Week of: March 31, 2008
- Technology Counts 2008
Education Week released Technology Counts 2008, its annual review of the state of technology in American public schools, with a special focus on STEM education.
- Preparing Future Teachers to Use Technology
The University of Rhode Island's School of Education received $5.6 million to develop programs that ensure that its teacher education students are prepared to use technology effectively.
- Video Sharing Sites for Schools
While many schools block student access to YouTube, other video-sharing sites that contain material more appropriate for classroom use are emerging as alternatives.
- Interactive Whiteboards Transform School
Interactive whiteboards are transforming instruction at David Livingstone Elementary School in East Vancouver, engaging students and energizing teachers.
- Suspended Animation?
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital used hydrogen sulfide to completely suspend the metabolism of mice, which were then revived without any apparent side effects.
Technology Counts 2008
Education Week released Technology Counts 2008, its annual review of the state of technology in American public schools. This year's report focuses on efforts to improve education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Documenting the growing emphasis on STEM, the report notes that 38 states require or are phasing in a requirement for at least three years of math, while 35 states require or will require at least three years of science before graduation. Meanwhile, nearly 40% of teachers assigned to teach math in grades 7-12 lack a college major in the subject, as do nearly 25% of those assigned to teach science. On the technology side, the report includes a State Technology Report that assigns grades to the states for their technology performance overall and in the areas of areas of access, use, and capacity. Technology Counts assigns the nation as a whole an n overall technology performance grade of C+, with the majority of states earning grades in the C- to C+ range. West Virginia was awarded the only solid A, with Georgia and South Dakota receiving A- grades. Kentucky, South Dakota, and Virginia also posted consistently strong marks, with all grades in the A to B range. All schools now have Internet access at the school level and nearly universal access at the classroom level. Nationally, there is an average of four students per instructional computer. The computer se numbers have not changed much over the last two years, reflecting how hard the schools are finding it to really improve student access.
Preparing Future Teachers to Use Technology
The University of Rhode Island's School of Education received $5.6 million to develop programs that ensure that its teacher education students are prepared to use technology effectively. A significant portion of the state grant will be used to provide URI's pre-service teachers with access to current hardware, software and models of effective technology use. The money will be used to purchase software, web services, social software, online learning, remote experimentation and visualizations, scientific probes and lab instrumentation. Funds have also been allocated to Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island and the three schools will collaborate to provide consistency in how technology is used in teacher education. The goal is to be sure that when these new teachers reach the classroom, they are ready to use technology tools to enhance student learning. About $1 million of the grant will be used to expand work with the state's public schools, developing teaching tools that will give them and their students access to the latest science, math, engineering and technology professional development and programming content. The Department of Education hopes to expand opportunities for links and collaboration, like that with Smithfield High School, to more schools statewide. Oceanography Professor Robert Ballard's Inner Space Center currently works with Smithfield High School. The high school is equipped with technology that is linked with the Inner Space Center at URI's Narragansett Bay Campus. The equipment allows students and teachers at the high school to view and communicate with Ballard's oceanographic research expeditions as they happen.
Source:Providence Business News
Video-Sharing Sites for Schools
While many schools block student access to YouTube, other video-sharing sites that contain material more appropriate for classroom use are emerging as alternatives. TeacherTube features videos created by teachers, while SchoolTube was launched to give students studying broadcast journalism a place to share their work online. Any teacher using either site needs to exercise caution and good judgment. SchoolTube does monitor its site to be sure that all posted materials are safe for students. Only registered users working in education are allowed to upload videos to TeacherTube. Things can slip through the safety nets, however, and neither site vets the validity of the uploaded content, so caution is warranted. Teachers who use the sites believe that the inherent engagement and the chance to see what other teachers and students are doing is worth any extra work monitoring content and being sure it relates to curriculum standards. Teacher at Galena Park (TX) ISD have used TeacherTube videos in the classroom for over a year, sometimes even assigning viewing a video as homework. Students at Burleson High School in Forth Worth, Texas, who produce a weekly newscast covering school events, use SchoolTube to share their work with family and friends on the Web. And while older students love sharing video they have created, teachers and parents need to work with them to be sure they understand the limits of what they can or should show. Both TeacherTube and SchoolTube are developing tools that will make it easier for schools to use the sites and share resources.
Interactive Whiteboards Transform School
Interactive whiteboards are transforming instruction at David Livingstone Elementary School in East Vancouver, engaging students and energizing teachers. The school, which now has a whiteboard in every classroom, started small. The original plan put whiteboards in the two fifth grade classrooms; as those students moved to sixth grade, so did the whiteboards. But one of the fifth grade teachers begged the parents' association to buy another one. Three more board were added using 2005 strike savings. As teachers saw how useful the interactive whiteboards were, the principal asked the parents' association to purchase a board for every classroom and for the library. The investment has paid off. The Vancouver School Board recently named Livingston a District Technology Inquiry School. While older students use the whiteboards extensively, the school has been especially pleased to see how well the technology works with younger students and those who have learning disabilities. Students can show what they know by manipulating data on the board without having to write about it. The University of British Columbia's faculty of education is conducting a three-year study of the effects of using the whiteboards with students. Still in its early stages, the study is gathering data and developing methods by which the teaching staff can record outcomes in the classroom. The challenge of this type of research is to document the deeper types of learning that this technology enables.
Source:The Globe and Mail
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital used hydrogen sulfide to completely suspend the metabolism of mice, which were then revived without any apparent side effects. Hydrogen sulfide is the compound that imparts the unique smell to rotting eggs and swamp gas. Researchers have known for some time that hydrogen sulfide gas could slow metabolism, but had never examined its effects on the circulatory system. The Mass General team used ultrasound technology to view the hearts of mice as they inhaled hydrogen sulfide. While hear rates dropped by as much as half, blood pressure remained normal, crucial to keeping blood adequately flowing through the body. Researchers believe that if they chill the body at the same time, metabolism could be cut by as much as 90%. There's still a lot of work to be done. For one thing, hydrogen sulfide is toxic in large doses. Scientists also need to determine if the hydrogen sulfide inhalation works in larger animals, and whether it's damaging when maintained for more than a few minutes in species more complicated than mice. What are the practical applications? Deep-space travel and organ preservation during surgery and battlefield treatment are among the possible long-term applications.