December 2013: 12 Days of Learning Opportunities

The holiday season is always an exciting time for students and teachers. To help celebrate, we’re counting down the 12 days of learning opportunities, presenting you with our gifts of content collections from the netTrekker content team. You’ll find rich, engaging content, game-based opportunities, plenty of interaction, instructional support, and links for additional research. You can find coverage in all subject areas and grade levels. Truly the gifts that keep on giving, we with you a happy holiday season with glad tiding of learning and joy!

Content Collection gifts

“…on the first day of the holiday season, the netTrekker Content Team gave to me….12 days of curated collections offering amazing learning opportunities”

To open these amazing gifts, click on that day’s button to go to a sample result set OR enter the name of the collection in the netTrekker search box. Remember you can refine your search using the subject directory available in the left navigation bar. Click on the tablet screen to see the highlighted example from that collection. (You must be logged in to see these resources)

Vocab Ahead

…PSAT and SAT vocabulary building

…word-of-the-day, word lists & crossword puzzles

…animated video definitions and context for each word

Manga High

…voted in Top 100 by District Administrators

…animated comic book style with math concepts

…students can unlock new levels of learning through mastery


…engaging game-driven content in math and language arts

…for elementary and middle school grade levels

…extremely popular – check out student favorite Make A Snowman

The Why Files

…science and social studies topics for curious students asking “why”

…for elementary and middle school grade levels

…article format gives learners engaging informational text

…game-based activities and exercises

…topics drawn from Nobel Prize award winning content and ideas

…photos, interviews and much more about Nobel Laureate recipients and their contributions


…fun name, fun collection, intended to connect with today’s learners and their styles

…articles and images in social studies, math and languages

…ACT/SAT math support

Read Write Think

…focused on reading, writing and critical thinking

…lesson plans with tools for instructors

…students can print, save or email to instructors right from each activity


…covering current events shaping student’s worlds

…comprehensive articles with videos, charts, graphs, and monitored student comments

…paired with netTrekker’s tools articles increase comprehension with non-fiction text

Science Buddies

…project-based learning in science

…develops scientific literacy, vocabulary and procedures

…detailed experiment choices and descriptions

Teacher’s Domain/PBS Learning

…rich video and interactive pieces

…teacher content includes discussion topics, questions and video transcripts

…in Operation Heart Transplant students learn parts of the heart to save a patient!

We Give Books

…browser based literature

…perfect for use on tablets, whiteboards and computer lab machines

…additional quick search capabilities within the collection to find books by subject area


…engaging video based resources

…extremely effective in a flipped learning environment

…quick assessment pieces available in each resource

In this holiday season, we wish you…Great Tidings of Learning and Joy!

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!

November 2013: Digital Citizenship

Supporting Digital Citizenship with icurio

Ensuring students are good digital citizens at home and school can be easy with the right resources. icurio can help you and your students quickly understand the basics of good digital behavior, potential areas for misuse, and how technology can make our lives both richer and more challenging.

What exactly is digital citizenship, and how can we help our students become responsible digital citizens?

“Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.” (

The ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students and teachers address responsible use of technology, effective application of technology to support learning and how we get work done, and more.

Follow the directions below to discover the ISTE NETS related to digital citizenship, and to find icurio content related to those objectives.

1. Click on the Standards tab and Select ISTE NETS

2. Then select ISTE ISTE NETS for Students ⇨ National Educational Technology Standards for Students – 2007 ⇨ (Select the appropriate grade level range, and you will be presented with the Standards or Indicators for those grades.)

3. Continue drilling down through the standards until you reach a place where you see associated topics. Click on the topic of your choice to access content that has been aligned to that topic. If you don’t see a topic that interests you, you can enter a keyword of your own in the search box at the bottom of the page.

When does inappropriate online behavior cross the line and become cyberbullying, and what can you do about it?

“Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.” (

It’s important for students to understand online etiquette and consider the emotional, spiritual and, at times, potentially criminal implications of their online behavior. As the number of documented cases of cyberbullying has increased in recent years, a wide variety of resources have been created for educators to help you teach your students how to avoid being a cyberbully and how to appropriately report activity of this nature.

icurio has a variety of excellent resources you can use to teach your students about cyberbullying. On the Discover tab in icurio, enter cyberbullying as your Search term to check out these awesome resources!

What are the possibilities and potential pitfalls of using digital media in our socially connected culture? How can we help our students become responsible digital citizens?

You will find the answers to these questions, along with a plethora of additional resources on digital citizenship, by selecting theMy Content tab in icurio, then selecting the Curios tab, and exploring the content in the Digital Citizenship Resources folder that our content curators created just for you!

Additional Information on Digital Citizenship

To find out even more about Digital Citizenship, you can discover on your own in icurio by entering any of these keywords in the Search box while in the Discovertab: digital citizenship, online safety, digital etiquette. You can refine your content results to your specific subject area, grade level and more!

Review the Basics in icurio

In case you are curious about how icurio works and would like a refresher, you can watch our video tutorial, Quickly Find Content and Activities to review the basics.

Share Your Ideas

Are you ready to create responsible digital citizens in your education community? Please share your story below so we can all learn from each other!

Knovation Hosts 2nd Annual Student Lab Day and Teacher Focus Groups at Corporate Offices!

Marci Campbell
Posted on our orig Blog site by Marci Campbell.

While schools were out over the summer our Product Solutions Team was busy conducting focus groups and workshops with teachers and students from the local area. Our research-based innovation process is used to identify and understand challenges districts and students face so that we can innovate and continue to enhance our digital solutions to can make a real difference in the classroom.

Knovation 2nd Annual Student Lab Day

We invited 40 local students in grades 4-12 from various school districts to participate in our 2nd annual Student Lab Day. The Knovation Student Lab Day was established to understand the world through students’ eyes, words and actions. Student groups participated in several sessions and learned to design a school dash board and also participated in a simulated classroom where the product solutions teams observed students using the existing product interface. The information gathered helped validate the value we are delivering though our solutions and helped us better understand what we must deliver to meet students’ learning goals. The students enjoyed being a part of our focus group. “I’m definitely doing this next year!” stated one student. Another student stated, “I liked testing a program that you don’t have to use paper; we should use this in school.” Marci Campbell, Vice President of Solutions Management commented on the Student Lab Day, “I think it’s important to provide students with as many access points as possible for learning—creating online lessons are one way to engage students who are technologically focused/motivated. Additionally, so many colleges are using a blended learning model, it’s just good practice to expose students to online learning.”

Knovation Teacher Focus Groups

Knovation’s mission statement, “Igniting the hope of knowing by reducing the barriers to learning” begins by understanding the challenges that students, teachers, administration and parents face. To do this we get out of the office into the schools and bring educators into the office to discuss, develop solutions and validate the delivered value. Over the past years we have been honored to meet with many educators during specifically designed focus groups to better understand needs around RTI, SPED, ELL, digital content, digital curriculum, online lesson development and more. This past summer, we brought in teachers to share thoughts on how Knovation can innovate to create a solution to support the shift to blending learning. The goals of this focus group were to gain an understanding of where each teacher is on the spectrum of classroom shift to blended learning, observe how teachers develop online lessons, and gain insight into the challenges they are facing to deliver, manage and monitor online learning. These valuable insights will provide data for Knovation to understand what capabilities should be on the roadmap for future product development.

October 2013: Connected Leadership

Use icurio to Connect and Lead with Powerful Content and Curriculum Building Tools

“Teachers who are thinking outside of their classrooms, teachers who take risks inside their classrooms, teachers who aren’t afraid to say they don’t know something, or who aren’t afraid to show what they do know … we loo for those teachers, and we plan around how to develop their skills further so they can lead their colleagues in refining practice and collaborating more effectively.” (Elena Aguilar, Transformational Leadership Coach, Oakland, California. Becoming a Teacher Leader,

When you are connecting, collaborating and leading, whether in a single classroom or at the district level, you need powerful resources and tools to support you and help you save time. icurio provides content that will directly impact your learning landscape and allow you to be a leader in the following ways.

