T&L News(157) - Tech Learning

T&L News(157)

Schools Go Virtual; How concerned are IT pros about Internet safety?; Hunt Institute Discusses Education Standards; A Message to Obama on Top Education Priority from school leaders; Mark Your Calendar
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Week of: December 1, 2008

  • Schools Go Virtual
    This fall in Phoenix, Arizona, the two-day Virtual School Symposium, sponsored by Insight Schools and hosted by the North American Council for Online Learning, focused on K-12 online learning and virtual schools; attendees include policy-makers and educators from the US, Canada, and Mexico among other countries. The symposium included a panel of a former state board of education president, school district superintendent, principal, director of special education, teacher and a high-achieving student. These panelists all discussed their experience with virtual schools and they discussed the impacts and benefits of online education for public high schools.
  • How concerned are IT pros about Internet safety?
    A survey commissioned this fall by Web filtering solutions provider St. Bernard asked 200 educational IT professionals about their concerns regarding Internet use in schools participated. Here's what they found:
    —60% of IT administrators at educational institutions spend more than 10 hours per week managing internet access—this time interferes with productivity. 94% spend one hour or more.
    —29% of respondents chose their current Web filtering solution based on mainly on its flexibility.
  • Hunt Institute Discusses Education Standards
    To address the current need for clearer, more concise standards and higher achievement among American students, the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy (of Durham, N.C.) announced its plan to commission studies, to be conducted by the National Research Council of the National Academies.
  • A Message to Obama on Top Education Priority from school leaders
    A recent survey (conducted by the National School Boards Association) of over 500 school leaders shows that finding ways to assess modern learning skills should be top priority on a list of education technology initiatives for the next Administration and Congress.
  • Mark Your Calendar
    The 14th Annual Technology in Education (TechEd) International Conference & Exposition will be held on March 22-25 in Ontario, California. Last year, TechEd 2008 was well received by more than 3,200 K-20 Education attendees from 42 states. The expo will include hands-on software labs, over 250 sessions and workshops, and Educator and Technology Solutions seminars. For more information on participating, visit: http://www.techedevents.org/2009/

Schools Go Virtual

This fall in Phoenix, Arizona, the two-day Virtual School Symposium, sponsored by Insight Schools and hosted by the North American Council for Online Learning, focused on K-12 online learning and virtual schools; attendees include policy-makers and educators from the US, Canada, and Mexico among other countries. The symposium included a panel of a former state board of education president, school district superintendent, principal, director of special education, teacher and a high-achieving student. These panelists all discussed their experience with virtual schools and they discussed the impacts and benefits of online education for public high schools.

Gary Waters, former president of the Nevada State Board of Education, stated that an online school allows educators to be innovative in education practices. He also said that online learning can be cost-effective, providing an alternative to traditional practices in difficult economic situations. Mary Mertz, former director of special education in Portland public schools, added that it can be easier to uphold a high-quality teaching staff through online schooling, and that students have more opportunity to interact directly with teachers. Online schooling may also make it easier for students to be attentive, since they don't need to begin classes early in the morning as in traditional schools.

The event is archived at www.insightpanel.org. Insight Schools is a tuition-free network of online public high schools.

How concerned are IT pros about Internet safety?

A survey commissioned this fall by Web filtering solutions provider St. Bernard http://www.stbernard.com asked 200 educational IT professionals about their concerns regarding Internet use in schools participated. Here's what they found:

—60% of IT administrators at educational institutions spend more than 10 hours per week managing internet access—this time interferes with productivity. 94% spend one hour or more.

—29% of respondents chose their current Web filtering solution based on mainly on its flexibility.

The survey revealed there is high demand for various levels of Internet access (including Web sites usually blocked to prohibit unmonitored student use), presenting challenges for IT employees to meet instructor and administrator requests. Since teachers and administrators often have different network preferences, it takes more time for the IT staff to manually change entry controls depending on the specific request. To cut down on this time, schools can use Internet filtering solutions with adjustable profiles that give users access depending on their position in the school.

Hunt Institute Discusses Education Standards

To address the current need for clearer, more concise standards and higher achievement among American students, the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy (of Durham, N.C.) announced its plan to commission studies, to be conducted by the National Research Council of the National Academies.

As a result of the studies with these national experts, The NRC Report entitled "Common Standards for K-12 Education? Considering the Evidence," was produced. Some of the concluded findings from these highly respected scholars noted that state standards had too many topics, which leads to a lack of prioritization and a large number of repetitive standards between grades. An examination of state proficiency scores revealed that a student deemed proficient in one state could be placed in a remedial class, in the same subject, upon moving to another state.

Executive Director of the Institute, Dr. Judith Rizzo, argues that having a single set of high standards and expectations for American students is a necessary step toward improving student achievement. The studies showed that while standards are important, the need for strong leadership in classrooms of all grade levels is essential for student success. The study emphasized the need for a defined, standardized curriculum in order for nationwide standards to be more accurate.

