- High School Students to get Laptops
If all goes as planned, Gainesville (GA) City Schoolsâ€™ high school students will each receive a laptop computer for the 2006-07 school year. Middle schools students will receive computers the following year.
- Alabama Students Get ACCESS
ACCESS, a $3.4 million statewide pilot program, will allow schools to host interactive distance learning labs and Internet-delivered courses using a combination of multipoint videoconferencing equipment, internet access and individual student tablet laptops.
- High Tech High Going Strong
High Tech High Schoolâ€™s strategy of infusing technology throughout an interdisciplinary curriculum is paying off. Every student in the schoolâ€™s three graduating classes has gone on to college.
- Power to British Pupils
Whether it's used to teach special needs children to express themselves or for demonstrating accelerated learning, presentation software is helping students in the U.K.. But can you have too much of a good thing? Get answers here.
- Do You Know Where Your Child Is?
Among the many gadgets showcased at the annual Consumer Electronics Show was a GPS tracking phone, designed to appeal to pre-teens, that can be worn like a wristwatch.
High School Students to get Laptops
Georgiaâ€™s Gainesville City School System has begun the process that will lead to the distribution of laptop computers to all its high school students for the 2006-07 school year. Middle schools students will receive computers the following year. A promotional brochure states that the school system has the responsibility "to prepare students to live, learn and work successfully in society" and that "labor experts predict that technical skills are becoming more important than ever to our work force." To help finance the program, the school system will require each family receiving a laptop to enter into a lease-purchase agreement with the city. Parents will be expected to pay half of the monthly lease costs. Parents opting for a two-year lease-purchase agreement will pay at least half of the $78.96 leasing fee per month, while those choosing a four-year lease will pay at least half of $39.48 per month. At the end of the lease, families can buy the laptop for $1 or pay $50 and get the computer refurbished to its original state. Families that qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program can apply to the Gainesville City Schools Foundation for up to $20 of assistance per month. The systemâ€™s timeline calls for setting up a Laptop and Wireless Committee and publishing an informational brochure and Web site in January, with school leaders promoting the idea to PTAs, school improvement councils, local businesses and the community in February. Financial aid decisions will be made in mid-July and the laptops distributed in August, allowing students to become familiar with the technology before school opens.
Source:The Gainesville Times
Alabama Students Get ACCESS
Starting this spring, distance learning will expand the options available to students at Alma Bryant High School in Bayou La Batre, AL. Bryant is one of 24 Alabama schools participating in ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide), a $3.4 million statewide pilot program. Pilot sites, selected through a competitive grant process, will receive essential equipment and services to host interactive distance learning labs and Internet-delivered courses. Twelve pilot high school lab sites are funded by the state, and the state secured an Appalachian Regional Commission federal grant to fund an additional 12 sites, which include community partnerships. Pilot sites will use multipoint videoconferencing equipment combined with individual student tablet laptops. This technology will be blended with synchronous (real-time) instruction from an Alabama certified E-teacher who will teach the students who are in his/her physical classroom, as well as instruct students virtually at remote sites. Other pilot sites will use Internet-delivered asynchronous courses with Alabama certified E-teachers as instructors. All remote sites will have a facilitator. The E-teachers will pilot the 2006 spring semester delivery, further structure guidelines for the initiative, and help develop the statewide blended course model during the summer of 2006. By summer 2006, the state funding for ACCESS will include increased connectivity for approximately 50% of all high schools, connect the existing 113 interactive videoconferencing labs scattered across the state, enable these IVC labs to communicate statewide, and increase the variety and quantity of distance learning online courses. Eventually the Alabama Department of Education hopes that ACCESS will allow students throughout the state to take unique electives and advanced courses offered elsewhere in Alabama or worldwide.
High Tech High Going Strong
San Diegoâ€™s High Tech High School is about to go national. Founder Larry Rosenstock plans to open more schools in California and expand into Texas. He has formed a charter-management organization to control the design of future schools. He brings a successful track record to the table. High Tech is in the top 10% of high schools in the California academic improvement index. Higher percentages of students of all ethnic groups at the school passed the state's graduation tests in English and math than in the state as a whole. And every student in the schoolâ€™s three graduating classes has gone on to college, with 80% attending four-year schools. More than half of these students are the first in their family to attend college. At High Tech, technology is not a separate object of study, but the underpinning of all learning. Students work on networked laptops and maintain digital portfolios. Students take responsibility for their learning and are engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary projects and internships. Typical of the type of work students do, the junior biotechnology class is compiling a book and DVD on the history and changing ecology of the bay. Each group of six students divide up the responsibility for interviewing experts, conducting research, developing a computer design, creating video, and devising and monitoring a production timeline. Teachers make sure that the groups include students of different abilities, encourage students to use as many resources as they can find to flesh out their projects and to pursue aspects of the topic that are of particular interest to them. Students say that studying a topic in depth is where the real learning takes place.
Source:The Philadelphia Inquirer
Power to British Pupils
Used creatively, PowerPoint can be a powerful classroom tool. By incorporating sound clips, video and animations and adding hyperlinks to web sites and other slides, teachers can create interactive lessons that engage students and differentiate instruction. A teacher of special needs students creates teaching tools that address the complex individual needs of his students. Lessons vary from simple cause and effect exercises, in which students are rewarded with short samples of their favorite music when they touch pictures on an interactive whiteboard, to a more complex exercise designed to help students learn how to use a mouse. A teacher of gifted and talented students introduces students to new books by layering features on each other over the course of a week, building up to a big discussion about the book. Using pictures and sounds in the presentation, she introduces the characters of a new book through pictures associated with them. She then asks students about other books they know well which they can use to develop a similar presentation. Older students are presented with a rubric that details exactly what the finished presentation must contain, and what points will be awarded for each area. Once the presentations are complete, students work in groups of two to grade each other's work, using PowerPoint's notes function to add comments. In addition to listing three good points about the presentation, students must suggest a way to improve the presentation and increase the final grade. Getting students involved in making their own presentations is a good way of checking on whether they have really incorporated concepts presented into their own skill set. The challenge is devising assignments that encourage children to create presentations that demonstrate their understanding of a concept as opposed to their ability to manipulate text effects, backgrounds and various slide effects.
Do You Know Where Your Child Is?
Among the many gadgets showcased at the annual Consumer Electronics Show was a GPS tracking phone that can be worn like a wristwatch. The ChitterChatter phone is designed to appeal to pre-teens, but the manufacturer points out that it can also be used by families with seniors or members with special medical needs to stay connected and in contact with each other. The ChitterChatter Phone is the worldâ€™s smallest GSM / Enhanced Location-Based-Services (LBS) Locator Phone. In addition to LBS, the phone features a speaker function for ease of use. The Track Me features lets children send the GPS address of their location to their parents cell phones by merely pushing a button. Parents can send a SMS message to the childâ€™s phone and receive the address of the childâ€™s location. Speed dial keys make it easy for children to contact their â€œMom,â€ â€œDad,â€ â€œHome,â€ or â€œ911.â€ Parents can control who can call the phone and whom their child can call, using seven parent-programmed Address Book numbers. The phone offers two hours of talk time and up to 100 hours of standby time. The ChitterChatter Phone costs less than $50.
Source:Personal Tech Pipeline