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Week of: June 2, 2008 Teens Talk Tech "Teens Plugged In," the second annual Teens in Technology conference held by Silicon Valley non-profit SDForum, brought together more than 180 students, teachers, developers and investors for a day this May at the Hewlett-Packard Auditorium in Palo Alto,
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Week of: June 2, 2008

  • Teens Talk Tech
    "Teens Plugged In," the second annual Teens in Technology conference held by Silicon Valley non-profit SDForum, brought together more than 180 students, teachers, developers and investors for a day this May at the Hewlett-Packard Auditorium in Palo Alto, California. The conference gave talented young techies a chance to connect with businesses seeking to understand them both as customers and as future employees. "Teens are developing software and creating companies. They are the next generation of professionals in technology," says Susan Lucas-Conwell, CEO of SDForum.
  • What you have and how you use it
    A new study from research firm Quality Education Data (QED), surveys educators about the types of digital media they use, the barriers and they barriers they face using them. "The findings from the new State of Digital Content report underscore the importance of schools across America making a commitment to providing access to up-to-date, relevant technology for both students and teachers," says Andy Lacy, President, QED. "Teachers are telling us that they recognize the importance of technology as both a motivator and an instructional tool and as an essential part of a 21st century classroom." Highlights of the results are after the jump.
  • Making it safe
    Results are in from CDW-G's 2008 School Safety Index and are decidedly mixed. According to the report, school districts improved their physical safety score by 39 percent over 2007, while their cyber safety score declined by 25 percent in the same time period. "School districts both large and small are embracing advanced technology tools and techniques to make school a safer place for our children," says Bob Kirby, senior director K-12, CDW-G. "Cyber- and physical-security tools - from network access control to security cameras - are allowing administrators to see into and lock down their networks and school buildings, but schools continue to be frustrated by budget and staff constraints, particularly in their IT security programs."
  • Making it safe
    Results are in from CDW-G's 2008 School Safety Index and are decidedly mixed. According to the report, school districts improved their physical safety score by 39 percent over 2007, while their cyber safety score declined by 25 percent in the same time period. "School districts both large and small are embracing advanced technology tools and techniques to make school a safer place for our children," says Bob Kirby, senior director K-12, CDW-G. "Cyber- and physical-security tools - from network access control to security cameras - are allowing administrators to see into and lock down their networks and school buildings, but schools continue to be frustrated by budget and staff constraints, particularly in their IT security programs."
  • What's New

    The new LanSchool v7.1 classroom management system still monitors student activities while limiting students' access to the Internet, IM, and games, but the latest version includes thumbnails that can be arranged to look like the classroom. Extra small thumbnail sizes allow teachers to see up to 80 screens without scrolling. Teachers can now also limit the use of student USB thumb drives. www.lanschool.com

Teens Talk Tech

The 23-year-old organization is dedicated to providing information, education and access to resources for technology professionals, a community that now includes teenagers. Lucas-Conwell says that the purpose of the conference is to "inspire them, celebrate them, and encourage them in technology."

Panelists and speakers from 8th to 12th grade talked about how being "plugged in" enables them to do amazing things. Fifteen-year-old Daniel Brusilovsky is a podcaster, blogger and entrepreneur who has released more than a hundred episodes of his podcast, Apple Universe. A sophomore at Aragon High School in San Mateo, California, he has attracted paying advertisers, landed an internship at online start-up Qik, and founded a website called Teens in Tech.

Brusilovsky credits the technology club at Borel Middle School in San Mateo for giving him a start when he was a sixth grader. He advises schools to support their tech clubs and to make technology a high priority in funding decisions. Other students wished that all their teachers would use a single web service to post class agendas, homework, handouts and even lectures.

Students at the conference also had time to pitch their ideas to the tech executives and Bay Area venture capital firms in attendance. Sejal Hathi, a junior at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California, solicited support for her international organization, Girls Helping Girls. While not a tech business, the non-profit has a website to promote its mission of linking girls across the world, and will soon feature online bulletin boards where they can discuss how to work together for education, health and peace.

What you have and how you use it

86% of teachers have desktop computers available in their classrooms; 67% of teachers have access to laptops for their students if they need them; and only 5% of teachers have no access to computers of any kind.

9% of teachers spend more than 50% of instructional time using technology, while 16% of report no use of technology during classroom time.

85% of teachers report not having enough computers in their classroom as a barrier to using digital content, either always (23%) or sometimes (63%).

Nearly 95% of teachers use technology to search for free content for use in their classrooms; 36% report that they do so at least three to four times a week.

17% of teachers participate in online social networking. Nineteen percent of teachers participate in an online professional community.

Students of all ages are creating multimedia presentations in school: 58% of high school students, 49% of middle school students, and 22% of elementary school students.

Making it safe

Key findings include:

* More than half of districts are using network access control (NAC) to protect data and ensure that only authorized users and approved applications access their networks. However, budget constraints, lack of staff resources and the need for more IT tools canceled out districts' efforts to improve cyber safety

* Nearly half of districts are utilizing mass notification systems, and 70 percent are using security cameras; 29 percent of districts report that security cameras have had a positive impact on district safety

* Districts should consider the instant access that IP security cameras can give their local police. While more schools are using security cameras, only a small number of districts give their local police force the ability to access digital footage in real-time during an emergency

For more information, go to: http://newsroom.cdwg.com/features/feature-05-19-08.html

What's New

The new LanSchool v7.1 classroom management system still monitors student activities while limiting students' access to the Internet, IM, and games, but the latest version includes thumbnails that can be arranged to look like the classroom. Extra small thumbnail sizes allow teachers to see up to 80 screens without scrolling. Teachers can now also limit the use of student USB thumb drives. www.lanschool.com

ePals will be announcing the Fall In2Books program at NECC, but schools can sign up now for the program. In2Books is a research-based, curriculum-aligned eMentoring experience that matches screened adults with students to read books from five different genres and discuss important topics about the books online letters. Students get to keep the books they read, which are selected by national children's literature experts. Grades 3-5. www.in2books.com

An interactive whiteboard is only as good as its content, so mimio offers their enhanced Studio 6.0 software. This new release lets users easily drag-and-drop Flash, video, and audio content from the web as well as PDF, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint documents. Teachers can edit and customize lesson plans and use the gallery browser and search feature to find ready-to-use content and content library. Also features an improved tool bar. The upgrade, free for existing users, will be available as a download in July 2008 for Windows. Mimio studio software works with mimio interactive hardware. www.mimio.com

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