For more information on the Hunt Institute studies, please visit www.hunt-institute.org. For the full NRC report, visit the NRC's full report is available from the National Academies Press at www.nap.edu/.

A Message to Obama on Top Education Priority from school leaders

A recent survey (conducted by the National School Boards Association) of over 500 school leaders shows that finding ways to assess modern learning skills should be top priority on a list of education technology initiatives for the next Administration and Congress.

  • Over 50% of the district leaders surveyed said their top education technology priority for the upcoming government administration is assessing 21st century skills.
  • 43% want support of increased professional development around educational technology.
  • 38% want an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Over 80% of educators said technology supports their ability to give students more 21st century learning opportunities.
  • 50% said their biggest challenge is funding for technology.
  • 40% said their biggest challenge is integrating technology into the classroom.
  • 64% of districts said they have delayed hardware purchases or upgrades due to the current economy.
  • 29% of districts have explored or incorporated open source technologies (positive!)
  • 20% have explored "green" IT initiatives to offset costs and save money.

School districts are addressing 21st century learning opportunities in the following ways:

  • 43% are using new assessment tools to measure 21st century skills
  • 38% are raising math, science and technology standards
  • 34% are focusing on career tech readiness programs
  • 33% are offering more Advanced Placement courses and tests.

Mark Your Calendar

The 14th Annual Technology in Education (TechEd) International Conference & Exposition will be held on March 22-25 in Ontario, California. Last year, TechEd 2008 was well received by more than 3,200 K-20 Education attendees from 42 states. The expo will include hands-on software labs, over 250 sessions and workshops, and Educator and Technology Solutions seminars. For more information on participating, visit: http://www.techedevents.org/2009/.

NComputing Gives First 'World Changer' Award to New School Model that Targets Dropouts

NComputing selected Florida-based Mavericks for its first World Changer Award, created to honor individuals and organizations that use NComputing technology to benefit society. NComputing selected Florida-based Mavericks for their innovative education model that uses student-centric, computer-based learning to reengage high school dropouts. Last year, there were over 100,000 high school dropouts in the state of Florida, and over 1.2 million students drop out of American high schools every year. Mavericks aims to help dropouts obtain high school diplomas, as well as to deliver job training and job placement assistance. The unique educational model includes flexible schedules, educational mentors, supportive and comprehensive teams of educators, and a 1:1 program. The schools are known as Mavericks High, D. Wade's Schools to reflect the support and inspiration from professional basketball player and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

CONTESTS & GRANTS

Contest: My Class Project(or)
Award: A new 3M SCP712 Projector System
Individual students and classrooms produce a video illustrating how a 3M SCP712 Projection System will transform their learning experience in the classroom taking them from "Tired to Inspired." Because teachers are encouraged to help students with this collaborative project, 3M has developed lesson plans to make it easier for teachers to incorporate this project into their everyday curriculum.
Deadline: January 15, 2009.
For more info: visit www.myclassprojector.com

Grant: Intel
Award: Cash grants
Every year, Intel honors U.S. schools that have demonstrated excellence in math and science education as Intel Schools of Distinction. Eighteen schools—three elementary, three middle and three high schools in each of two categories—math and science—will be selected as Finalists, receiving a cash grant for $2,500 from the Intel Foundation. Six winners—one elementary, one middle and one high school in each of the two categories receive $10,000 cash grants and more than $100,000 in products and services from sponsors. One of the six winning schools is chosen as the Star Innovator, and receives an additional $15,000 grant from the Intel Foundation as well as additional products and services. In order to be considered as an Intel School of Distinction, schools must develop an environment and curricula that meet or exceed benchmarks, including national mathematics and science content standards. Winning programs serve as models for schools across the country. By replicating proven programs such as these, schools everywhere can reinvigorate their own science and mathematics programs, inspiring generations of future scientists and mathematicians. For more information, visit www.intel.com

WHAT'S NEW ONLINE & SOFTWARE

Flowgram
Price: Free
Create interactive presentations by combining Web sites, photos, PowerPoint and more with your voice and notes.

Geography Central
Price: Free for members of the ePals Global Learning Community
Students can weigh in on various topics, answer daily questions, access maps, and learn about different cultures and geographic landscapes through myriad multimedia assets.

HyperStudio 5
Price: starts at $89.95
HyperStudio 5, the first new edition designed in more than a decade, updates its software to a more media-rich creative environment for presentations. The Advance Release 1.0 for Mac OS X is shipping (Windows is still in development). The company plans to add podcasting and recording and displaying live video.

Flourish
This new software helps school administrators track the progress of their special education students and connects IEP goals with state education standards. Flourish provides analysis of all IEP goal data requirements.

SchoolTool 1.0
Price: Free
A Web-based open source student information system and calendar server for primary and secondary schools.

School Improvement Network's PD 360
Price: range from $2,500.00-$33,450.00
PD 360 bridges the gap between training and classroom implementation with job-embedded follow-up, tracking, and reflection tools. PD 360 gives educators access to an online community of teaching professionals that allows interaction and collaboration either within a district or across the United States and the world.

