Please scroll down for reviews of ePals TeamEarth and WebBlender 2

[Thinkronize (877) 517-1125]

netTrekker continues to impress! It merited a review in our 2008 BESSIE Awards as a unique "Educational Search Engine."  Today's product has been transformed into a powerful technology tool for K-12 schools where digital content can be customized to provide differentiated instruction for every student.
         The subscription-based website's valuable new offerings include: (1) Labels for readability levels - teachers can guide students to look for websites written at one of five readability levels, ensuring that search results will be appropriate for the student's reading level (2) A "Read Aloud" feature - highlighted text is read, providing additional support and reinforcement (3) Collaboration with SMART Technologies - lessons and activities are designed to maximize all the interactive features of SMART products. Developed in Notebook software, material is correlated to curriculum standards and can be customized to suit the needs of the classroom (4) Partnering with BrainPop - this provides access to BrainPOP movies, quizzes and games (5) Customized content for ELL/ESL - easy guides to resources in multiple languages (6) Mouse-over balloons - a valuable feature for navigating the site.
netTrekker can be accessed from school or home, and offers over 300,000 digital resources aligned with State Standards, evaluating sites with a five-check rating. It clearly deserves a place in this year's BESSIES.

ePals TeamEarth
[ePals, Inc. (703) 885-3400 ]

         Rarely does an educational website set out to save the planet, but
ePals TeamEarth does just that.  Originally designed to help students, worldwide, share their ideas and concerns as delegates of the World Climate Change Forum in December 2009, the 2010 version introduces issues such as energy use, fresh water, and consumption. Topics already in place are Biodiversity, Black History, Human Rights, and Storytelling.
         Winner of the
Multi-Subject Current Topics Website award, TeamEarth offers a wealth of activities: Watch and post videos, add to a storybook, play art games, try a Webquest, send feedback, respond to posted videos, and read or post blogs on Facebook and/or Twitter. For teachers, tips, tools and lessons that are divided into three age groups -  Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 - address each focus area with age-appropriate materials.  Free activities are drawn from government sites, museums, zoos, and nonprofit groups, and have been vetted and organized carefully by ePals' staff to ensure a safe environment where students can explore independently.
         Climate change, energy, water, and consumption are all of critical importance to the peoples of this world, and ePals is commended for helping educators bring these issues to those who will benefit the most from careful stewardship: Our children.

WebBlender 2
[Tech4Learning (619) 563-5348 ]

         An issue for many educators of all levels and age groups is how to engage students in authentic writing projects that demonstrate a depth and breadth of subject comprehension. One motivating idea is 'publishing to an audience,' and the Multi-Level Web Page Creation winner, WebBlender 2, offers an elegant solution.
         Teachers of younger students can scan their students' work into
WebBlender 2, record them reading their stories or projects, include students' photos and art work, and publish as a website for parents and community to see.  Older students will enjoy creating their own websites for interactive project presentations, portfolios, essays, and creative endeavors, and publish them to a worldwide audience on the Internet.
         Simple to use,
WebBlender 2 incorporates all the tools necessary to create a professional-looking web page, with text, graphics, Flash animations, hyperlinks, buttons, clip art, photos, movies, custom sound, podcasts, and more.

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