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Campuses Take To PodcastingAs podcasting grows in popularity, students on many college campuses can download podcasts of regular classroom lectures, listen to recordings of small study groups or document their own fieldwork experiences. Rural Communities Get Distance Learning GrantA grant from the U.S. Department
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  • Campuses Take To Podcasting
    As podcasting grows in popularity, students on many college campuses can download podcasts of regular classroom lectures, listen to recordings of small study groups or document their own fieldwork experiences.
  • Rural Communities Get Distance Learning Grant
    A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program will bring interactive videoconferencing to 2,000 students and approximately 17,500 area residents in rural New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • MN School District Goes Thin
    Hoping to save time and money, the Winona Area (MN) Public Schools will begin testing a thin client computing solution in the new year. Read about their plans.
  • Iowa Learning Online
    Iowa Learning Online is helping small rural districts expand their high school offerings, delivering rigorous, upper-level math, science and foreign language instruction to 563 students statewide.
  • Tempe Launches Citywide Wi-Fi Network
    Tempe, AZ is about to become the first city of its size offering a citywide wireless Internet network. Residents visiting one of the city’s retail districts can even get two hours of free service daily.

Campuses Take To Podcasting

Teachers wondering how they might use podcasting in the classroom may find some inspiration in what is happening on college campuses. A psychology professor at the University of Connecticut is recording small group study sessions and making them available to students to use in reviewing course content. The professor has recorded more than a dozen weekly study sessions. Students can download the podcasts to their own MP3 players or listen to the study sessions on computers. Students like the portability of the podcasts and the fact that they can stop them to take notes or to review a difficult idea. Duke University distributed free iPods to all 1.600 first-year students in 2004, but for the current academic year has modified the program to provide free iPods only to undergraduates who enrolled in a course that required the device. As professors became comfortable with the technology, its use has expanded beyond foreign languages and computer science to engineering, dance, medical physics, biomedical engineering and math. Duke professors are using iPods to distribute course content, to record classroom and fieldwork audio data and as a study support tool. This fall, Purdue University launched BoilerCast, podcasts of classroom lectures from some 75 courses. Stanford University offers a wide variety of podcasts that can be downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. The Stanford effort includes lectures, speeches interviews, music and sports, as well as curriculum materials created by professors for specific classes.

Source:Hartford Courant

Rural Communities Get Distance Learning Grant

Distance learning is coming top the Exeter Region Cooperative School District. A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program will be used to equip two rural New Hampshire schools, nine rural Vermont schools and three New Hampshire hub sites with videoconferencing systems. The network will use the Internet to deliver educational opportunities to students, teachers and community members, serving 2,000 students and approximately 17,500 area residents. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program is designed to help meet the educational and health-care needs of rural America through the use of advanced telecommunications technologies. The schools served under this grant are geographically isolated and those in the northernmost section of Vermont can face treacherous travel conditions for as much as eight months of the year. All participating schools will receive interactive videoconferencing equipment and training as part of the grant. Once the network is operational, schools will be able to share resources and collaborate with other educators and content experts anywhere in the world. The system will also enable virtual field trips, allowing students in New Hampshire and Vermont to visit places like the Buffalo Zoo where they will talk with biologists who work with live animals or to collaborate with NASA scientists as they prepare for their next mission. The network will also be used to expand vocational and technical opportunities for students and to provide continuing education for teachers and community members. These are resources that are not readily available to rural communities that typically lack the tax base to support such advanced technology applications.

Source:The Exeter News

MN School District Goes Thin

The Winona Area (MN) Public School district is making plans for a pilot of a “thin client†computer solution. Thin client solutions move the bulk of processing to a server, placing as few resources on the desktop PC as possible. The district will be testing 16 “thin client†workstations at Winona Area Learning Center. Since the processing is done on a centralized server, thin client solutions allow even older PCs to run more advanced software applications without resorting to costly upgrades and new operating systems. And since thin clients typically do not have hard drives or other external media sources, students can’t change the desktop image or load software that could introduce viruses and other problems to the network. Time spent maintaining the desktops is greatly reduced and centralized management allows for orderly deployment of the most current versions of licensed software. The district estimates that it will cost $5,000 to $8,000 to purchase an adequate server for 30 workstations versus $25,000 to $30,000 to replace 30 standard desktop computers. Students are assigned a unique log in and can access their own personalized desktop from any computer in the school or at home. The district will use Linux, a free “open source†operating system, to run its thin client system.

Source:Winona Daily News

Iowa Learning Online

Iowa Learning Online is helping students throughout the state access rigorous, upper-level math, science and foreign language instruction. At the same time, it is helping to keep many small, rural districts viable by providing resources they alone cannot offer. The two-year old program serves 563 students, up from 264 in its first year, in 14 courses. It was developed in response to district leaders’ concerns about their inability to offer upper-level math and science classes and a wide selection of foreign language classes because of either a lack of qualified teachers or the cost of offering such classes to limited numbers of students. The program works with school districts, area education agencies and postsecondary institutions, delivering online classes that are taught over the Iowa Communications Network, a statewide fiber optics network that enables uses to communicate via high quality, full-motion video; high-speed Internet connections; and telephones. Locally, students are supported by a student coach, who works closely with students on a daily basis and facilitates communication with the online teacher, parents and other district officials. Currently, the program is supported by a federal grant, keepings costs to the schools minimal. When the grant expires, districts will pay $250 per student.

Source:The Des Moines Register

Tempe Launches Citywide Wi-Fi Network

Tempe, AZ is about to become the first city of its size offering a citywide wireless Internet network. A number of municipalities are planning Wi-Fi networks, seeing ubiquitous Internet access as a powerful economic development tool. Philadelphia is designing a citywide high-speed system, much like Tempe’s but on a much larger scale. New Orleans is developing a free municipal network, though it will be limited in speed. Tempe’s network will only be strong enough to be picked up outside or through one wall. Users who want service throughout a home or business will need to install a box that serves as a signal booster and router. The mesh network will operate using roughly 400 antenna boxes mounted on light poles throughout the city. Speeds will vary depending on the number of users logged into the same access point. The network developer plans to sell service to outdoor users for $3.95 per hour or $29.95 per month. Resellers have not announced pricing for home or business services, but it is expected to be less expensive than cable or DSL. Residents will also be able to take advantage of two hours of free access each day in the city’s Mill Avenue retail district and on the Arizona State campus. The city will receive free use of the network to transmit data to and from city offices and vehicles in exchange for granting the developer access to its light poles.

Source:Government Enterprise

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