T&L News(148) - Tech Learning

T&L News(148)

Picture Perfect; Product: MPC Txtbook; Interactive Math Classroom Adds Up to Success; Are Schools Really Going Green?; Creative Commons At a Glance
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Week of: September 29, 2008

  • Picture Perfect
    By Jeffrey Branzburg
    Document cameras aren't new, but teachers still rave about them. A science teacher uses her doc cam to show a delicate fossil, a social studies teacher shows a map in a book, a math teacher a dodecahedron, an art teacher a small sculpture. Today's document cameras continue to evolve light years past the dinosaur days of the overhead projector. Check out the latest features of these document cameras to see how your tech-loving teachers can find even more presentation perks.
  • Product: MPC Txtbook
    Price: $500
    Description: The MPC TXTbook is another new entrant in the netbook ultra-mobile PC product category, which is aimed at students grade K-6. It is a compact, fully functional laptop.
    How to use in schools: Weighing in at under 3 pounds, this machine would work as both an in-class and take-home computer for even the youngest grades. It would also fulfill any school district's one-to-one initiatives.
  • Interactive Math Classroom Adds Up to Success

    In a field in which women have traditionally been underrepresented, teacher Kate Beal of St. Joe's Academy, an all girls' secondary school in Baton Rouge, wanted to amp up excitement about math. By adding a computer monitoring system and tablet PCs, not only did her students get excited about the technology, but test scores improved.
  • Are Schools Really Going Green?
    CDW-G's E2IT Report found a gap between thought and action concerning energy efficiency. Even when organizations buy equipment with energy management features, they often fail to use those tools, thereby losing much of the related savings opportunity.
  • Creative Commons At a Glance
    By Judy Salpeter
    Creative Commons licensing allows students and educators to determine what rights they are willing to share when they post original images, graphics, audio, text or multimedia works online. It also makes it easier to locate work by others that can legally be incorporated into remixes or other derivative products. Here are some basics for schools that are just getting going with Creative Commons.

Picture Perfect

By Jeffrey Branzburg

Document cameras aren't new, but teachers still rave about them. A science teacher uses her doc cam to show a delicate fossil, a social studies teacher shows a map in a book, a math teacher a dodecahedron, an art teacher a small sculpture. Today's document cameras continue to evolve light years past the dinosaur days of the overhead projector. Check out the latest features of these document cameras to see how your tech-loving teachers can find even more presentation perks.

ELMO's TT-02s "Teacher's Tool" is their most popular ELMO product for the K-12 market. The "s" model sports an LED lighting source. Weighing less than six pounds, the camera easily rotates to line up precisely with a microscope eyepiece. It has a stable camera arm which does not transmit vibrations from tables or desks, and requires only one hand for easy adjustment. It has a zoom lens and auto focus capability, and can be connected to a digital projector, TV, VCR or computer (say to incorporate into a PowerPoint presentation). In addition, it has a SD memory card holder and a USB port to download images to a computer for storage. (http://www.elmousa.com/applications-education.php; $769)

Dukane's Document Camera 335 can capture and save images, and has an optional microscope adapter; the gooseneck design allows the lens head and light head to rotate 360 degrees to capture images at all angles. The auto-focus lens and 16X zoom provide clear images; the unit has USB connectivity for connection to a computer, as well as televisions and projectors. The included software gives the ability to annotate, capture, and store images onto a computer through the use of the USB cable. Joe Steidl, a 5th grade teacher from St. Charles, IL, says his 335 allows him to do "things that are not possible with an overhead," such as examine crayfish up close; he says the camera "allows for flexibility in teaching your lessons." (http://www.dukcorp.com/; $625)

The DC260 Visual Presenter from Lumens includes such features as a 1080p HDMI output for a large screen, flat panel, high definition display, an audio and video processor for full-frame video recording, built-in microphone, 3x optical zoom, SXGA output with extended gooseneck and a double lamp design to provide optimal lighting. It can record full-frame audio and video presentations and store them to an external SD memory card; information can be transferred to computer via USB2.0. The presenter can store up to up to 240 jpeg images internally and has a built-in slideshow capability. There is a "book" mode which allows teachers to toggle from a full-page view to either a top or bottom-half page view in larger print without readjusting the original. Using the "Picture-by-Picture" mode, teachers can compare and contrast live shots against previously captured images side by side. (http://www.mylumens.com/; $999)