Lead professional development or coaching efforts with content that is developed and delivered via the My Content folder (at the school or district level).

A school leader uses My Content to prepare for a staff meeting:

“Teachers, students and parents in our school were struggling with the new challenges posed by liabilities the new technology implementation was uncovering in terms of student safety and responsible use. I created a collection of resources from icurio around digital citizenship and moved it to the school level of My Content. During our staff meeting, we were able to accomplish one group activity around a resource and have content ready for small group discussions around specific issues we were seeing. It was a very efficient way for me to lead the direction of the meeting and get the group to look at ideas and potential solutions.”

Lead with content that will allow you to develop new instructional strategies and enable you to better meet the needs of your 21st Century learners.

On your discover tab page (or home page), click on the Teacher Resources button to view these collections: 21st Century Skills, English Learners, Teacher Tools and References.

When you are teaching a 21st century skill, you’ll want to make sure you are using 21st century content and approaches. Educators can easily find content that is relevant to their students within the Teacher Resources collection at each grade level. For example, the character education results at the Elementary level are much different than those at the High School level. You can click on the grade level tabs to toggle back and forth between results).

Lead by sharing your own content collections with fellow educators at your school or district.

District level expertise can often get locked into larger initiatives and not be accessible to classroom level educators. Your colleagues might have effective approaches to address challenging instructional objectives or unique ways to teach a topic that is less interesting. How can you leverage these valuable resources? You have the ability to curate collections in My Content, and you can add instructional advice you use in delivering the instruction or intended objectives. In this manner, you can take your approaches and translate them into a library of leadership. You can take the curriculum plans that have already been developed by your district’s curriculum leaders and share them with classroom educators. This would give all teachers in your district the opportunity to leverage and personalize the curriculum plan through the district level units in the My Content area.

Example of district level unit resource developed by curriculum specialists:

Check out the basics of how to curate in icurio, and start sharing your expertise today!

If you’re still curious how icurio works, review the basics with the video Quickly Find Content and Activities.

Read our success stories on how icurio is helping one district at a time.

“Please share an example of how you plan to implement any of the ideas in the discussion/comments area below. As we work together and share these stories, we as educators are embodying the true notion of Connected Educator Month!”

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: Be Curios… Cultivate Exploration and Discovery Using icurio Digital Curriculum Content

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney

Be Curious…

Curiosity is a curious thing. The process of exploration, questioning and wondering are integral to the process of learning. We know that students need to be given opportunities to stay curious so they can actively explore and discover to build new understanding.

Developing and nurturing curiosity can have significant impact on driving learners to mastery, as a result of their discovery and exploration. Learning can be viewed as a cycle: achieving mastery in one area leads to new curiosity, discovery, exploration and repetition…which then leads to new mastery in another area.

Curiosity in Your Classroom

Is there a focus on curiosity in your classroom? Have you considered new way for your learners to discover new ideas that interest them or explore subjects they are passionate about? Learners at all levels can benefit from being consistently asked the question, “What do you want to know?” Check out the video below – you may hear things that your learners have been curious about, you may think about how you could help some of these learners find out what they want to know, you may chuckle a little at the endless amount of curiosity we see in kids. You may just find something you want to get curious about in your own classroom!

Student Voice from Knovation on Vimeo.

Cultivate Curiosity with icurio….

Cultivate exploration and discovery using the subject navigator to dive into the depth of content available. Check out some popular explorations and discoveries from our users, like current events and themes.

