Discovery Education Social Studies TechBook (beta)
[Discovery Education (240) 662-2661]

     Discovery Education (DE) made a significant contribution to online education several years ago with the launching of its impressive digital library of streaming videos (DE Streaming Plus), available by subscription to educators and publishers alike - see our review in the 2011 Spring issue
DE Social Studies TechBook, the company employs a digital textbook environment to provide a project-based, inquiry approach to learning that encourages the use of higher level thinking skills such as recall, application, analysis and evaluation. 
Social Studies TechBook is an all-encompassing World History program that is Standards-aligned for the K-12 grades, and can be used individually or in a multi-disciplinary fashion. The well-structured, easy-to-use interface makes the program appropriate for the traditional classroom as well as for individual study. Its expansive research capability, coupled with rich content and streaming video examples, takes student learning beyond the classroom environment.
     Units and chapters provide main concepts that encourage students to engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate - the
5Es. Visual Overview presents units with timeline graphics, and Content includes: The Rise of Civilizations, Ancient Civilizations, Regional Civilizations, Growth of World Empires and Europe Transforms. Maps are embellished with dynamic visual overlays that engage the student's curiosity and imagination.
Builder Tools and Teacher Center offer clear, practical lesson plans from which teachers can develop individual or class lessons. Top navigation bars provide dropdown menus for easy access to Classroom Management and Assignment Building tools. Analytical templates, available in the Teacher Center, are particularly impressive for their simple visual outlines - cause and effect, comparison, problem/solution and main idea web charts, etc. Teacher and student tutorials for maneuvering within the program are concise and helpful.
     Social Studies TechBook is currently in the beta stage, but promises to become a stellar final product. Areas in need of refinement: (1) completion of student assignments - teacher monitoring capabilities could not be assessed (2) making student assignments from the List Option (accessed through the link at the bottom of each instructional page) (3) the Standards links in the Table of Contents (4) Classroom Manager.   
     Good job so far,
Discovery Education!

AceReader Elite
[Stepware, Inc. (970) 243-9390, Ext. 2]

       A person's ability to read - and read well - is essential to success in school, career, and life. And reading well requires comprehension skills and speed.  AceReader Elite is designed to help with just that.  Winner of this year's BESSIES for High School Reading, AceReader Elite is adaptable to all ages, including adults.
       AceReader Elite, designed by speed reading experts, can be used in Course Mode, the step-by-step method, Menu Mode, or Reading Mode.  All Modes consist of timed comprehension drills, eye pacing drills, and (fun) eye exercise games; in addition, the Reading Mode allows users to load reading materials such as eBooks or documents and text from the clipboard.  The basic program is in English, but StepWare offers a Spanish Test Set add-on, as well as Text-To-Speech.
       AceReader Elite can, if used on a regular basis, double or even triple reading speed while improving comprehension. And that's a winning investment.


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