The AVerVision CP300 Interactive Document Camera utilizes their patented 2x "AVERZOOM" technology allowing one to optically zoom in while preserving the ability to pan a document; it also has an 8x digital zoom/pan. Also patented is their laser positioning guide, allowing the easy placement and location of documents. The CP300 has split screen and picture-in-picture capability, built-in memory for 80 images storage, built-in AVerVision annotation software, and a 360 degree accessible remote control with a built-in laser pointer. Lastly, it has auto focus capability and the ability to share over a LAN. (http://www.avermedia-usa.com/presentation/product_cp300.asp; $699)

Canon's RE-455X "Visualizer" has a 12x zoom lens, twin fluorescent lamps, and can display objects or images as small as 1.2" x .9" and up to 12.1" x 9". It can be connected to a PC, giving the ability to switch between the RGB input from the computer and the image from the RE-455X for a single, presentation. It has auto focus, and includes RCA, S-video, and RS-232C outputs. (http://www.usa.canon.com/; $2,299)

A slightly different take is Toshiba's TLP-XC2500AU, a digital projector with an integrated document camera included. It can display live video of hands-on demonstrations, 3D objects, fine-print text and microscopic images. The projector is 2500 lumens, 1024x768 resolution, with a lamp life of up to 3000 hours. The document camera has 3 mega pixel resolution, manual focus, and auto/lock white balance. Just swing the document camera arm around, point to an object, and it is projected onto the screen. (http://www.toshibadirect.com; $1,559)

QOMO's QD700 Digital Processing Visual Presenter has a 22x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, and a motorized camera head for hands free operation. It also has LED side and base lamps, and can freeze the top eighth of the screen for presentation title display. It includes split screen capability, can save 7 images internally, and has ports for RGB, S-video, composite video, and RS-232 for flexible output. It comes with a wireless remote, as well as a USB port for connection to a computer. (www.qomo.com; $1,290)

SMART's Document Camera was developed to integrate with their SMART Board; it instantly incorporate detailed images into digital lessons using a SMART Board and their Notebook collaborative learning software. You can write over images, capture stills directly into Notebook software (or other applications), and capture work as images or videos to add to a Notebook file. It has auto focus and automatic brightness control, both optical and digital zoom, and a removable stage to write over documents anywhere or set up objects under the camera. The rotating head lets you adjust the camera to view an object at almost any angle or to precisely align it with a microscope eyepiece. It also has a SD memory card slot to save data onto an SD memory card. (www.smarttech.com; $849)

Product: MPC Txtbook

http://www.mpccorp.com/products/notebooks/txtbook.html
Price: $500

Description: The MPC TXTbook is another new entrant in the netbook ultra-mobile PC product category, which is aimed at students grade K-6. It is a compact, fully functional laptop.

How to use in schools: Weighing in at under 3 pounds, this machine would work as both an in-class and take-home computer for even the youngest grades. It would also fulfill any school district's one-to-one initiatives.

Pros: The chassis design is rugged and built with a clear understanding of how children will treat this product. A handle strap is attached to the clamshell, which particularly impressed our student reviewer. The small keyboard and raised keys with white lettering cater to smaller fingers. The 1.6GHz Intel processor, 1GB of DDR2 system memory, and back-lit LED display make is easy to access kid-friendly sites like pbskids.org.

Cons: The TXTbook is saddled with Windows XP Home Edition, which our student reviewer found unintuitive. Plus, many of the software-based features and functions are unnecessary for students. Primary-level students will probably do better with other software to run on top of XP.

Overall impression: The attention to detail in this netbook's design makes it a worthy contender for any K-6 classroom.

Interactive Math Classroom Adds Up to Success

In a field in which women have traditionally been underrepresented, teacher Kate Beal of St. Joe's Academy, an all girls' secondary school in Baton Rouge, wanted to amp up excitement about math. By adding a computer monitoring system and tablet PCs, not only did her students get excited about the technology, but test scores improved.

Each ToshibaTablet PC has monitoring software from DyKnow. This allows Beal to monitor, control, and share every student tablet, all from her tablet PC.

"Each student is able to watch, interact and learn from the rest of the class in real time," says Beal. "This is incredible to watch and done with almost no effort on my part."

That convenience factor is no small perk to Beal's busy schedule. She can also use the software to poll students to make sure they understand the math concepts being reviewed.

"The ability to create an interactive lesson each day is amazing," says Beal. "It is almost like a one-to-one environment for each student, because of the interaction between my tablet and their tablet, but at the same time it is cooperative learning amongst the students because they can all participate and work together too."

