News and Trends
News and Trends(32)
T-Mobile G1 Phone aka The Google Phone
The new T-Mobile G1 with software from Google could be the next great tool to bridge those
"technology immigrants" (today's educators) with the "technology natives" (today's learners).
The phone runs on the open-source Android platform, and, unlike the iPhone, it has a
FULL QWERTY KEYBOARD that pops out from under the screen. This allows for full "thumb
typing." A little shelf that houses the trackball and a row of buttons is called the "LENO CHIN."
The G1 also comes standard with an onboard camera and GPS and is compatible with all
online Google apps and runs on the 3G network.
The G1 could make a good introduction to cell phones in the classroom. Because the G1
runs on the open-source platform, it is a true minicomputer that also gives developers the
opportunity to develop all types of applications. The onboard camera and GPS system make
it a perfect data collection tool for activities outside the classroom.
Price: $179.99 with a two-year contract, www.t-mobile.com
Investing In Invention
What do a durable filtration system, a
sensing cane for the visually impaired,
and a solar-electric watercraft have in
common? All were projects dreamed up
by high schoolers and awarded $10,000
development grants from the InvenTeam
initiative at The Lemelson-MIT Program
"[This] is a fun and educational way to
promote the value of inventive thinking
and doing," says Leigh Estabrooks, the
Lemelson-MIT Program's invention education
officer. "The initiative challenges
students to identify real-world issues and
develop practical solutions that integrate
science, technology, engineering, and
math combined with creative thought."
"Since our students have a FIRST
robotics background, they wanted to
invent something that would complement
their strengths—mechanical contraptions,"
says Tom Moser, Teen Technology
InvenTeam. "After brainstorming, we
decided to invent an adaptive grain dehuller
for use in remote poor villages."
Students are encouraged to seek
out mentor relationships with established
community professionals. In
many cases, local companies support
InvenTeams' projects with additional
funding and materials.
"Citrus crops are a major part of the
Florida economy, and freezes can cause
devastating losses for farmers," says
Troy Soos, Oviedo High School
InvenTeam. "By choosing this particular
subject for our invention, my students
are now networking with local scientists
and farmers to experience the collaborative
nature of technological innovation."
In June, the InvenTeams will show
their wares at EurekaFest, presented by
the Lemelson-MIT Program at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) campus in Cambridge, MA.
"When students are asked to solve
problems they don't have answers to at the
back of the textbook, real learning takes
place," says Mark Westlake, Saint Thomas
Academy InvenTeam. "The grant money
allows us to fail more often and then find
ways to overcome those failures. Our students
were pushed to realize that there are
many ways to answer a problem."
Think the bright minds in your classroom
have what it takes? 2009 applications
are now available, with a
Spring submission deadline. Past winners can
apply to renew grants to reinvigorate
local community involvement and
motivate dedicated students to continue
in their STEM-related pursuits.
Sites We Like:
Teacher Survival Central
This new Web site offers tips, tricks,
tools, and practical suggestions for
easing entry into the teaching field.
Educators will find classroom management
techniques, lesson plans,
peer-networking resources, tools to
create engaging learning centers,
A TOUCH OF E-LEARNING
North Carolina beta-tests iPod touch
in Chapel Hill venture
There's a lot of anticipation in Chapel
Hill, NC, where an elementary and a
middle school are working with North
Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS)
to develop courses based on using the
Culbreth Middle School has jumped
into the new program with teacher
training and student involvement.
Principal Susan Wells seeded with
$30,000 (of what eventually could be
as much as $300,000) via NCVPS and
has delivered Apple's iPod touch to students
who are part of AVID
(Advancement via Individual
Determination), which places academically
average kids in advanced classes
and gives them support to succeed in
those classes and go to college.
Bryan Setser, NCVPS executive director,
says, "We went to the strongest academic
district. We're the hub and Chapel
Hill the beta site. We're a course developer,
using our partners. This is really no different
than funding classroom resources
Principal Wells believes they could
not access information through any
learning tool in a more engaging way.
"Desktops are not where we are; smart
computers are it. Students are accustomed
to being connected."