  • Curiosity within the curriculumDiscover the breadth and the depth of the subject areas and objectives you use in the classroom. Many educators who use icurio for the first time are amazed by the subject navigator – they find new content to explore for areas of their curriculum they had never considered. When you review content in the different curriculum collections, you will begin to see focus points across subjects, modalities and formats that you can investigate further.
  • Curiosity sparked by curated collections by peers
    Educators will be coming together next month for Connected Educator Month (CEM) to encourage connections and collaboration among educators. When collections of resources are curated by peers in your organization and shared within icurio, it creates endless opportunities to explore the approaches and ideas of others. Sharing resource collections helps educators understand the different ways of approaching a topic, and it allows them to easily discover topics that might otherwise intimidate them. Check out the basics of how to curate in icurio, and start sharing today!
  • Curiosity driven by authentic learning leading by real eventsThe current events options in icurio area a great focus for sparking curiosity. Learners have the opportunity to interact with content that highlights real eventsthat are happening in the world. This immediate relevance creates a certain sense of “realness” to what students are learning in the classroom, and that often excites further investigations and discoveries. Check out the current events area in icurio, which includes Breaking News, News Event Analysis, News by Topics, U.S. News (including by state and city), World News (by country) and Featured Articles that have been hand-selected by Knovation’s content curators.
  • Curiosity focused on the connections between past and presentHave you ever checked out a history exhibit at a museum? Wouldn’t it be fascinating to have the ability to further explore something in an exhibit that peaked your interest? What if there was a way to focus on an event, an invention, a famous person, a book or a song and dive into your area of interest to uncover more information? What if you could understand how these different pieces were related in a given time period? The timeline builder in icurio allows learners to uncover information based on exactly what sparks their curiosity. There are many facets of the timeline exploration in icurio that educators and learners are surprised to discover – learn more with this overview from our content team.

Review some of the basics of icurio….


icurio Tutorial – Quickly Find Content and Activities from Knovation on Vimeo.

Curious about trying a few of these ideas? Be sure to share your curiosity with everyone below.

At Knovation, we are inspired by the myriad of ways that educators spark curiosity and cultivate it within their students!

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!

Top-Down, Bottom-Up, Inside-Out and Outside-In: Stories of Change and Innovation in Schools

Kathleen Brautigam
Posted on our orig Blog site by Kathleen Brautigam.

Got direction?

“Create a classroom learning environment that does not repeat the mistakes of the past”, said my cooperating teacher in 1970.

So, I vowed…My students would have to do more than just process information. They would problem solve by doing relevant projects that challenged them academically and creatively. Our students would learn about cultural diversity, and marvel at the similarities. I would adapt instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. I would determine where they were on the instructional continuum and help them progress as far as “they” could go.

The reality…I did those things without critical student data informing our decisions, without ready access to a community of experts, without the capacity to create resources efficiently, AND without sharing my efforts with my peers or community. It was a painfully, gradual process (often one lesson or unit at a time) as I purchased or created materials and investigated sources that were static and difficult to individualize.

Most students were motivated. But, I wished they could visit the countries we studied, actively contribute to experiments and get more timely responses to their spontaneous questions and observations. Most of all, I wanted to capture the interest of the students who were not making the connections between information, critical skills and the real world.

Thank goodness…we have come a long way since my first years as a classroom teacher! Instructional models and tools I once dreamed about are now a reality. New learning environments, with a wide variety of technologies, tools and resources, make connecting and learning independently and with others possible. It’s more critical than ever that we apply our best teaching and learning strategies as we move beyond traditional classroom boundaries and practices.

Learn from the past, direct every asset, relationship, and resource available in order to …cooperate, collaborate and communicate as we educate. Here are some examples that are working towards that goal!


