Week of: January 28, 2008
- Principals and Internet Technology
The National Association of Secondary School Principals has issued a policy statement to help principals deal with both the opportunities and challenges posed by Internet technologies.
- Open Source Gaining Traction
A new report from Datamonitor shows that the use of open source software among educational institutions worldwide is on the rise.
- Utah Shops for Teachers Online
The Utah Department of Education has turned to an online teacher recruitment service to help it fill vacancies at a cost of about $100,000 a year.
- NASA May Build a MOO
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is exploring developing a massively multiplayer online (MOO) game designed to "simulate real NASA engineering and science missions."
- SciVee: YouTube for Science?
SciVee is a new Web 2.0 tool for science content, combining user-generated video content with tagging and communities.
Principals and Internet Technology
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has issued a policy statement to help principals deal with the challenges posed by Internet technology, noting that the Internet offers both "enormous potential for innovation in teaching and learning" while representing "a safety minefield for students." NASSP recognizes that technology can be a powerful tool, engaging students in their own education and helping to establish personalized learning environments. Principals are responsible for preparing students for the future, a future in which technology will play a significant role. They face the triple challenge of protecting their students against online predators while safeguarding students' First Amendment rights and encouraging use of the Internet as a legitimate pedagogical tool. NAASP recommends that principals become familiar with the Internet, blogs, social networking sites; form a technology team made up of staff members, parents and students to act in an advisory capacity; guide teachers and students on using the Internet as an effective educational tool; and formulate clear guidelines to protect students and teachers against cyber bullying and other criminal activities. Principals must also be aware of the liability issues associated with Internet technologies, educating students and staff on the on the boundaries of the law and protecting them from Internet crime. They must help educate parents regarding student use of the Internet, encouraging vigilance of Internet use at home and holding Internet service providers and social networking Web sites accountable for reporting criminal behavior. Principals should reward schools that are using technology in an effective and innovative ways, soliciting, showcasing and recognizing these best practices
Open Source Gaining Traction
A new report from Datamonitor shows that the use of open source software among educational institutions worldwide is on the rise. Datamonitor predicts that primary and secondary school and university spending on open source software, including maintenance and services, will reach $489.9 million by 2012, compared to $286.2 million today. The projection is based on interviews with vendors and school officials in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, India, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and Italy. Schools, particularly institutions of higher education, often turn to open source to gain greater control over their software applications. Since the code is open, institutions are able to make technological changes to the software, adapting it to fit their specific needs. These schools believe that proprietary solutions prevent them from effectively sharing information and methodologies with each other. Institutions of higher education are more able to deal with the challenges of open source, with greater access to experienced personnel able to maintain, support and upgrade an open source solution. Among K-12 institutions, open source is often seen as a way to save money and avoid having software upgrades forced upon them. But without significant vendor support, K-12 schools may find it harder to implement open source solutions. According to Datamonitor that's where the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative may come into play. The report indicates that if OLPC—originally aimed at children in the developing world — proves successful it could have a large impact upon the uptake of open source products in the education market. If OLPC and its Linux-based laptop begins to show traction in Western markets, vendors of supporting services for the education market will have to give careful consideration to how this might impact their business.
Utah Shops for Teachers Online
The Utah Department of Education has turned to an online teacher recruitment service to help it fill vacancies. The state is paying the service about $100,000 a year for help in resolving its teacher shortage. The department points out that the fee allows it to reach out nationally to find teachers; once the state might have paid travel expenses and registration fees to attend job fairs in other states. Teachers and student teachers from around the world file applications on the site, detailing their qualifications and indicating where they want to teach. Teachers looking for work must submit a transcript and fill out an application form. Districts can post job vacancies and search the site for candidates that match their established criteria, including finding candidates that are "highly qualified" under No Child left Behind. Last quarter, Utah school districts posted 170 vacancies and sent 180 e-mails to candidates through the Teachers-Teachers.com service. Utah began the school year 173 teachers short. Given projected enrollment growth over the next seven years, the state will need 44,000 new teachers. Other states face similar situations, making for keen competition for the best teachers. Wyoming offers a base salary of nearly %51,000 and small class sizes—an average of 13 to 15 students. Clark County School District in Las Vegas offers a move-in bonus of $2,000, credit for up to 13 years on the salary schedule, a mentoring program, a $33,800 beginning teacher salary and about $47,000 average teacher pay. The district is adding about a dozen new schools a year and needs 3,000 teachers to staff them. Utah's average salary has been about $39,000, but the legislature is acting to raise that amount by roughly $3,500.
Source:Deseret Morning News
NASA May Build a MOO
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is exploring developing a massively multiplayer online (MOO) game designed to "simulate real NASA engineering and science missions." The space agency has issued a request for information" (RFI) from organizations interested in developing the simulation. In part, the MOO would help NASA fulfill its outreach goal of educating the public. NASA also hopes that the virtual experience could inspire students to become part of the next generation of NASA employees. The RFI states, "The MMO will foster career exploration opportunities in a much deeper way than reading alone would permit and at a fraction of the time and cost of an internship program." NASA currently owns an island in Second Life where people interested in space can meet, share ideas and conduct experiments. At some point CoLab may allow members of the public to take part in virtual missions. The game NASA is thinking about has a serious side. According to the RFI, which was issued by the NASA Learning Technologies Project Office, "A NASA-based MMO built on a game engine that includes powerful physics capabilities could support accurate in-game experimentation and research. It should simulate real NASA engineering and science missions in a medium that is comfortable and familiar to the majority of students in the United States today. A NASA-based MMO could provide opportunities for students to investigate STEM career paths while participating in engaging game-play."
SciVee: YouTube for Science?
SciVee is a new Web 2.0 tool for science content, combining user-generated video content with tagging and communities. Created for scientists, by scientists, SciVee moves science beyond the printed word and lecture theater taking advantage of the internet as a communication medium where scientists young and old have a place and a voice. SciVee A collaboration of the Public Library of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, SciVee is meant to help solve the information overload currently facing biomedical scientists by offering users a mid-ground between reading just an abstract or reading an entire paper of monograph. The bulk of SciVee's content will be "pubcasts," in which researchers provides a short video description of their work that's synchronized to the display of text from the paper. Viewers will gain more information than they can get from an abstract without having to invest significantly more time in the effort. Other scientists can freely view uploaded presentations and engage in virtual discussions with the author and other viewers. SciVee also facilitates the creation of communities around specific articles and keywords. Initially much of the content is expected to come from graduate students, but organizers foresee a time when more senior researchers will participate It is already hosting video presentations from high school students who worked at the University of California, San Diego this summer. Podcasts of lectures are another possibility.