T&L News(158)

Week of: December 8, 2008

  • Cathleen Norris and Elliot Soloway Interview
    Together Cathleen and Elliot have authored and published over 100 different research papers on a variety of different learning technologies through the professional organization the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). They are also founders, partners and collaborators of the handheld software company, GoKnow.
  • Put to the Test: T&L Rreviewer Test Drives Mimio Studio 6 software
    Retail Price: $944.80 sale price for bundle.
    Description: Interactive whiteboard software.
    How to use in the classroom: When paired with mimio Interactive and a projector, Studio 6 allows users to present lessons and access ready-to-use content. With mimio Ink Capture, Studio digitally captures dry-erase marker notes and drawings. On its own, Studio helps you create compelling, interactive lessons in mimio Notebook pages.
  • Math Study Update
    This past October in Kentucky marked the second year of a 2-year research study known as the Supported Math Accessibility Reading Tool (SMART) project. The project, a collaboration of the University of Kentucky with other partners, hopes to determine whether students with disabilities can benefit from a combination of technologies to learn math at higher-grade levels.
  • Whiteboards address individual student needs
    Studies have shown that the use of interactive whiteboards and other AV technology helps students of all ability levels achieve success. Promethean, known for their Activclassroom technology that includes the Activboard+2 with lesson development software and a complete sound system, shared the following examples of how AV tech can help students of all ability levels:
  • School cell phone ban lifted in Des Moines
    An article in the Des Moines Register on October 20 announced that the cell phone ban imposed upon schools in Iowa less than two years ago would be lifted. In the cities of Waukee, Marshalltown and Ackley, among others, students are now allowed to use cell phones during lunch and between classes in some schools.
  • Students using text-to-speech for reading math equations and instructions improved their algebra and pre-algebra skills.
  • Students who used digital textbooks learned more math than students who used printed versions; as the math became more complex, the students who used digital textbooks performed better than those using print textbooks.
  • Students liked the speech and highlighting features, and said it gave them a feeling of independence since it eliminated the need for teachers to read the equations aloud.
  • Students found it was valuable to have a tool that speaks math formula aloud.

To read more about the study and follow along in its second year, visit the University of Kentucky's web site for more details.

Whiteboards address individual student needs

Studies have shown that the use of interactive whiteboards and other AV technology helps students of all ability levels achieve success. Promethean, known for their Activclassroom technology that includes the Activboard+2 with lesson development software and a complete sound system, shared the following examples of how AV tech can help students of all ability levels:

Children ages 6-13 in the UK's Lambeth Academy and China connected through Promethean's technology to participate in a live Mandarin and English lesson. Through the internet, the Mandarin students were able to see and hear the English students and help them improve their Mandarin language pronunciation, and vice-versa. Ennelyn Schmidt, Director of Specialism Modern Foreign Languages at Lambeth Academy, said it was interesting not only to see the two groups of students communicating, but also to see them using the same interactive whiteboard software and "writing simultaneously on the same page." To see footage from the event, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8cnzHVsDXY.

Brandon Miller, a 4th grader at Erieview Elementary School in Avon Lake, OH, uses the Activboard+2 to participate in his classes from his bed at the Cleveland Clinic. Brandon needs dialysis three school days a week due to 2 prior failed kidney transplants, and is able to connect to his classroom through a laptop, internet hookup and webcam. His teacher Laura Smith had heard about a similar case in England, where a student who couldn't attend class participated using the same technology. Smith set up the Activboard+2 whiteboard in her classroom, and connects it to Brandon's laptop through a weblink. To read more about this story, visit: http://www.wkyc.com/.

Celest McCaskey, a 4th grader with leukemia from Reno, NV, is able to connect with her classroom from home. Blood draws and chemotherapy take up much of her daily routine, and her weakened immune system prevents her from attending school. Her teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School, Brian Crosby, was determined to include Celest in his classroom. Crosby is an Activclassroom instructor, and used the line along with the free videoconferencing product Skype to help Celest connect with her classmates. With the help of her community, Celest got a computer from Renown Medical Center, internet connection from the group Children in Transition and DSL, donated by AT&T. Celest says her ability to participate in class helps combat boredom, and her teacher adds that "this project is not only helping Celest," but the rest of his class as well. To view a short clip of her story, visit: http://www.sensiblecity.com/, or read the news story at: http://www.ktvn.com/.

