T&L News(153)

Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008; Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008; Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008; Put to the Test: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection; A Touch of E-Learning
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Week of: November 3, 2008

  • Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008
    Storybook Phonics (www.amered.com)
    The new Storybook Phonics I and II from AEC include 15 new lessons each, featuring cute new graphics and engaging activities for grades K-2.
    Read more T+L Highlights here.
  • Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008
    Atomic Test Assessment Feature (www.atomiclearning.com)
    Atomic Learning's Tech Skills Assessment utilizes ISTE NETS-S 2007 standards and Atomic Learning's Technology Skills Collection of Web-based training tutorials to help educators gauge each individual student's technology skill level. By providing a framework to incorporate project-based assessment to demonstrate that skills can actually be applied, Tech Skills Assessment measures comprehension, not just the ability to perform a task. This allows schools and districts to identify specific technology competency gaps and provides a robust tracking tool with a wide range of available reporting features.
    Read more T+L Highlights here.
  • Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008
    Smart Table Interactive Learning Center (www.smarttech.com)
    Using new multi-touch technology, the Smart Table lets small groups of students to select or move objects, draw, or write on the touch table screen simultaneously, and work together to find answers to preset questions. Priced at $8,000, this new technology is more one to watch evolve as SMART determines ways to bring down the price.
    Read more T+L Highlights here.
  • Put to the Test: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection
    Description: Graphic editing, audio editing, video editing, PDF creating and editing, Flash creating and editing, web page design, and editing software (13 products total).
    How to use in the classroom: With Adobe Creative Suite 4, a class could produce a full-scale radio broadcast, a TV broadcast, design a school newspaper, newsletter, or yearbook. They could produce a professional animated Web site for a school district. Any type of communication that a school or district would need could be produced with this software.
  • A Touch of E-Learning
    North Carolina beta-tests iPod touch in Chapel Hill venture
    There's a lot of anticipation in Chapel Hill, NC, where an elementary and a middle school are working with North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) to develop courses based on a kid-friendly idea—the use of nontraditional tools or, more specifically, tech tools.

Highlights from NSBA T+L in Seattle, WA, October 27-29, 2008

By Christine Weiser, Managing Editor

Although the traffic on the exhibit floor was slow, there seemed to be a steady flow of top-level school administrators between the popular sessions. Here are some highlights. Have other news to share? Email releases to Managing Editor Christine Weiser at cweiser@nbmedia.com.

COURSEWARE/CLASSROOM TOOLS

Adaptive Curriculum
The new online learning system offers more than 200 math and science Activity Objects that package educational content as single-topic, interactive segments that can be used in a variety of learning environments.

Storybook Phonics
The new Storybook Phonics I and II from AEC include 15 new lessons each, featuring cute new graphics and engaging activities for grades K-2.

Smart Table Interactive Learning Center
Using new multi-touch technology, the Smart Table lets small groups of students to select or move objects, draw, or write on the touch table screen simultaneously, and work together to find answers to preset questions. Priced at $8,000, this new technology is more one to watch evolve as SMART determines ways to bring down the price.

AfterClass
A free online community where teachers can keep kids engaged using interactive blogs, podcasts, and more.

CrossTec SchoolVue v10.0 Classroom Management
The latest's release of this classroom management program lets teachers Power On or Off all lab PCs and give individual students visual rewards to encourage effort or behavior. Teachers can use the new One Click "Request Assistance" option when tech support is needed. They can also display a real-time print indicator to identify which student is printing.

SECURITY

Total Traffic Control (www.lightspeedsystems.com and www.vericept.com)
Lightspeed Systems signed a distribution agreement with Vericept, effective October 1. Under the terms of the agreement, Lightspeed Systems handles sales, licensing, and first-level technical support of the Vericept Monitor product to current and prospective customers in the K-12 education market. Together, the products enable schools to control sensitive data and closely monitor Web activity.

TRAINING

Atomic Test Assessment Feature
Atomic Learning's Tech Skills Assessment utilizes ISTE NETS-S 2007 standards and Atomic Learning's Technology Skills Collection of Web-based training tutorials to help educators gauge each individual student's technology skill level. By providing a framework to incorporate project-based assessment to demonstrate that skills can actually be applied, Tech Skills Assessment measures comprehension, not just the ability to perform a task. This allows schools and districts to identify specific technology competency gaps and provides a robust tracking tool with a wide range of available reporting features.

FUNDING

E-rate Manager for Applicants
This new tool enables schools and libraries to complete the entire E-rate application process online.

