relative level of difficulty of information – allowing users to remove levels that are not at comfort level and sort by difficulty to see the complete range for a certain topic. Look for a readability score next to each resource in a result…hover over them to see their grade level correlation.

Removing the lack of choice in reading materials for learners

Give readers tools to curate their own reading lives and help them build a love for reading and increase their independence.


How? My Portfolio allows readers to select and collect materials as they are browsing – a powerful, just in time way for them to keep resources they enjoy or think they want to come back to.

Removing the language barrier for those who are learning English

Struggling readers often have one main area of difficulty, for your non-native English speakers there is a language barrier. When you offer material in multiple languages you are able to remove the additional stress of cross translation into their home language to aid comprehension. As confidence and English skills develop, ELL readers are less likely to have lasting struggles and more likely to be successful with material in English.

How? netTrekker offers quick and easy refinements to your search results, getting you and your readers to content in many languages effectively.

Within our special collections, Español is given special focus – for example, BrainPOP Español is rich, animated content that is supported by audio and text subtitles.

Recall that our Dictionary tool allows for quick, single word translations within content in English and can be set to always give translations first rather than definitions in English. Users can change their settings for the Dictionary tool within the My Preferences area under My Menu.

February 2013: Finding the Famous Fast in netTrekker

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Finding the Famous Fast in netTrekker Search

This month we take a special look at famous people, with a focus on Presidents. Presidents Day is February 18th and it’s a great time to look at contributions from these famous politicians and others. Use the Famous People tool with your students to discover those who are famous – by name, by occupation, and by many other characteristics. Create lists of people who are famous for those selected characteristics OR explore famous people in the context of a timeline.

Famous by Name

With netTrekker Search’s Famous Person Search, you can quickly and easily locate information about well-known people, including political leaders, athletes, scientists, artists, writers, and more. The Famous Person Search is one of the options accessible using the Search function. These options (Web, Image, Famous Person, and, for teachers and admins, Standards) are available both from the home page and from any Search Result page throughout netTrekker Search.


Searching famous people for the name George


Famous by Time Period

Have you used the netTrekker Search Timeline tool? Did you know the fifth area of the timeline is devoted to Famous People? The results in this area indicate the famous people who were/are alive during a particular time period. First, click on Browse on your home page. Next, choose the Tools button and choose Timeline. If you want to see more famous people for that time period, expand that section by clicking the plus sign on the section header for Famous People.


Famous by Any Characteristic

Using netTrekker Search’s Famous Person tool, you can create a famous person list based on your own criteria. First, click on Browse on your home page. Next, choose the Tools button and choose Famous Person. You can use any or all of the criteria types to create your list – this can be really useful if you want a list, for example, of 19th century American political figures.


If you are looking for famous people, find them fast using one of these fast techniques in netTrekker Search today!

January 2013: A Cross-Curricular Slice of History with netTrekker

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Learning from history and past events happens most effectively if you can step back and look at the larger picture – at all the different people, places and things associated with a certain period of time. How do you look at a slice of time across many different subjects and topics? Take a moment and check out the netTrekker Search timeline tool. You’ll find that looking at the big picture has never been easier or more dynamic for you and your learners.

Find Content Through the Timeline

Find content that is associated with dates under Browse > Tools > Timeline. Timeline content is organized by categories: events, famous people, innovations/discoveries and the arts. What can you learn from this timeline tool?


Build a Custom Timeline

Use the year fields to build a custom timeline for a specific period, including the personal lifetime of a student or yourself.


Use the Topic Based Timelines

netTrekker Search offers several pre-defined timelines from a variety of disciplines with content appropriate for each grade level. U.S. History is a favorite from our Middle School section.


Read the Timeline

Give your learners context and perspective on the impact and duration of major events by examining the visual representation of the event on the timeline. Is the bar representing the Civil War short or long? What does that tell us about the duration and impact of that event? Also, check out the links to related resources by clicking on the event title or focus only on the timeline for that one event by clicking its associated timeline icon ( image4 ).

Expand and Add Layers to the Timeline

Use the +/- to open and expand the different sections to show more information or collapse to show less. For example, you may not be interested in Arts for the U.S. History timeline, so collapse that section, but you might want to expand the Events section to see all the U.S. History time period’s available events. image5 Think about adding layers to the timeline to increase the scope of information and allow for higher level thinking about the comparisons between the layers of information. Try adding World History as a layer to the U.S. History timeline. By using the legend developed as each layer is added, learners can compare and contrast events or famous people from the two different contexts. Drill down into a famous person’s timeline to investigate the details of that person’s life span.


Save Your Timeline

Saving a customized timeline to My Portfolio is easy – simply look for the Save button to show up on the top right corner of any timeline you have generated.

Find out more about the Timeline tool and all you can do with it.