T&L News(143) - Tech Learning

T&L News(143)

The FCC wants your opinion; Atomic Learning offers a free series on Microsoft Office 2008; Put to the Test: Joe Huber Reviews the Acer Aspire One; Fairbanks BEST (Building Educational Success Together); Raising the Stakes for Digital Literacy
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Week of: August 25, 2008

  • The FCC wants your opinion
    Schools are preparing for possible changes to the E-rate program for the 2009-2010 school year—and the FCC wants your opinion. The FCC is seeking public comment on whether costs for items such as Internet content filtering software, anti-virus software, anti-spam software, advanced firewalls, scheduling services, and telephone broadcast messaging should be discounted with the support of E-rate funding. The organization is also asking E-rate stakeholders to offer their opinions of changes in several program definitions, such as interconnected VoIP, and basic phone service.
  • Atomic Learning offers a free series on Microsoft Office 2008
    Atomic Learning will offer a free series on Microsoft Office 2008 here starting September 10th. Students will learn about Microsoft® Office Suite 2008's improved features to help manage information, organize work, and stay connected. As with all Atomic Learning technology training tutorials, the Office Suite 2008 tutorials are broken down into 1- to 3-minute movie tutorials. The free Office Suite 2008 tutorial series includes more than thirty short, show-and-tell movies that guide users through the new features in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2008.
  • Put to the Test: Joe Huber Reviews the Acer Aspire One
    Retail Price: Windows version, $399, Linux version, $379
    Description: Mini notebook Computer with Linpus Linux Lite OS
    How to use in the classroom: This mini notebook is an excellent platform for online testing. Its small footprint allows it to be used in any classroom or lab setting. I tested the Linux version, but the Windows version would also be perfect for a science lab where you could attach various probes to it. The low price also makes this an excellent tool for those classes where you just need Internet and office applications (the Linux version comes with Open Office).
  • Fairbanks BEST (Building Educational Success Together)
    Starting this fall, students in the Fairbanks (AK) North Star Borough School District have access to 90 free online courses with a program called Fairbanks BEST (Building Educational Success Together).
  • Raising the Stakes for Digital Literacy
    Honored students and educators from around the globe came together on the big island of Hawaii in August to celebrate and promote international digital literacy at the 2008 Pathways Conference. Chawanat Nakasan, 16, and Penporn Koanantakool, 20, from Thailand (pictured left) were awarded this year's World Champions for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, respectively.

The FCC wants your opinion

Schools are preparing for possible changes to the E-rate program for the 2009-2010 school year—and the FCC wants your opinion. The FCC is seeking public comment on whether costs for items such as Internet content filtering software, anti-virus software, anti-spam software, advanced firewalls, scheduling services, and telephone broadcast messaging should be discounted with the support of E-rate funding. The organization is also asking E-rate stakeholders to offer their opinions of changes in several program definitions, such as interconnected VoIP, and basic phone service.

Public comments regarding these changes to the E-rate program must be submitted to the FCC by Sept. 18. Funds for Learning offers a complete summary of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on their site: http://www.fundsforlearning.com/content/view/1148/89/

Atomic Learning offers a free series on Microsoft Office 2008

Atomic Learning will offer a free series on Microsoft Office 2008 here starting September 10th. Students will learn about Microsoft® Office Suite 2008's improved features to help manage information, organize work, and stay connected. As with all Atomic Learning technology training tutorials, the Office Suite 2008 tutorials are broken down into 1- to 3-minute movie tutorials. The free Office Suite 2008 tutorial series includes more than thirty short, show-and-tell movies that guide users through the new features in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2008.

Homework blues got you down before school even starts? Students who purchase a TI graphing calculator will receive 25 minutes of access to online math tutors at Tutor.com. When combined with Tutor.com's free 25-minute trial offer, students can receive a total of 50 minutes of online tutoring and homework help services—free.

Put to the Test: Joe Huber Reviews the Acer Aspire One

Retail Price: Windows version, $399, Linux version, $379

Description: Mini notebook Computer with Linpus Linux Lite OS

How to use in the classroom: This mini notebook is an excellent platform for online testing. Its small footprint allows it to be used in any classroom or lab setting. I tested the Linux version, but the Windows version would also be perfect for a science lab where you could attach various probes to it. The low price also makes this an excellent tool for those classes where you just need Internet and office applications (the Linux version comes with Open Office).

Pros: The 8.9-inch, screen size and 89% keyboard are very comfortable. The light weight (2.2 pounds including battery) and 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.1-inch size make this a joy to carry. It also comes with built-in Wi-Fi. The system has an SD reader slot that can take an additional SD memory card. The operation system will add this card to the existing on-board flash, increasing your "hard drive" space.

Cons: I would have like to have tested the Windows version at $399. The Linux version will not run curriculum software that comes with textbooks.

Overall Impression: I would recommend this product, but only the Windows version. Technology that cannot run the curriculum software that comes with textbooks is of little use at grades before high school and even in high school for remediation. When more textbook companies put their software online, then Linux OS will make more sense. If you are looking only for Internet and office applications, the Linux version is a good choice, but for only $20 more per unit, I am still in favor of the Windows version.

Fairbanks BEST (Building Educational Success Together)

Starting this fall, students in the Fairbanks (AK) North Star Borough School District have access to 90 free online courses with a program called Fairbanks BEST (Building Educational Success Together). Open to district residents in grades 7-12, BEST offers a flexible option for students looking for an alternative to the traditional school environment, including home-schooled-students, advanced learners, students who are behind on credits, or those needing a flexible schedule. The program is also free of charge for students up to 20 years old who have not received a high school diploma. There is a per-course charge for those older than 20 who would like to earn a high school degree. Students earn their high school diploma in a personalized program featuring one-on-one access to state-certified teachers, 24/7 student support, and a full high school curriculum including electives and advanced placement courses. In addition to the online courses offered in conjunction with consultants Advanced Academics, the BEST program will also include resources to assist parents in finding resources for their home-schooled students. Both enable students to participate in activities at their attendance school and receive a diploma from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District upon completion of graduation requirements.

Raising the Stakes for Digital Literacy

Honored students and educators from around the globe came together on the big island of Hawaii in August to celebrate and promote international digital literacy at the 2008 Pathways Conference. Chawanat Nakasan, 16, and Penporn Koanantakool, 20, from Thailand (pictured above) were awarded this year's World Champions for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, respectively.

The pair beat out more than 56,000 students from 47 countries, who participated in local, national and regional competitions from October 2007 to May 2008. Competitors were scored on both their ability to perform tasks plus the speed in which they did it. Both students were recognized at a Gala ceremony and received a grand-prize technology package worth $6,500.

The event was hosted by Certiport, a company that offers technical training and credentials designed to build a competitive global workforce. Other honorees highlighted extraordinary initiatives to train and certify students from around the world via Certiport's Internet and Computing Core Certification program (IC3), which validates basic knowledge and ability to use computer hardware, software, and the Internet productively. These included José Carlos Carvajal, who helped create Lima, Peru's MuniNet program, which sends a fleet of 25 buses outfitted with Internet-enabled computers out into the city's poorer districts to train and test students on their technical prowess. Also recognized were Deiter Estrada Sandoval from Guatemala and Wail Omar from Iraq, who are introducing training and accreditation to their countries despite substantial obstacle.

Look for their stories in upcoming issue of Tech&Learning. For information about entering your students into next year's competition, go to www.officecompetition.com.

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