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Week of: October 29, 2007 Maine Laptop Students' Writing Improves Writing scores on standardized tests have improved in Maine since the state began equipping all seventh and eighth graders with their own laptop computers. "Did You Know" Is Teacher's Work The popular "Did You Know"
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Week of: October 29, 2007

  • Maine Laptop Students' Writing Improves
    Writing scores on standardized tests have improved in Maine since the state began equipping all seventh and eighth graders with their own laptop computers.
  • "Did You Know" Is Teacher's Work
    The popular "Did You Know" presentation that has been seen by millions of people is the work of Karl Fisch, director of technology at Colorado's Arapahoe High School.
  • Students Star in Podcasts
    Teachers across the Frederick County (MD) Public Schools are exploiting the power of podcasting to motivate and engage students in learning both content and technology skills.
  • Parents See Internet in Shades of Gray
    Parents are more likely to say that the internet has not had an effect on their child one way or another today than they were are 2004.
  • Big Brother Is Watching
    The University of Pennsylvania will open a new, state-of-the art testing center this spring that includes a number of features designed to thwart anyone thinking about cheating.

Maine Laptop Students' Writing Improves

Writing scores on standardized tests have improved in Maine since the state began equipping all seventh and eighth graders with their own laptop computers. A new study documents the improvement, which carries over to instances when students are using the traditional tools of pen and paper as well as when composing at the computer keyboard. The results represent the first concrete evidence that the Maine Learning Technology Initiative is working. The state began distributing laptops under that program in 2002 and is planning an expansion of the program to high school students. The study, the first in a series of planned evaluations of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, focused on the writing scores of eighth graders on the Maine Educational Assessment for two time periods; for 2000, a year prior to implementation of the statewide laptop program, and for 2005, five years after the initial implementation of the program. In 2005 49% of eighth-graders were proficient in writing, compared to 29% in 2000. During the same period, math scores were unchanged and science scores grew by 2 points, while reading scores actually dropped 3 points. Writing showed the biggest improvement of 7 points, from 530 to 53t, which experts attribute to the fact that computers make editing and revising easier for students. Further analysis shows that students who reported not using their laptop in writing had the lowest scores, whereas students who reported using their laptops in all phases of the writing process had the highest scores. The fact that the skills transfer to uses beyond the computer is even better news.

Source:The Boston Globe

"Did You Know" Is Teacher's Work

The popular "Did You Know" presentation that has been seen by millions of people is the work of Karl Fisch, director of technology at Colorado's Arapahoe High School. Fisch created the original eight-minute Power Point in August 2006 in response to a request to provide an update about new equipment and programs at a back-to-school faculty meeting. Fisch wanted to spur conversation among fellow teachers, so he went home and did a little research to create a conversation starter about how the world was changing and what students would need to know to be prepared for life in the 21st century. The presentation flashes tidbits of thought-provoking information on the screen - items like "There are over 106 million registered users of MySpace…if MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th largest in the world." or "The top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn't exist in 2004." The presentation worked and Fisch decided to post it on his blog in hope of sharing it with other local teachers. The rest is history. Other bloggers posted links to "Fischbowl" and by winter break Fisch estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 educators had seen "Did You Know." In January, Scott McLeod - a professor at the University of Minnesota - asked permission to remix the presentation and post it on his blog in a variety of formats. From there it ended up on YouTube and went viral. In March XPLANE, a media company, asked Fisch and McLeod if they could do more updating and "Did You Know 2.0" hit the Internet. Fisch estimates that some 10 million people around the world have now viewed his brainchild. The experience only reinforces Fisch's original sense that the world is changing in a way never before experienced.

Source:Rocky Mountain News

Students Star in Podcasts

Teachers across the Frederick County (MD) Public Schools are exploiting the power of podcasting to motivate and engage students in learning both content and technology skills. Students are excited by the prospect of reaching listeners beyond their classroom and are more willing to research, revise and edit in order to present their very best work. In Adam Umak's Language Arts class, students not only write their own poetry, they get the chance to turn their poems into podcasts. In the course of producing a podcast, they learn about scriptwriting, editing, production quality and presentation skills. They also learn to use the digital tools that allow them to record their poems and upload the digital recordings to the internet. Teachers also use podcasts to deliver information and instruction to their students, recording classroom materials that students can download and use for further study. Teachers are finding ways to turn traditional homework assignments and worksheet activities into recorded exercises. Teachers can record interviews and students can present their research projects. Student work can be shared with parents, grandparents and other relatives and friends; since it's all online, location makes no difference. With care to protect the child's privacy, a podcast can be shared with the world. The next step is vodcasting, the video version of podcasting.

Source:Gazette.Net

Parents See Internet in Shades of Gray

Parents are more likely to say that the internet has not had an effect on their child one way or another today than they were are 2004. According to the latest study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, while 59% of parents with online teens still believe the internet is a beneficial factor in their children's lives, this is down from the 67% of parents in 2004 who believed the internet is a good thing for their children. On the other hand, there is no corresponding increase in the percentage of parents who think the internet has been a bad thing for their children. Instead, more parents are neutral about whether their children have been positively affected by the internet. Teens are more likely than their parents to say that technology devices make their lives easier, 88% to 69% respectively. Most parents report regulating their teen's use of media, monitoring both content and time. Many (65%) check on Web sites their child has visited and 74% can correctly identify whether or not their online teen has ever created a profile on a social networking site. Pew reports that 93% of youth are online and 94% of their parents are online. Overall, 87% of parents who have a child ages 12-17 use the internet, up from 80% in the 2004 survey. Parents who use the internet frequently have teenage children who use the internet frequently. Parents who have higher levels of education and larger household incomes are more likely to have a computer (either a laptop or a desktop) than parents who have less education and lower incomes.

Source:Orlando Sentinel

Big Brother Is Watching

The University of Pennsylvania will open a new, state-of-the art testing center this spring that includes a number of features designed to thwart anyone thinking about cheating. Students enter by swiping their campus ID through the card reader. That brings up a picture of the student at a security station, allowing security personnel to verify that the person entering is who they claim to be. Students then check in and are given a printout and computer station assignment. The printout - to be displayed atop the computer — has the student's picture and information about any accommodations - like use of scratch paper - the student is allowed. The testing center has 160 private computer stations, which can be locked down during testing so that students can't get out to the Internet or the campus network. All tests will be proctored but the center also has strategically located video cameras that feed images from the testing room to the security station in the lobby.But it's not all about stopping cheaters. The testing center gives professors the option of moving, securely, beyond paper and pencil tests, adding the ability to include graphics and animation. It also allows them to schedule tests outside of class periods, giving them more time for instruction. Computerized results allow teachers to gain more information about what it is students have really mastered and to adjust instruction accordingly.

Source:Business Week

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