TechLearning News(4)

Students at Arkadelphia High School are taking French II from a teacher at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, the state’s elite public residential high school, via a compressed video feed. Students in Texas’ Carrollton-Farmers Branch district are using portable MP3 players to learn
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  • Students at Arkadelphia High School are taking French II from a teacher at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, the state’s elite public residential high school, via a compressed video feed.
  • Students in Texas’ Carrollton-Farmers Branch district are using portable MP3 players to learn English and vocabulary words, while students in the Redlands, CA school district are using them to listen to audio books.
  • For three years, some teachers in New York’s North Rockland school district have used streaming video to illustrate difficult concepts, add interest to their lessons, and engage students. Learn how it’s working.
  • The Consortium for School Networking has released a new report, Digital Learning Spaces 2010, that identifies technologies that have the potential to reshape education by 2010.
  • A combination of familiar technologies — radio telemetry, global positioning satellites and geographic information systems — are being used to create a real-time database that tracks the location of spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest.

Sharing Good Teaching

Students at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA), a public residential high school in Hot Springs, are among the state’s best and brightest and they are taught by a group of talented and dedicated teachers. Students across the state are now able to learn from these same teachers. Students at Arkadelphia High School (AHS) are taking French II from an ASMSA teacher via a compressed video feed. Cameras and microphones in the AHS classroom allow the remote teacher to see and hear the students and interact with them. The teacher who oversees the AHS classroom says that at first that interaction was limited, with the students acting more like they were watching television. But as they have grown accustomed to the technology, interaction is picking up. The equipment that allows for this class was paid for, in part, by a state grant. The state is also covering some of the cost of the T1 line that is used to transmit the compressed video. AHS pays a set per student fee to ASMSA for the course. The compressed video technology can also be used to deliver professional development to teachers or to conduct meetings at a distance. AHS students are also benefiting from the ability to take college classes from Ouachita Technical College via the Internet while at school. Students pay for these courses out of their own pockets, but are allowed school time to take the class and complete the coursework.

Source: Siftings Herald.com

Listening Their Way to Literacy

Small consumer electronics devices are finding their way into classrooms and teachers are finding innovative ways to use them to support student learning. Students in Texas’ Carrollton-Farmers Branch district are using portable MP3 players to learn vocabulary words, while students in the Redlands, CA school district are using them to listen to audio books. In the Carrollton-Farmers Branch district, English language learners at all grade levels use the players to learn English. Kindergarteners use them to expand their vocabularies. The district purchased 100 devices in August for a pilot program involving two middle schools and two high schools, at a cost of $31,000. The kindergarten program was funded by a private foundation that purchased 16 players to share between three kindergarten classrooms. The district is considering extending the use of the MP3 players to all 27,000 students as part of its ongoing plan to use leisure technology to engage kids. Students are able to take the players home, helping to extend learning into their home environment by getting parents and siblings involved. The kindergarten students listen to familiar tunes that have new lyrics — helping them learn basic sounds and increasing their phonemic awareness. Older ESL students use the players to learn English. At the high school, one French teacher loads French lessons onto the devices to help students study. Lessons in many courses could be converted to MP3 files and loaded onto the players.

Source: The Dallas News

A Picture Is Worth...

For three years, some teachers in New York’s North Rockland school district have used streaming video to illustrate difficult concepts, add interest to their lessons, and engage students. The video is streamed over the internet or the district’s intranet to the teacher’s computer or cued up on individual computers for students to view as part of their class work. Now the district has plans to train every teacher in the use of the streaming video system, extending the benefits to all students. Teachers who have used the system say that it helps students learn and remember what they have learned. For teachers, the beauty is in the fact that the video clips can be tightly integrated with their lesson plans. The district has access to more than 45,000 video titles, which are provided free under a statewide educational contract paid for by New York’s nine public television stations. Teachers can select segments as long as 20 minutes or tightly targeted clips roughly two-minutes in length. Everything is correlated to state standards and teachers can review content and make their selections from home via a password protected internet site. Students can also log onto the site from home to see videos they may have missed in class or to review what was played. The system includes software tools that allow students and teachers to create their own video presentations, using all or part of the available clips.

Source: The Journal News

Digital Learning Spaces 2010

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released a new report, Digital Learning Spaces 2010, that identifies the technologies that have the potential to reshape education by 2010, and explores how technology decision makers need to plan ahead to be ready for the transformation. The report begins with three examples of the future digital classrooms, the technologies that would make them possible and the ways they will maximize student learning. CoSN is not talking about “bleeding-edge†technology here. All the technologies discussed in the report are on the market today and some schools are already using them. All the examples — an integrated math/science class, a fifth grade elementary school class and two virtual student learning experiences — demonstrate the learning capabilities schools can provide in five years if they begin planning for the implementation of these technologies now. Digital Learning Spaces 2010 provides a roadmap to help educators and policymakers begin building the technology infrastructure today that will enable the learning spaces of 2010, including specific recommendations on connectivity systems and hardware.

Source: The Consortium for School Networking

Tracking the Spotted Owl

A combination of familiar technologies — radio telemetry, global positioning satellites and geographic information systems — are being turned to a new purpose. Researchers are using the technologies to create a real-time database that tracks the location of spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest. The owls are a threatened species and as a result loggers are prohibited from cutting tress within 80 acres of a known spotted owl site. The owls are outfitted with miniature radio transmitters, weighing only 7.5 grams, that emit a unique radio signal that allows researchers to locate the birds once or twice a week. Researchers drive the logging roads nightly using hand-held telemetry receivers to pick up the signals. Once they have a signal, the researchers begin shooting azimuths with their compasses, taking three consecutive compass readings from three separate points to triangulate the owl's position. The data is then entered into a database and used to create maps of the owl’s home range. The maps can be overlaid with topographical features, such as roads or streams and other pertinent information such as tree type, age and density. More than 30,000 spotted owl radio telemetry locations have been collected since 1998 and archived in a database. The database is an invaluable tool, helping keep the owls safe and loggers legal.

Source: Wired News

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