All of Culbreth's staff of 80 already
have an iPod touch and is working with
Apple on course development.
Hundreds of apps are available—quick
tutorials on math, a thesaurus and dictionary,
and formulas. Wells says, "We're
creating very small pieces on writing and
so forth, not really grade-specific, more
on content. For instance, physical education
teachers may want videos for students
to practice exercises."
In Culbreth's 50-minute class periods,
teachers use different apps in guided
breakout groups, rotating assignments.
Wells says, "Students function from this
mobile place; we want to marry it as one
of a number of learning tools."
Steering teams of teachers participate
in research and design. The master
team in Chapel Hill is supported through
blogs and discussion boards. Student
feedback comes in the spring.
As her program begins, Wells will
keep iPods onsite, but plans for
home use are being explored.
Teaching in the Digital Age: Using the
Internet to Increase Student
Engagement and Understanding
By Kristen Nelson, Corwin Press, 2008
This book illustrates how teaching
and learning are strengthened when
Web resources are integrated with
brain-based instruction to meet students'
individual learning needs. The
author supplies the tools and framework
for using Internet-based, brainfriendly
activities to promote students
comprehension across content areas.
Physical Education Technology
By Darla Castelli, Leah Fiorentino,
Human Kinetics, 2008
Promote healthy physical activity
choices among physical education
teachers and students through the
integration of technology.
Economics of Distance and Online
Learning: Theory, Practice and Research
By William Bramble, et.al., Routledge,
Provides a comprehensive
overview of the organizational models
of distance and online learning
from an international perspective and
from the point of view of economic
planning, costing and management
decision-making. The book promotes
further understanding and critical
reflection on the part of administrators,
practitioners, and researchers of
distance education and training.
A team of Canadian educators is working
with a Tanzania-based nonprofit
organization to teach the use of cameras
and Adobe Photoshop to children, elders,
and teachers in the remote Tanzanian
village of Maasai. The tribe has no written
language, so photography was a natural
addition to their oral culture while
modernizing their education system.
More than 500 villagers took over 5,000
pictures and planned to use photography for teaching math,
horticulture, and health awareness. The organization's longterm
goal is to establish an arts school
that includes both a photography and
an Adobe room. To learn more, please
CONTESTS AND GRANTS
Classroom Grant Program
AWARD: Recipients receive up to $1,200
toward the purchase and installation of
Calypso's ezRoomClassroom Bundle.
DESCRIPTION: The ezRoom
Classroom Bundle is a pre-assembled
A/V solution that combines a projector,
screen, and audio-visual source
devices quickly and cost-effectively.
Calypso's grant program helps school
districts test integrated classroom
technology solutions and evaluate
today's classroom technology needs.
Additionally, the program gives districts
the opportunity to beta-test a
solution and then to develop a strategy
for installing the resources without any
risks or commitments.
are ongoing; visit
for the grant application.
Take Charge of
DESCRIPTION: Now in
its 11th year, Target's Take Charge of
Education school fundraising program
has given over $246 million to more
than 100,000 American K-12 schools.
The funds are donated to America's eligible
Kâ€“12 schools in March and
September, and can be used toward a
school's most urgent needs such as
books, school supplies, hiring substitutes,
and classroom technology.
HOW IT WORKS: Target guests choose
an eligible school to which Target will
then donate one percent of the customer's
REDcardSM purchases made at
Target and Target.com. Thay also
donate 0.5 percent of all Target Visa
Credit Card purchases.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: To enroll,
choose a school, and check the status
of payouts, Target cardholders
and school representatives can
visit www.Target.com/tcoe or call 1-
CONTEST: The Kids'
AWARD: The first 1000 entries
receive free science activity kits.
DESCRIPTION: The Kids' Science
Challenge is a nationwide competition
that encourages students to
submit experiments and problems
for a group of scientists and engineers
to solve. Using podcasts, virtual
activities, and online games, the
Kids' Science Challenge is designed
to inspire third to sixth graders to
discover the fun of science.
DEADLINE: January 31, 2009.