Beal simply uploads her lesson as a Powerpoint presentation through the interactive software. Opening the file replays second for second what Beal says in class and reenacts what occurred on each slide, stroke for stroke. Students can add notes or comments directly into the file, which can be saved for later review.

"The ability to save notes is one of the favorite features of my students," says Beal. "This also allows the absent student, or the student that didn't comprehend the material the first time, to playback the information as it was presented in class. The absent student can also log on [to Dyknow] and use the Internet to join class from any location."

Beal uses the "anonymous" capability to blindly broadcast one student's work for the entire class. This protects the privacy of the student and allows Beal to "catch" struggling students in their shining moments. Seeing their work offered as an example of success creates an instant confidence boost.

"From their own seat, and without the distraction of students moving around the classroom, I can have one student or all of my students working on their personal tablet, which in turn shows up on everybody's tablet. It incorporates all of the aspects of teaching that are effective and also enjoyable and meaningful to the students."

Adding the interactive spice of new technology to a traditional subject piques the girls' interest and shows in their test scores. In Beal's math class, keeping them connected, both mentally and technologically, equals success.

Are Schools Really Going Green?

CDW-G's E2IT Report found a gap between thought and action concerning energy efficiency. Even when organizations buy equipment with energy management features, they often fail to use those tools, thereby losing much of the related savings opportunity.

Specific findings include:

  • 1/3 of IT executives say energy efficiency is a very important consideration when selecting new equipment, often falling below operational considerations such as performance, reliability or service and support.
  • While 31% of IT executives who buy desktop equipment select ENERGY STAR 4.0 qualifying devices, 62 do not make full use of the power management tools that earn the equipment the ENERGY STAR label.
  • While 32% of IT executives choose energy-efficient, load-shedding uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), more than half of this group do not use the software incorporated in those UPS systems to monitor power demand and energy use.
  • 49% of IT executives said they simply do not know all of the things they can do to improve energy efficiency. For a copy of the complete CDW-G Energy Efficient IT Report, please visit http://www.cdwg.com/e2it.

Creative Commons At a Glance

By Judy Salpeter

Creative Commons licensing allows students and educators to determine what rights they are willing to share when they post original images, graphics, audio, text or multimedia works online. It also makes it easier to locate work by others that can legally be incorporated into remixes or other derivative products. Here are some basics for schools that are just getting going with Creative Commons.

Choosing a License

The first step in applying CC licensing to your work is to select the license that suits your preferences. The choices, described in more detail at http://creativecommons.org/, include:

Attribution [abbreviation : by] You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work—and derivative works based upon it—but only if they give credit the way you request.

Noncommercial [abbreviation : nc] You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work—and derivative works based upon it—but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works [abbreviation : nd] You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike. [abbreviation : sa] You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

These licenses can be combined in various ways. For example, an Attribution Non-Commercial license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially but the works they create must acknowledge you and be non-commercial.

In addition, there is a Public Domain Dedication that lets you free works from copyright completely, offering them to the public domain.

Applying the License

Once you have selected your license, the Creative Commons web site shows you how to include the html code with your work. This code will automatically generate the “Some Rights Reserved†button and a statement that your work is licensed under a Creative Commons license, or a “No Rights Reserved†button if you choose to dedicate your work to the public domain. The button will link back to the Commons Deed where the license terms are explained. Your license choice is expressed in three ways:

Commons Deed: A plain-language summary of the license for users of your work, complete with the relevant icons.

Legal Code: The fine print that you need to be sure the license will stand up in court.

Digital Code: A machine-readable translation of the license that helps search engines and other applications identify your work by its terms of use.

Finding CC-Licensed Materials

An increasing number of Web 2.0 tools and search engines (including Google, Yahoo! and Flickr) are making it possible to locate materials online that have Creative Commons licenses. A good jumping-off point for locating such materials is CCSearch.

Where to Learn More About Creative Commons

The Creative Commons Web site
Includes videos, FAQ, tools, tutorials and links to CC divisions including ccLearn.

Creative Commons and Open Content: What K-12 Schools Need to Know
A ten-page article from the 2008 CoSN Compendium

K12 Open Ed
A wiki and blog by Karen Fasimpaur of K12 Handhelds.

7 Things You Should Know about Creative Commons
A two-page PDF from the higher education association Educause.

Creative Commons in K-12 Education
An introduction by Wes Fryer.

Creative Commons Resources for Schools
From the National Copyright Unit of the Australian Schools Resourcing Network.

Compiled and edited by Judy Salpeter with excerpts from the Creative Commons web site, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

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