- If You Build It, Will They Come?
Phoenix Unionâ€™s new Cyber High School is a virtual school with a twist. Students will come to the $1.2 million building for their virtual classes, allowing them to take advantage of its cutting edge technology without having to own their own computer.
- UK Committed to School Technology
Despite facing questions and problems similar to those that American schools struggle with, the British government remains committed to its vision of technology as a primary tool for school reform. Learn more. Also read what Terry Freedman, our blogger from the UK, has to say.
- Middle Schools Students Get Real-World Lab
Students at CAâ€™s Maywood Middle School are getting the chance to work on real-world problems in collaborative teams, thanks to a new, state-of-the-art Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) Lab.
- District Pilots Online Tutoring.
The Greater Johnstown School District is piloting the use of an online tutoring service that may eventually be available to students throughout Pennsylvania. Through January 27, Johnstown students can access tutoring sessions through the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site.
- Working on Stardust
Using home computers and a virtual microscope, volunteers will help search more than 1.6 million individual fields of view, looking for the particles of interstellar dust that the Stardust spacecraft collected on its seven-year journey.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
Phoenix Union's new Cyber High School opened its doors in mid-January to 30 students, a number well below its 130-student capacity. District officials arenâ€™t worried, since the new schoolâ€™s high-tech approach is sure to appeal to todayâ€™s tech-savvy students. Itâ€™s just a matter of getting the word out. Following $1.2 million in renovations, Cyber High School features studio classrooms, with powerful computers at every desk and a team of experience teachers well versed in technology. Cyber High is a virtual high school, with class work delivered online, but unlike most virtual schools, students will be required to be physically present, enabling them to take advantage of the schoolâ€™s array of hardware, software and peripherals, without needing to have their own computers. Classes in English, social studies, math and science will be delivered via computer, with students taking two classes at a time, in either morning or afternoon sessions. Semesters are six weeks long instead of the traditional 18 weeks. The flexible schedule will allow students who need to work or have other schedule conflicts to attend and keep up with class work. The district is using newspaper ads and mailings to attract students, but knows that word-of-mouth will be its most powerful tool. Cyber High is distinguished not only by its technology but also by its size. The districtâ€™s next smallest high school serves 1,300 students. Cyber High is the first of three new small schools that the Phoenix Union High School district has planned, with a bioscience school and a school for students interested in public safety still to come.
Source:The Arizona Republic
UK Committed to School Technology
Despite facing questions and problems similar to those that American schools struggle with, the British government remains committed to its vision of technology as a primary tool for school reform. The UK Department for Education and Skills (DfES) recently published a white paper, "Higher Standards, Better Schools for All — More Choice for Parents and Pupils," that cites instructional technology as the way to achieve two of its major goals, providing lessons tailored to individual pupils' needs and involving parents more closely in choosing and running schools. To support these aims the government committed Â£125 million in new funding for the purchase of educational software over the next two years, the equivalent of $221 million. DfES also reports that between 1998 and 2004 some Â£1.8 billion ($3.2 billion) in grant funding was provided to schools in England to help them to develop their ICT programs and provide ICT teacher training. As a result there is now one computer for every 13 pupils in primary schools and one for every 8 pupils at secondary level. Virtually every secondary and 86% of primary schools are connected to the Internet. In addition, the governmentâ€™s new Â£2.1 billion ($3.7 billion) â€œBuilding Schools for the Futureâ€ program is meant to assure that every child will be educated in a 21st Century environment within 15 years. Schools will be rebuilt, remodeled or upgraded to provide high quality facilities and integrated information technology to help deliver personalized learning tailored to the needs, interests and aptitudes of every child.
Also read what Terry Freedman, our blogger from the UK , has to say. http://www.techlearning.com/blog
Middle Schools Students Get Real-World Lab
Students at CAâ€™s Maywood Middle School are getting the chance to work on real-world problems in much the way they will be expected to once they enter the work force. The school has a new Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) Lab equipped with cutting edge technology that will allow students to pursue a multifaceted interdisciplinary, service-learning curriculum integrated with advanced technical applications in the disciplines of architecture, animation, computer aided design (CAD), 3D design engineering, digital imagery, electrical design, global positioning systems (GPS), geographical information systems (GIS), image analysis, visualization, office automation, and web and database development. Science students, working in teams under the guidance of their teacher, who is also the schoolâ€™s EAST facilitator, will work on projects that require them to plan, manage a project timeline, collaborate, problem solve and take personal responsibility for their role in bringing the project to a successful end. The lab is part of a $202,800 Enhancing Education Through Technology grant that is also providing funds for each teacher to receive 30 days of specialized professional training. The Corning Union Elementary School District, located in northern California, is providing Maywood Middle with these tools of the future to help develop learners equipped for the future.
Source:Red Bluff Daily News
District Pilots Online Tutoring.
The Greater Johnstown School District is piloting the use of an online tutoring service that may eventually be available to students throughout Pennsylvania. Through January 27, middle and high school students will be able to access live online tutoring sessions through the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site. Tutoring is available from 2 to 11 p.m. To encourage use, teachers will give students extra credit if they use the Web site to complete homework assignments. Tutors will not answer assigned problems, but will guide students through the process of finding an answer, reviewing instruction and strategies that students may have missed or forgotten. Students sign on, select their grade level and the subject they want to study and are connected to a live tutor in the virtual classroom. Using a technology much like instant messaging, tutors and students can type messages to each other and work together on a shared interactive chalkboard. Everything that happens in the virtual classroom is recorded and students can print out the information from their session. Tutors are certified teachers, university professors, graduate students, students at accredited colleges and professionals who are experts in their fields. All have been trained and certified by the commercial vendor supplying the tutoring service. Since the Department of Education is evaluating the program for use by all Pennsylvania students, Johnstown users are encouraged to complete a brief survey after they have completed a tutoring session.
Source:The Tribune Democrat
Working on Stardust
When the sample return capsule from NASAâ€™s Stardust spacecraft was successfully recovered last week, it contained two sets of samples: particles from comet Wild 2â€™s coma on one side of the aerogel collector, and interstellar dust on the other. Though Stardustâ€™s journey lasted almost seven years, the work of unraveling the mystery of the interstellar dust the craft collected is just beginning. Scientists know that there should be about 45 interstellar dust impacts in the aerogel of the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC). These impacts can only be found using a high-magnification microscope with a field of view smaller than a grain of salt. More than 1.6 million individual fields of view will have to be searched to find the interstellar dust grains. To speed the work along, scientists have decided to enlist the help of volunteers. Interested parties will have to pass a test to qualify for participation. If selected, the volunteer will download a virtual microscope (VM). The VM will automatically connect to the Stardust server and download so-called "focus movies" — stacks of images generated at the Cosmic Dust Lab at Johnson Space Center. Using the VM, the volunteer will search each field for interstellar dust impacts by focusing up and down with a focus control. Each movie will be sent out to four users, and only if at least two of them report a detection will it be subjected to a second round of screening. If a majority of users in this second round also report detections, then professional scientists will observe the location to determine whether it does indeed contain an interstellar dust particle. Scientists at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley anticipate that the first images will be available in March and hope to complete this phase of their work by October.
Source:The Planetary Society