Reading Counts!
Price: Enrollment of 50-99: $7.50 for program software, $2 for quiz access renewal fee; enrollment of 1000-4999: $6.50, $2.00; enrollment of 5000+: $5.50, $2.00
With multiple measures to report student success, SRC! engages students by allowing them to generate reading lists based on their Lexile level and personal reading interests.

Windows MovieMaker2 Tutorial Series
Price: Free
The Movie Maker 2 series is a fast favorite among many movie makers and is regularly noted by a variety of bloggers as an invaluable free resource for educators, students and home movie-makers. Utilizing Atomic Learning short, show-and-tell tutorial training style, the series guides users through getting started with Movie Maker 2.

Put to the Test: T&L Reviewer Joe Huber Test Drives VS Revo Group

http://www.revouninstaller.com/index.html

Retail Price: Free

Description: Windows utility for uninstalling programs.

How to use in the classroom: When programs are removed from computers, parts of the program are often left behind. This is true even if you use the uninstaller that comes with program or windows add/remove programs. These leftover parts can and often do come back to cause problems with the computer later on. Revo uninstall removes all of the hidden parts of the program. In addition, Revo uninstaller creates a restore point so just in case your computer does not function correctly after the program is uninstalled, you can restore it to the way it was before the program was uninstalled.

Pros: Product is free, easy to install, and removes not only the main program files but also the parts of the programs that are often left behind like registry entries. Revo does a better job of removing programs than Windows add/remove programs. The product also comes with free tech support.

Cons: None.

Overall Impression: This program will keep computers running at peak performance and reduce maintenance cost. Also, when the program is set in "hunter mode," one does not have to perform a number of restarts to uninstall a program again saving time , which in turn saves cost.

WHAT'S NEW IN AV/HARDWARE

Hitachi Home Electronics introduced the CPX4 3LCD projector. The CPX4 offers networking capability, allowing for easy maintenance and monitoring. Through a wired or wireless LAN connection, an AV/IT administrator can monitor and diagnose the condition of every projector on the network. With Hitachi's proprietary My Image functionality, AV/IT administrators can transfer still images, such as emergency alerts, from a PC to each projector on the network. When the My Image function is utilized, the images are automatically displayed on all the projectors, including ones that are not in use at the time. The CPX4 also offers wireless connectivity, making it even easier to set up a presentation. Additionally, the CPX4's Multi-Screen function allows four computer screens to be displayed simultaneously and wirelessly. The CPX4 is also enabled to display content via USB storage devices, SD cards or HDD media players, allowing for PC-less presentation. The CPX4 also enables easy setup with its Quick Start function, automatic vertical keystone correction, and resolution setting (allowing users to select the most appropriate screen ratio).

Marshal and 8e6 Technologies announced their agreement to merge and form a new company, Marshal8e6. The combination creates an independent software company capable of securing all forms of Internet-based communication streams—including internal corporate emails, Internet-based email services, Web sites and Instant Messaging. With Marshal8e6's Internet and email filtering solutions, schools can proactively enforce Internet usage policies, comply with requirements, and improve network performance while protecting computers from inbound malware. Marshal8e6 offers the same security management protection for internal inbox-to-inbox emails as it does for external emails, and the same Web filtering capabilities for mobile users as it does for desktop users.

SMART Technologies announces the third generation SMART Board 600i interactive whiteboard system. The new product line offers two screen formats - widescreen (16:10 aspect ratio) and standard (4:3 aspect ratio). Each model in the improved 600i line combines the SMART Board 600 series interactive whiteboard and one of two new boom-mounted, short-throw projectors, both of which offer longer bulb life and better image quality than previous generations. The 4:3 model integrates a UF55 projector, and the 16:10 integrates a UF55w. The widescreen model increases active whiteboarding space by 20 percent over the standard. Measuring 87" (221 cm) on the diagonal, the 16:10 makes it compatible with today's wide-format computer resolutions and content. Any SMART Board 680, 660, 580 and 560 interactive whiteboard can be retrofitted with a UF55, and the 685 model can be retrofitted with a UF55w. The new 600i system builds on the success of the two previous 600i generations. Network functionality has been added so the system can now be remotely diagnosed and managed, saving users time and reducing costs. It offers a bright, crisp display with true color representation, making all video or still images clearly visible, even from the back of the room. The redesigned projector and boom reduce shadows and glare compared to typical ceiling- or table-mounted projectors, better engaging students and meeting room participants while limiting the amount of light cast toward the teacher or presenter. The extended control panel enables users to plug in peripheral devices such as document cameras, DVD players, laptops, VCRs and other audiovisual equipment. The panel also provides walk-up-and-use control from a single source. Total cost of ownership is lower with a projector bulb that lasts 3,000 hours in standard mode and 4,000 hours in economy mode, an improvement of 50 percent and 33 percent, respectively, over the previous generation's lamp.

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