T&L News(17) - Tech Learning

T&L News(17)

Governor's Laptop Plan Gets a Cool Reception South Dakota's Governor Mike Rounds believes that equipping the state's high schoolers with their own laptop computers will improve students' test scores and better prepare them for the 21st Century. New Survey To Look at Technology Use A new effort has just launched to
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  • Governor's Laptop Plan Gets a Cool Reception
    South Dakota's Governor Mike Rounds believes that equipping the state's high schoolers with their own laptop computers will improve students' test scores and better prepare them for the 21st Century.
  • New Survey To Look at Technology Use
    A new effort has just launched to gather information that will shed light on how America's schools are planning to evolve their technology use over the next five years.
  • Federal Loan Helps Pay for New Laptops
    An Arkansas district is borrowing about $702,000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, a federal loan program that allows school districts to borrow money at a reduced or zero interest rate, to purchase new technology.
  • Teachers Adapt New Technologies for the Classroom
    Aware that their students are almost constantly plugged in or online when not in school, teachers are finding ways to use that to their advantage. Learn how.
  • FLY Pen Turns FLY Paper into a Computer
    The FLY pentop computer looks like a fat ballpoint pen. When used with electronic FLY paper, the pen can make almost anything the user draws interactive.

Governor's Laptop Plan Gets a Cool Reception

South Dakota's Governor Mike Rounds believes that equipping the state's high schoolers with their own laptop computers will improve students' test scores and better prepare them for the 21st Century. District leaders are not so sure about that. In his December budget address, the Governor proposed a $39 million, three-year program to buy laptops for high school students and asked the Legislature for $13 million in first-year funding. The plan calls for the state to pay for one-third of the laptops' cost, while the districts pay the remaining two-thirds. A number of the state's cash-strapped districts don't expect to be able to fund their part of the purchase cost and those that do have the funds are not sure they will be able to sustain the added support personnel, training and maintenance costs that they seed as central to the plan's success. Some districts would prefer any additional funding to go into the state's aid formula, allowing them to use it as they see fit. Others want more information before they commit to the program, noting that technology decisions should be driven by instructional need.

Source:Rapid City Journal

New Survey To Look at Technology Use

A new effort has just launched to gather information that will shed light on how America's schools are going to evolve in the use of technology over the next five years. The emphasis is on current and future plans for ubiquitous, "one-to-one" computing programs and the ways in which their adoption will change expectations for curriculum and content, professional development and e-learning in U.S. schools. The new online survey targets the nation's 2,500 largest school districts, which serve roughly 74% of all U.S. public school students and receive 75% of K-12 funding. The survey has sections designed specifically for superintendents, curriculum and instructional staff and district technology leaders. Researchers hope the findings will help guide policy makers and school leaders as they plan new education initiatives. Every responding school district will be recognized in both the final report and in special publicity. In addition, every responding school district will be provided a complimentary copy of the report to use for district school board planning. A special tool provided on the web site enables responding districts to see how they compare to others in their state and to national averages. Each state department of education will be provided a copy of the results for that state in order to facilitate future studies and augment studies already conducted.

Source:America’s Digital Schools

Federal Loan Helps Pay for New Laptops

Fayetteville’s three middle schools will receive an infusion of wireless laptop computers for the 2006-07 school year. The Arkansas district plans to borrow about $702,000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds to purchase the new technology. The federal loan program, established in 1997, allows school districts to borrow money at a reduced or zero interest rate. School districts can use the money to renovate and repair buildings, purchase computers and update technology, curriculum development or teacher training. The program was designed to support schools serving a concentration of low-income students. To be eligible for the loans, at least 35% of a district’s students must be eligible for the free or reduced price school lunch program. In Arkansas, the loan program is administered by the state Department of Education, which approves applications submitted by school districts. The total cost of the purchase will be about $2 million and will be paid for using a combination of district funding sources, federal funding and capital construction money. The new laptops will lower the student-to-computer ratio at the middle schools, allowing more technology integration at the classroom level. Classrooms will be equipped with multimedia projection systems and each schools will also get digital cameras, computers and video editing software for students to learn to create videos. The purchase will also include instructional software programs in math and language arts and lesson planning software for teachers.

Source:The Morning News

Teachers Adapt New Technologies for the Classroom

Aware that their students are almost constantly plugged in or online when not in school, teachers are finding ways to use that to their advantage. Allowing students to bring their MP3 players to class, for example, opens up the ability to apply teens’ music to other disciplines. A middle school teacher in Scottsdale, AZ lets his students bring in their iPods and MP3 players to demonstrate poetry devices such as rhyme and alliteration through one of their favorite songs. The teacher makes a CD and cassette player available for students who don’t have their own device. At Aire Libre Elementary in Phoenix, teachers use handheld computers to engage their students. Sixth graders in Nancy Dean’s classroom use the devices to solve math problems, write essays and take tests and play academic games. The technology enables them to go online while they sit at their desks. Dean works the technology into almost every subject she teaches. Teachers have been a little slower to adopt blogging to the classroom, in part due to worries about privacy and inappropriate use. To get around this issue, teacher Ben Goodman at Cimarron Springs Elementary sets up his classroom blog so that each student has an identification number and password so he can track who makes each comment.

Source:The Arizona Republic

FLY Pen Turns FLY Paper into a Computer

The FLY pentop computer looks like a fat ballpoint pen. When used with electronic FLY paper, the pen can make almost anything it draws interactive. The new technology gets its power from an optical scanner located in its tip that sees everything the user writes or draws on special dot-matrix FLY paper. A user can draw a Calculator, touch the handwritten numbers and function buttons to perform a calculation and then hear the answer spoken by the pen. Users can write a word in English and have it pronounced in Spanish or draw a keyboard and play it. The user controls the pen through FLYCONs - symbols composed of a capital letter surrounded by a circle, that enable the pen’s scheduler, notepad, or games mode. Drawing a checkmark next to a symbol results in a spoken reply then leads to the next menu option. The $99 pen comes with small template cards with calculator functions and settings options, a paper geography template and a set of riddles and jokes designed to appeal to kids 8 to 13. Also included are a set of earbuds, a lightweight plastic carrying case, and 35 pages of FLY Paper. The pen operates on one AAA battery, with a battery life of about four hours.

Source:The Plain Dealer

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