To find out more about how Activboard+2 and the rest of the Activclassroom product line is being used in schools, please visit: http://www.prometheanworld.com/.

School cell phone ban lifted in Des Moines

An article in the Des Moines Register on October 20 announced that the cell phone ban imposed upon schools in Iowa less than two years ago would be lifted. In the cities of Waukee, Marshalltown and Ackley, among others, students are now allowed to use cell phones during lunch and between classes in some schools.

Previously, cell phones were prohibited from being seen or heard in effort to prevent students from sending text messages during class or cheating on tests. Waukee Superintendent Dave Wilkerson explained that the ban was lifted because it was creating a very different world from what students experience outside of school.

In a national survey conducted this fall by CTIA- The Wireless Association, it was reported that "four out of five teens carry cell phones or other wireless devices" and a study by the Nielsen Co. shows that almost half of all children get cell phones before reaching their teens. Schools in China already use cell phones as learning tools, and researchers predict the United States isn't far behind. As cell phone technology continues to improve, students could utilize cell phones' capacities for photography, Internet research and text messages as part of the classroom curriculum. Lifting the ban also resolves issues such as parents' complaints that they were unable to reach their children during the school day, and teachers growing tired of enforcing the ban outside of classroom hours. Waukee school officials still don't know how lifting the cell phone ban will impact student discipline, but they remain optimistic on cell phones' capacities as learning tools.

Sites We Like

The Bluekids.org division of the Children's Health Education Center (CHEC) launched its new microsite, HealthyKidsLearnmore.com. The site explains how Bluekids.org's e-learning programs can help kids develop healthy habits through web-based learning. These programs were introduced in 2006 as a response to the increasing amount of health-related problems among children, such as obesity and diabetes. The programs offer interactive lessons on nutrition and bullying prevention, incorporating games and activities to help children be more engaged in these issues. On the HealthyKidsLearnmore site, visitors can find out more about the programs and engage in free trials. The site also offers video testimonials from teachers and medical experts on how the effectiveness of the e-learning programs and the importance of health education in schools. Currently, many school districts in Wisconsin and nearby states use the e-learning programs. CHEC aims to provide schools with useful health education programs that can be added to the existing classroom curriculum, and its e-learning programs focus on instilling lifelong healthy habits at a young age.

In November, CollegeClickTV.com announced their plan to introduce the college experience to prospective students, in effort to help high school students and their parents become more informed before making their college decisions. The Web site has access to several hundred schools, and thousands of student, local merchant, faculty staff interviews as well as unscripted peer video reviews. CollegeClickTV's partnership with U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and CliffsNotes will allow the Web site to add more content and attract more viewers. CollegeClickTV has the largest online video library of college reviews, with over 30,000 reviews from more than 200 American colleges and universities. The partnering companies already feature extensive resources for college-bound students, and CollegeClickTV will be an invaluable addition through its entertaining content and social networking opportunities. On the U.S. News & World Report site, students and parents can access the videos through the section "powered by CollegeClickTV.com." CliffsNotes and The Princeton Review will develop a section for videos on their websites to feature CollegeClickTV videos, and on the CollegeClickTV site, visitors can click the "Test Prep" button to be brought to the Princeton Review's website. The videos are a great resource for students and parents, giving them a "view" of college before even visiting.

A New Deal For America's Schools?

A major part of President-elect Obama's plan for America announced in his Youtube address on Saturday included his promise to "launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen."

"We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools," he said.
Watch the video in its entirety here:

E-Rate funds go unused

Recent analysis from the organization Funds for Learning claims that more than 25 percent of committed E-Rate funds are unutilized each year, which amounts to tens of millions of dollars that goes wasted. There are several factors contributing to the under-utilization of E-rate funding, according to the compliance firm, including the length of the application review, price reductions by service providers, overestimation of need by schools, and generally a lack of understanding of E-rate program rules and deadlines. To read the full report, click here or go to fundsforlearning.com.

