06/02/2014 (press release: liznealon) // Great Neck, NY, USA // Liz Nealon [email protected] 917-207-8703
StarWalk Kids Media, a leading provider of high quality children’s eBooks for Schools and Libraries, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a Collaborative Learning Environment featuring the StarWalk Writer™ — technology that will enable children to collaborate in real time to create nonfiction writing that will be published in a student-created, community published database.
Designed to make learning and teaching reading in complex nonfiction subject areas like science and social studies more effective and exciting for upper elementary and middle school students, the StarWalk Kids Collaborative Learning Environment will integrate three specific types of interactivity proven to help children develop literacy skills: Writing to read, Writing for an audience, and Writing together. The company will also support educators by providing both curriculum support materials and professional development tools.
“At StarWalk Kids Media we are committed to serving the growing community of educators who are working to empower their students with 21st Century digital literacy skills,” says StarWalk Kids publisher Liz Nealon, adding, “Collaboration has always been a hallmark of science learning in particular, so it seemed like a natural next step to enhance our eBook offering by creating a real time, online, global environment where students from diverse geographic areas and experiences can write together and publish their work.”
The development of the StarWalk Kids Collaborative Learning Environment is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1415774. It will utilize the Collabrify™ software development kit (SDK) developed by Elliot Soloway, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and Cathleen Norris, Regents Professor, University of North Texas under previous NSF grants IIS-1249312 and IIS-1123965.
ABOUT StarWalk Kids Media: StarWalk Kids Media, recognizing the importance of equipping students with 21st Century digital literacy skills, publishes an award-winning collection of 500 engaging, enhanced eBooks for children in grades K-8. Founded by renowned children’s science author Seymour Simon and former Sesame Street Creative Director Liz Nealon, the StarWalk Kids collection includes books by many well-known authors and illustrators such as David Adler, Jim Arnosky, Johanna Hurwitz, Pat Mora, Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Jane Yolen. The company’s aim is to provide children and educators with a tightly curated collection of high-quality fiction and nonfiction titles supporting the Common Core. The StarWalk Kids Reader™ software works on virtually any device, allowing multiple simultaneous access for students at an affordable, annual subscription price. The StarWalk Kids platform (as well as many of its eBooks) has been awarded the QED seal, signifying “Quality. Excellence. Design” by the Digital Book Awards.
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ABOUT the National Science Foundation: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014), the NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
NSF’s goals—discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship—provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation’s research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization.