- A Classroom on Wheels
The 90-minute ride home from school doesn't seem quite as long to some Arkansas students as they access the Internet while riding along.
- We Have a Budget!
Congress and President Bush have finally agreed on the Department of Education's FY 2008 budget, with the president signing off on a bill that increases total education spending by 2.9%.
- Online Teens Get Creative
Not only do teens spend a lot of time online, those that do tend to actively create content â€“ blogging, sharing photos and videos and telling and talking about stories.
- MIT Offers High School Resources
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has expanded its OpenCourseWare initiative, which makes all MIT course materials available for free on the Web, to high school.
- Less TV and More Reading
Parents are more actively monitoring their children's television use compared to their involvement in 1994, according to a study from the U.S. Census Bureau.
A Classroom on Wheels
The 90-minute ride home from school doesn't seem quite as long to some Arkansas students as they access the Internet while riding along. The school bus headed to rural Grapevine Arkansas is equipped with a cellular router and rooftop antenna that communicate with cellular towers along the route home, allowing anyone equipped with a laptop computer to access the internet. Other students use iPods to view educational videos or listen to podcasts. The "Aspirnaut Initiative" is a joint project between the Sheridan district and the Grapevine Historical Society, supported by Billy Hudson, now a professor at Vanderbilt University, but also a native of Grapevine. The goal is to turn the long bus ride into productive learning time. A handful of the 30 riders are using the time to take online courses in pre-algebra, algebra and Advanced Placement biology. The courses are set up so that students can contact their teachers through the laptops. Teachers and students can share an interactive space where students can watch teachers explain problems. Twice a week the 11 students taking the online courses are dropped off at a satellite classroom located at the Sardis Missionary Baptist Church in Grapevine. There they can work with a local teacher who provides help with academic problems the students might have and a community member who helps out with any technical issues students might be having. Students use the time at the satellite classroom to work on their lessons, conduct science experiments and receive weekly progress reports. The cost of equipping the bus for Internet access is about $1,500. The project has an annual budget of $56,500 that covers the cost of Internet access and the charge for the online courses. Donations to the Grapevine Historical Society pay for initiative employees' salaries. Vanderbilt University contributed the laptops and the Sheridan District has assisted with iPods and software costs.
We Have a Budget!
Congress and President Bush have finally agreed on the Department of Education's FY 2008 budget, with the President signing off on a bill that increases total education spending by 2.9%. The passage of the budget is nearly three months late; FY 2008 started on Oct 1, 2007. The omnibus legislation, which appropriated $59.2 billion for the Department, still contains a significant number of earmarks, earning the President's displeasure. FY 2008 Title I funding of $13.9 billion represents an 8.6% increase over FY 2007 levels. Reading First was cut significantly, dropping to $514.5 million from last year's total of $1.15 billion. This is the first ever cut to Reading First funding, reflecting Congress' displeasure with the way the program has been administered. Reports earlier this year criticized the program for bias toward several textbook publishers and other management irregularities. Funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act increased by 1%, with $10.9 billion committed for state grants. Supporting the administration's focus on highly qualified teachers, funding for Improving Teacher Quality state grants increased to $2.93 billion, a 1.7% increase. Funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which supports after-school programs, increased by $100 million to $1.1 billion. There's good and bad news for technology advocates. The Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program received level funding of $272 million, while advocated had hoped for an increase. The good news is that the program survived, since it had been zeroed out in the President's original budget proposal. All domestic programs, including those detailed above, will be subject to an across-the-board recision of 1.75%, which reduces the Department of Education's total budget to $58.4 billion.
Source:U.S. Department of Education
Online Teens Get Creative
Not only do teens spend a lot of time online, those that do tend to actively create content â€” blogging, sharing photos and videos and telling and talking about stories. According to Teens and Social Media, the latest report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, teenagers both grasp and revel in the conversational nature of interactive online media. Asked about specific activities, 39% of online teens report sharing their own artistic creations online â€” artwork, photos, stories, or videos â€” up from 33% in 2004. One in three have created or worked on web pages or blogs for groups they belong to, friends, or as school assignments; 28% have created their own online journal or blog, up from 19% in 2004; 27% maintain their own personal web page, up from 22% in 2004; and 26% remix content they find online into their own creations, up from 19% in 2004. Overall 64% pf online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004. Girls are more active as content creators. Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys, however, are twice as likely as girls (19% vs. 10%) to post videos online in a location that could be viewed by others. While many teens restrict access to photos they post, video is meant to be seen. While 77% of teens restrict access to photos they have posted sometime or most of the time, nearly half (46%) of online teens report that they never restrict access to videos they have posted. Teens use multiple channels to communicate and e-mail continues to loose prominence, as teens turn to texting, instant messaging and social networking sites to contact friends.
MIT Offers High School Resources
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has expanded its OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, which makes all MIT course materials available for free on the Web, to high school. The new Highlights for High School web site provides resources that can be used to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction at the high school level. MIR science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction at the high school level. MIT hopes that these challenging materials will help inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists, its future students. "Highlights for High School will provide students and teachers with innovative tools to supplement their math and science studies. We hope it will inspire students to reach beyond their required classwork to explore more advanced material and might also encourage them to pursue careers in science and engineering," says MIT President Susan Hockfield. Highlights for High School features more than 2,600 video and audio clips, animations, lecture notes and assignments taken from actual MIT courses, and categorizes them to match the Advanced Placement physics, biology and calculus curricula. Demonstrations, simulations, animations and videos give educators engaging ways to present STEM concepts, while videos illustrate MIT's hands-on approach to the teaching of these subjects. Highlights for High School organizes the course materials currently featured on OCWâ€”including 1,800 syllabi, 15,000 lecture notes, 9,000 assignments and 900 examsâ€”into a format that is more accessible to high school students and teachers. An estimated 10,000 U.S. high school instructors and 5,000 U.S. high school students already visit MIT OpenCourseWare each month, and MIT expects Highlights for High School to make MIT's course materials even more useful to these audiences.
Less TV, More Reading
Parents are more actively monitoring their children's television use compared to their involvement in 1994, according to a study from the U.S. Census Bureau. A Child's Day: 2004 examines the well-being of children younger than 18 and provides an updated look into how they spend their days, based on the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). According to this latest report, about 68% of 3- to 5-year-olds had limits on their television viewing, an increase from 54% in 1994. Older children also faced viewing restrictions, with 71% of 6 to 11-year-olds, compared with 60% in 1994, and 47% of teenagers, up from 40% ten years earlier, living with TV-related restrictions. Parents are filling some of that free time by reading to their children. Children ages 1 to 2 were read to an average of 7.8 times in the previous week of the survey, while children 3 to 5 were read to an average of 6.8 times in the previous week. About half of all children 1 to 5 are read to seven or more times a week; 53% for 1- to 2-year-olds, and 51% percent for 3- to 5-year olds. The percentage of children participating in lessons, such as music, dance, language, computers, or religion, went up for 6- to 11-year olds, from 24% in 1994 to 33% in 2004. Parents across the country, like those in Arizona's Central Valley are encouraging children to be more physically active and directing TV viewing choices to programming that combines both education and entertainment values.