What's New Online

Knowledge Community (www.intel.com/pressroom)
Price: Free
Knowledge Community creates a secure school online community for students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Spanish I A (http://www.amered.com)
This new courseware is designed to help students understand Spanish through study guides, practice activities, and interactive games.

iKnow! (http://www.iknow.co.jp)
iKnow! makes it possible to create learning modules in 188 languages for study within the community-powered suite of learning applications.

Typing Adventure (www.typingadventure.com)
Price: Free
Typing Adventure uses exciting interactive games and mind-challenging puzzles to help kids and adults improve their typing skills.

The Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education recently launched a new Web site that contains a variety of free, high-quality science tools and resources for 4th-6th grade students. Siemens Science Day provides standards-based videos, tools, and hands-on activities for earth, life, and physical science that educators need to turn into aspiring scientists. Each activity on the Web site includes complete how-to information, step-by-step directions for in-class use, materials lists, at-home extensions that promote learning beyond the classroom, and related video clips.

Educators visiting Siemens Science Day also are encouraged to enter the Ultimate Cool School Science Day Sweepstakes. The winning teacher will win a spellbinding assembly for his/her school that is not only fun and interactive, but also underscores the importance of science literacy and the need for science resources in schools. Discovery Networks will present the assembly, which will consist of videos, mind benders and interactive demonstrations. Entries will be accepted through March 2, 2009. The mentors of the first 100 teams to register and ultimately complete a project for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will receive an award-winning Planet Earth series DVD set. Submissions from middle school students will be accepted through March 15, 2009. The initiative will expand to elementary schools in 2009 and to high schools in 2010. Visit the Siemens Science Day Web site at www.siemensscienceday.com and the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge at www.wecanchange.com.

EdTech Business Forum Picks Most Innovative Successful Companies

from SIIA.net

Innovation and growth of new education technologies, particularly those represented during the acclaimed Innovation Incubator presentations, played a pivotal role in the 8th annual Ed Tech Business Forum, sponsored by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) last week in New York City.

SIIA's recently-selected 2008 Innovation Incubator participants represent pre-revenue companies, non-profit groups, R&D agencies, and academic institutions, and were introduced during the recent conference.

SIIA continued the celebration of the Innovation Incubator firms during a special awards ceremony held at the conclusion of the Ed Tech Business Forum:

The "Most Innovative Education Product or Service" award was given to GoWeb3D Experiences by VRWorkplace, Inc.

The "Most Likely to Succeed in the Education Market" award was given to You've Been Sentenced! by McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds, LLC.

Focusing on how critical innovation is to the future of the education industry, the SIIA Education Division narrowed the list of applicants to ten participants and two finalists:

  • Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools by Carnegie Mellon University
  • GoWeb3D Experiences by VRWorkplace, Inc.
  • Inetoo by L Point Solutions, Inc.
  • Lexcycle Stanza by Lexcycle
  • Online Student Rewards and Recognition Program by uBoost
  • Physics Geeks Game by Columbia University/National Science Digital Library
  • PreView by Intagrade
  • Science-Technology Curriculum Teacher Training by U.S. Satellite Laboratory, Inc.
  • The HELP Program by Digital Directions International
  • You've Been Sentenced! By McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds, LLC
  • CAST Universal Design for Learning Solutions by CAST Research (Finalist)
  • gWhiz Mobile by gWhiz (Finalist)

For more information, go to www.siia.net.

U.S. students improve but still lag behind Asian peers in math

Students from Asian countries were top performers in math and science at both the fourth and eighth grade levels, according to the most recent reports of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), released by the study's directors Michael O. Martin and Ina V.S. Mullis of Boston College.

According to the New York Times, American fourth- and eighth-grade students made solid achievement gains in math in recent years and in two states showed spectacular progress but science scores remained flat.

The full report is here: http://nces.ed.gov/timss/