RESEARCH

Destiny 9.0 and www.SAFARIMontage.com
The latest release of Follett's Destiny Library Manager now incorporates Video-On-Demand in lesson plans and student research projects thanks to a feature in the latest version of Follett Software's which gives students more direct access to videos on SAFARI Montage. In other Follett news, users of the Destiny Resource Management Solution now lets students and teachers manage their own usernames and passwords, as well as choose the background, colors and images that are displayed during search sessions in Destiny Quest. Other new features include expanded flexibility in narrowing searches and the ability to track consumables like workbooks and study guides through Destiny Textbook Manager.

eLibrary Digital Media
eLibrary brings together a new interface, new Web tools, more multimedia content, and more.

Free SAFARI Montage Content
SAFARI offers free content when you purchase any SAFARI Montage Content Package. This free new content includes educational video titles from video publishers, including Schlessinger Media, NASA images, and The WorldFactbook. SAFARI also added a new visual dictionary to the Montage System.

Put to the Test: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/mastercollection/

By Joe Huber

Retail price: $999 single license educational pricing.

Description: Graphic editing, audio editing, video editing, PDF creating and editing, Flash creating and editing, web page design, and editing software (13 products total).

How to use in the classroom: With Adobe Creative Suite 4, a class could produce a full-scale radio broadcast, a TV broadcast, design a school newspaper, newsletter, or yearbook. They could produce a professional animated Web site for a school district. Any type of communication that a school or district would need could be produced with this software.

Pros: This is an excellent collection of software that allows the end user to create any type of multimedia. Even though the cost of this software is rather high, the amount of power that one has with it makes it a very good value.

Cons: It took more than 2.5 hours to install all the software even on a very good computer (dual core processor 3.6 MHZ 4MB RAM), so a school would need a powerful workstation computer to run effectively. In-service training is required (as with most software).

Overall Impression: Most of the products included in this package are considered the standard in the industry. Any student learning these products will have a huge advantage both in higher education and in industry, making the software an excellent value for any school. The quality of the products produced by Adobe Creative Suite 4 is very professional and will make any administrator, staff, and students proud to have it represent the school.

A Touch of E-Learning

North Carolina beta-tests iPod touch in Chapel Hill venture

There's a lot of anticipation in Chapel Hill, NC, where an elementary and a middle school are working with North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) to develop courses based on a kid-friendly idea—the use of nontraditional tools or, more specifically, tech tools.

Culbreth Middle School has jumped into the new program with teacher training and student involvement. Principal Susan Wells, an enthusiastic proponent of the program, seeded with $30,000 (of what eventually could be as much as $300,000) via NCVPS, has delivered Apple's iPod touch to students who are part of AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination), which places academically average kids in advanced classes and gives them support to succeed in those classes and go to college.

Too much emphasis on flashy tech? The popular device measures 4.3 x 2.4 inches with a depth of 0.33 inches and weights 4.05 ounces. Characterizing the project as a national benchmark in terms of e-learning, Bryan Setser, NCVPS executive director, says, "We went to the strongest academic district. Professional development is definitely key; there is no desire to create a world-class generation of solitaire players. We're the hub and Chapel Hill the beta site. We're a course developer, using our partners. This is really no different than funding classroom resources like textbooks."

Principal Wells refers to "a multi-pronged partnership," relevant and interesting to adolescents and believes they could not access information through any learning tool in a more engaging way. "Desktops are not where we are; smart computers are it. Students are accustomed to being connected—having information at their fingertips."

All of Culbreth's staff of 80 already have an iPod touch and is working with Apple on course development. Hundreds of aps are available—quick tutorials on math, a thesaurus and dictionary, and formulas. Wells says, "We're creating very small pieces on writing and so forth, not really grade-specific, more on content. For instance, p.e. teachers may want videos for students to practice exercises."

In Culbreth's 50-minute class periods, teachers use different aps in guided breakout groups, rotating assignments. Wells says, "Students function from this mobile place; we want to marry it as one of a number of learning tools."

Setser mentions opportunities in cultural arts, sciences, and languages yet to be chosen, perhaps even Mandarin Chinese, which could be replicated to the state level. Steering teams of teachers participate in research and design. The master team in Chapel Hill, an area chosen for a strong infrastructure with wireless hot spots and technology vision, is excited. The effort is supported through blogs and discussion boards. Student feedback comes in the spring.

As her program begins, Wells will keep iPods onsite, but plans for home use are being explored.

At Chapel Hills' Mary Skroggs Elementary School, the project does not specifically target iPods, although they're not precluded. Principal Grace Repass has three teams developing modules for student access—virtual verse, literacy programs, and a fitness-for-fun health module. "We have not made final decisions about what will support our modules," she says. "We may purchase some Smart Boards...we may use iPod touches."

—Barbara Axelson

To learn more about the iPod Touch, visit http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/specs.html

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