Many state, regional and district organizations are building toward the vision of creating collaborative, authentic learning environments for their students in the schools they serve. One rural district’s first steps include virtual field trips, participation in global projects, expeditions, and other forms of interactive online learning. Online expeditions are their choice as interactive textbooks instead of traditional texts. Curriculum guides and connected communities of practice offer their educators lesson suggestions and activities that are aligned with Common Core and state standards. They give students the choice to vote for places the explorers should visit next and chat with expedition members about experiment results, or about how to solve an unanticipated problem. The students could also email questions to online experts around the world and go online themselves to find answers to the daily mysteries they uncover.

Many programs come to mind as examples of driving this change to more authentic and more self-directed learning using 21st Century resources. A basic and critical need for teaching and learning is affordable and reliable access to broadband. States in partnership with school districts and regional service agencies are taking that vision for change to build statewide broadband education networks providing access with and through college and universities, regional service and individual schools. The more farsighted programs assure connectivity supports collaboration, instruction, professional development, and most important – student learning.

One legislative effort for broadband connectivity, Pennsylvania’s E-Fund, was unique in that it supported multiple strategic programs to infuse technology and learning innovations all the way down to classroom instruction. Over a thousand school level educators, the Keystones, were competitively selected based on vision, interest and capabilities to work collaboratively across the state in a connected learning community committed to finding and incorporating new approaches into their schools. The programs were augmented with a regional approach that highlighted coaching and mentoring (Classroom for the Future and Getting to One) for schools at the state and regional level to drive a vision of classrooms for the future. These initiatives with state support through mandated funding and individual district leadership wrapped every level of education in a collaborative action plan to initiate real change for their classroom learning environments.


Students learn how we learn and work together when we expand the boundaries of their classroom learning environments through with a wider view of the world.

Students are able to engage, empower and accept the accountability for their own learning. Using project based approaches skillfully designed in collaboration with their instructors students decide how they will learn, what they will learn, at what pace they will learn and in what ways they will demonstrate this new knowledge. It is truly a time for the learner – with the focus on knowing their passions, styles and preferences and a commitment across all areas of education to making their learning experiences powerfully personal. The challenge is how to make it happen for all students to make a community of motivated, self-directed learners.


Research based frameworks, such as the enGauge 21st Century Skills, are used by districts to provide guidance on policies, resources, and practices so that educators would shift their focus to skills our students will need in the future, including Digital Literacy, Inventive Thinking, High Productivity and Effective Communication.

At the center of this movement and driving change outward is an empowered faculty. They are creative, energetic individuals who are ready to share ideas, expertise, and time. Their classrooms are active, cooperative settings that remind observers of adult work environments. Teachers leading by example… students as co-learners!

Imagine a sixth grade class… students are creating interactive mathematics tutorials to be used by a second grade class. One student uses the laptops microphone to record classmates saying “Try again; your answer is not correct.” She will use the various recordings as voice prompts in her tutorial. Others discuss – “Is this problem too hard for them? Is this one too easy?” One can hear a student offer to show his neighbor how to change the color of a background screen. A principal passing by is asked to critique a graphic, and a teacher who stops in is asked to help delete an object from the screen. Students are holding the assessment criteria sheets that they created in their hands as they review their projects. Focus and enthusiasm abound-no one is teaching to test questions!


From the outside in, communities are uniting with their school district to bring about change. School, business and community representatives gather to plan for a comprehensive community strategy to bring wireless connectivity to underserved populations or to provide independent funding for resources and innovative practices.

Business and community leaders are creating education foundations to provide independent and sustainable funding for innovative, student-learning programs, and resources supported by technology.

Schools become open laboratories for learning when they invite community in to become part of the process.

One current injection of school and community expertise is the use of business and community experts as instructional coaches or tutors in support of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). These experts share career advice, act as subject matter experts, and sometimes lend business advice to help secure outside funding for a district’s education foundation.

Government, business and community are energizing to create unique solutions. Research is available to defend or replace instructional practices.

As all these efforts converge…Doors are opening, students are engaged and connecting. It’s an exciting time for innovators, visionaries, and collaborators! They are connecting, cooperating, and communicating to invent solutions to better education, and our students’ future. Make it known!

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.