T&L News(119) - Tech Learning

T&L News(119)

Week of: March 3, 2008 District Sets Technology Baseline Oklahoma's Deer Creek School District is in the process of implementing a new technology plan that focuses on developing technology skills and putting them to work supporting learning. Teachers Experiment in Zero
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Week of: March 3, 2008

  • District Sets Technology Baseline
    Oklahoma's Deer Creek School District is in the process of implementing a new technology plan that focuses on developing technology skills and putting them to work supporting learning.
  • Teachers Experiment in Zero Gravity
    Twenty Florida teachers flew on Space Florida's inaugural unattended microgravity research flight from the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Distance Learning in Ontario
    Contact North is delivering distance learning and training to 90 locations across Northern Ontario, greatly expanding opportunities for learning in the remote communities it serves.
  • Digital Tutors Help Autistic Children
    Digital tutors are helping children and adults develop a wide range of skills, from improving language to learning how to be a better playmate.
  • Encyclopedia of Life Debuts—Crashes
    On its debut, the Encyclopedia of Life proved so popular that its servers couldn't keep up with demand, causing the site to shut down temporarily.

District Sets Technology Baseline

Oklahoma's Deer Creek School District is in the process of implementing a new technology plan that focuses on developing technology skills and putting them to work supporting learning. The plan is designed to standardize the experiences the district offers to students. It will ensure that all student at a given grade level are learning the same set of technology skills and that teachers are integrating technology into the curriculum. To be sure this happens, the plan calls for professional development that will help teachers be comfortable with technology and with assessing students' technology work. In addition to taking advantage of outside training opportunities, the district plans on developing an internal team of experts who will help train other teachers. As a baseline, the district will equip every classroom with two computers and interactive whiteboard and projector. Many classroom already have this equipment in place and the district will purchase needed additional equipment with money from the last bond issue, which provided $1 million for technology. Principals and parents can also pursue fund-raising and grant opportunities to add to their classrooms' technology baseline.

Source:NewsOK.com

Teachers Experiment in Zero Gravity

Twenty Florida teachers flew on Space Florida's inaugural unattended microgravity research flight from the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. The middle and high school teachers took their student-influenced science demonstrations onto a microgravity parabolic flight to demonstrate the effects of Lunar, Martian and microgravity in videotaped presentations for their students. Five teacher-student teams also got to send their small-scale research experiments along for Space Florida's breakthrough Unattended Microgravity Research Program. The program sponsors live microgravity research of students in middle and high school, college undergraduates, interns, researchers and teachers. The videotaped unattended research and the results of the experiments will be studied in Florida classrooms throughout the coming weeks. Space Florida was created by the Florida Legislature to sustain Florida's position as the global leader in space exploration and commerce, and is the principal organization charged with promoting and developing Florida's aerospace industry. To engage and encourage student interest in space, Space Florida offers a range of innovative education programs and workshops that provide participants the opportunity to experience 'real world' science problems and solutions. Its programs are designed to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Source:redOrbit

Distance Learning in Ontario

Contact North is delivering distance learning and training to 90 locations across Northern Ontario, greatly expanding opportunities for learning in the remote communities it serves. Contact North is aggregating content from 14 education partners to deliver online programs and courses to its 90 Access Centers. Contact North is a partnership between the Ontario government, the communities and educational institutions. The government provides funding, the communities provided the physical space needed to establish Access Centres in their midst and Northern Ontario's colleges, universities and school boards provide a wide array of educational courses and opportunities. Each Access Centre is staffed by professionals who can assist students to use the different distance delivery technologies. In addition to Internet access, all Access Centres are equipped with a variety of technologies including audioconferencing and e-learning capabilities as well as up-to-date computer workstations and peripherals for learners. Videoconferencing capability is available in35 Access Centres. Students report to a local Access Center to participate in an instructor-led, live online session, with students located at multiple Access Centers. The virtual classroom environment supports the ability to share applications, markup and make notes on a whiteboard as well as participate in group surveys.

Source:Contact North

Digital Tutors Help Autistic Children

Digital tutors are helping children and adults develop a wide range of skills, from improving language to learning how to be a better playmate. Virtual representations—avatars—have proven especially helpful in developing social and language skills not easily developed in any other way. Justine Cassell of Northwestern University reports that her Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) has helped autistic children develop advanced social skills. ECA is a "virtual child"—about the size of an eight year old—that uses language and gesture to interact with humans. Playing with the virtual child via a plasma screen projection resulted in improved language and social interaction skills. ECA has also proven to help autistic children learn to stay on topic during a conversation, take turns talking and nod when spoken to. It appears that the ability to "scale" the reactions of a virtual character is key to success. Virtual character scan be programmed to match the expressiveness level of the student, helping an autistic student be more comfortable with the interaction.

Source:MSNBC

Encyclopedia of Life Debuts—Crashes

On its debut, the Encyclopedia of Life proved so popular that its servers couldn't keep up with demand, causing the site to shut down temporarily. The encyclopedia's website logged 11.5 million hits over 5½ hours, including two hours of down time, according to organizers. The Encyclopedia of Life's ultimate goal is to catalog every one of earth's 1.8 million species. At launch, the site includes limited Web pages for 30,000 species, but organizers have already set up I million placeholder pages. The encyclopedia also included a small number of more detailed multimedia pages—photos, video, scientific references, maps and text—to give users a taste of what is still to come. The scientists behind the site say it is designed to greatly enhance understanding of the world's diminishing biodiversity. The information in the encyclopedia is drawn from a variety of sources, including several existing specialist databases such as AmphibiaWeb and FishBase. Organizers expect to have all 1.8 million entries complete by 2017. Currently, all the pages have been created by scientists, but in a few months the public will be able to make submissions, much like Wikipedia.

Source:USA Today

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