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This Week's Facts:

-Black History Month Celebrates Notable Women in 2012

-Help Raise Teen Dating Violence Awareness in February Shares Dangers of Texting & Driving

State Highlighting Digital Learning Practices All Month

Governor Mitch Daniels proclaimed February 1 as Digital Learning Day.  The text of the Executive Order is here.  As part of a national initiative to empower teachers and promote innovation, the Indiana Department of Education kicked off a 29-Day Web 2.0 Challenge.

In a January announcement from the Department of Education, the challenge was offered:  “Each day of February, the IDOE along with some of our educational partners including the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, PATINS, New Tech and others, will introduce a new online resource complete with tutorials and tips.  The challenge is for you to explore the shared tool and post a reflection about how you could use it to enhance student learning or better do your job. Not every tool will be new to you, so participants are welcome to share what they've learned from using the tool in their world.” 

The announcement also released Indiana’s Digital Stories, a YouTube channel for digital learning stories: “Share what’s going on in your classroom, your school, or your district by sharing a 1-minute video on our YouTube channel.  This video archive will showcase many of the ways digital learning is being utilized to engage Indiana learners.”

Visit the Digital Learning Day website for more information.


Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth Hedges
Federal Documents Librarian

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Black History Month Celebrates Notable Women in 2012

Michelle Obama Talks Black History MonthBy presidential proclamation, February has been declared African-American History Month since the mid-1970s. Each year has a different theme - the theme for 2012 is Black Women in American Culture and History. The goal is to celebrate the unique contributions made to the country by African-American women. The Library of Congress, in conjunction with several other agencies, has an informative website about the month. Go here to access links about a variety of topics, including the paradox of Jefferson’s slaves, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Harlem Renaissance. You can view online exhibits, photo galleries, and more.  There is also a section for educators which pulls information from the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Park Service. You can find links to important documents and images, as well as lesson plans and teaching tips. Go here to watch a message from First Lady Michelle Obama about the month.

Help Raise Teen Dating Violence Awareness in February

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention MonthWhile most teens are thankfully spared physical aggression and violence in their dating lives, the fact remains that it does still exist. In order to help spread the word and prevent more teenagers from experiencing this, February has been declared National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. The National Criminal Justice Reference Service has a lot of good links to help people understand the problem, how to identify it, and how to deal with it. Their publications page includes a fact sheet from the CDC that identifies different types of abuse as well as who is at risk. Most teenagers are new to dating and therefore may not realize when certain behavior isn’t normal. You can also find some related resources, which includes links from the CDC, the Office of Justice Programs, and the National Institute of Justice. Shares Dangers of Texting & Driving Shares Dangers of Texting & DrivingDistracted driving is a dangerous and common practice —and it’s becoming an even bigger problem on the nation’s roads as more drivers are text messaging while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the percentage of drivers who text messaged or manipulated their mobile devices while driving went up significantly, from 0.6 percent in 2009 to 0.9 percent to 2010. The latest federal figures show more than 3,000 people died in car accidents in 2010 because of drivers who were texting, using a phone or were distracted by something else.

Texting and Driving Can Be a Lethal Combination

Distractions behind the wheel include eating, talking to other passengers, or changing the radio, but there is one that is especially dangerous: reading or writing text messages. Doing this increases the risk of an accident by 2,300 per

  • Drivers who use mobile devices are four times more likely to have an accident and injure themselves or others.

  • Using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent, the legal limit in most states.

  • Using a cell phone can reduce the brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

Tips for Changing Your Habits:

Habits can be hard to break, but these tips can help you get started:

  • Turn off your phone before driving away, or store it somewhere where you can’t reach it.

  • If you have an urgent call you need to attend, find a safe place to park before using your phone.

  • Ask another passenger to answer your calls or messages.

  • Designate a copilot that can help you use other electronics in the car such as your navigation system or the radio.

How to Talk to Your Teens

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In fact, 16 percent of young drivers involved in fatal accidents were driving distracted.

There are several things parents or guardians can do to help reduce the risk of distracted driving in the family. First, set the example by refusing to drive distracted. In addition, you should:

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of distracted driving.

  • Make a commitment that no family member will drive and use mobile devices at the same time.

  • Establish consequences for not following the rules.

  • Speak up if the driver of the vehicle is using a cell phone.

  • Take the time to get to know your state’s cell phone laws and share them with your children.

These tips are brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.

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