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An afterschool program that teaches computer programming, animation, Internet research and multimedia presentations has children begging for more. Learn how it works. Jerry Mangus, recipient of the Department of Education’s most recent No Child Left Behind Act American Star of Teaching Award, runs his 5th and 6th
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  • An afterschool program that teaches computer programming, animation, Internet research and multimedia presentations has children begging for more. Learn how it works.
  • Jerry Mangus, recipient of the Department of Education’s most recent No Child Left Behind Act American Star of Teaching Award, runs his 5th and 6th grade classroom without any textbooks, relying on a variety of internet-based resources and software to cover his curriculum.
  • Although researchers say that the program engages students, helping them become computer literate and improving writing skills, parents in Fullerton complain that students are being segregated into groups of haves and have-nots.
  • Technology is used to support students learning in many different ways in the Culpeper County (VA) Public Schools, with applications that monitor student writing, administer early reading assessments, and let students wander the globe.
  • The Library of Congress is heading up an effort to create the World Digital Library, an online collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials that would be freely accessible to anyone with Internet access.

Students Learn Computer Skills with OWL

A program that teaches computer programming, animation, Internet research and multimedia presentations has children begging for more. Students from five Denver schools spend three hours a day, four days a week in the OpenWorld Learning (OWL) afterschool program. The third through sixth grade students wok in their schools’ computer labs, learning to use MicroWorlds, a programming language developed at MIT, to create multimedia applications and, along the way, develop their own critical thinking and writing skills. Owl provides an afterschool snack, 30 minutes of physical exercise and 90 minutes of computer time, followed by 30 minutes of homework help. Students who stick with the program and reach an intermediate skill level receive a computer of their own. The schools participating in the OWL serve a population that is 95 percent Latino, and 80 percent low-income, so for most students the computer is their first one for their families. Participating schools provide a computer lab and $10,000; OWL seeks donations and sponsors to support the balance of the $40,000 program costs. College students, most of whom are Latino, teach each lab and train their own team of six middle-school "student leaders," who volunteer 12 hours a week to help younger students. This peer-teaching model allows a low teacher/student ratio of 1:3 while developing teamwork and leadership skills among the student leaders.

Source:The Denver Post

Star Teacher Does It All without Textbooks

Jerry Mangus, recipient of the Department of Education’s most recent No Child Left Behind Act American Star of Teaching Award, runs his 5th and 6th grade Utah classroom without any textbooks. He’s been doing without for several years now, but his students aren’t missing out on any important lesson. Mangus uses a variety of internet-based resources and software to cover his curriculum. He had been relying on the Internet for a variety of social studies resources, but the day he found a math web site that did a better job than he felt he had been doing, he decided to change his teaching approach. In order to make it work, Mangus had to scrounge up enough computers to build a school computer lab and give one to every student in his class. The computers primarily come from high schools undergoing technology upgrades. In a typical lesson, after introducing a concept, Mangus asks students to solve problems on their computers. As soon as they have answered correctly students are asked to stand and then sent to help classmates who are still working on the problem. Mangus' assignments also are based on mastery, not number of problems. Mangus believes the immediate feedback that students receive when working ob the computer is key to their success. All fifth- and sixth-graders at Plymouth Elementary now learn math without books. Mangus also has helped secure donated computers for general computer labs for students in the lower grades.

Source:Deseret Morning News

Parents Question District Laptop Program

The Fullerton (CA) School District expanded its year-old laptop pilot program to four more of its 20 schools this year. The catch is that the program relies on families to purchases the laptops, which cost around $1,500. About 2,000 of the district’s 13,000 elementary and middle-school students already carry laptops between class and home. But as the program expands, more parents are questioning the premise and objecting to the cost. The district purchases the computers, software and insurance. Parents can pay the nearly $1,500 tab at once, or over three years with monthly installments of about $50. Financial aid and loaner laptops are available to families with demonstrable needs. Parents who can afford the laptop but opt not to purchase it can ask to have their child transferred to a classroom that is not participating in the pilot program, but that may require transferring to another school. District officials call the program an optional enrichment. Parents complain that students are being segregated into groups of haves and have-nots. Researchers at UC Irvine say the Fullerton program engages students, helping them become computer literate and improving writing skills. Other researchers say there is no evidence that equipping students with laptops improves grades or test scores.

Source:Los Angeles Times

Technology Supports Learning in VA School System

Technology is used to support student learning in many different ways in the Culpeper County (VA) Public Schools. One application that teachers find very helpful is T Tech, a program that monitors each student's writing ability from kindergarten through fifth grade. By signing on to the district web site, teachers are able to view an example of the level and type of writing the school system considers a 1, 2, 3 or 4. Parents and students can also see this same example. This helps teachers judge their students’ writing and to develop rubrics that children can use to improve their own writing. Primary teachers use handheld computers to administer the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test. DIBELS is a reading assessment that takes one minute to administer and tests students on the five "big ideas" of early reading, with results returned in a graphic display. The district is adding online classes for 11th and 12th graders and has equipped every fifth grader with a digital camera for use as part of an essay project. Students also use Google Earth, a site that allows users to type in a location and through satellite technology see real images of the location at that exact moment.

Source:Culpeper Star Exponent

Digital Library Planned

The Library of Congress (LOC) is heading up an effort to create the World Digital Library, an online collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials that would be freely accessible to anyone with Internet access. The materials would be drawn from the LOC’s holdings and from those of other national libraries. The goal, according to James H. Billington, head of the Library of Congress, is to bring together materials from the United States and Europe with precious items from Islamic nations stretching from Indonesia through Central and West Africa, as well as important materials from collections in East and South Asia. Each culture would be free to articulate its own vision of its cultural identity. The project is envisioned as a public-private partnership. Google has become the project’s first corporate donor, with a contribution of $3 million. Google has already digitized about 5,000 books from the Library of Congress as part of a pilot project to refine the techniques to make copies of fragile books without damaging them. Only materials that are in the public domain will be digitized, thereby avoiding any copyright issues.

Source:The Washington Post

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