- ETS Pilots High-School Level Technology Assessment
A new version of Education Testing Service's Information and Communication Technology Literacy Assessment has been designed specifically for student transitioning to college-level work. Learn what is tested.
- Computer Proficient Students Do Better in School
Students who are proficient with computers tend to perform better in key school subjects than those with limited experience, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Donors Choose Delivers for Needy Teachers
The DonorsChoose web site matches public school teachers with great ideas but no resources with donors willing to fund their projects.
- Metro High School To Open
Students in Ohio's Franklin County will have a new educational choice next year when Metro High School, a small public high school that will emphasize math, science and technology, opens.
- Balloons Might Replace Cell Towers
North Dakota is about to become a test site for a balloon-based cellular phone network. The idea is to mount wireless network repeaters on hydrogen-filled balloons that would float high above the state and fill in the gaps in existing cellular coverage.
ETS Pilots High-School Level Technology Assessment
Community colleges, four-year institutions and high schools nationwide are helping ETS pilot a new version of its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Assessment. Designed specifically for student transitioning to college-level work, the Core Level ICT is the first version of the assessment to be administered to high school students. The simulation-based test measures students' ability to use digital technology, communication tools and networks to solve information-oriented problems. Test takers are asked to perform information management tasks, such as extracting information from a database, developing a spreadsheet, or composing an e-mail based on research findings. The test measures not only knowledge of technology, but the ability to use critical thinking to define, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information in a technological environment. The assessment can be administered in high school computer labs and takes about 75 minutes to complete. It's not clear how many schools would be interested in assessing their students' technology literacy, but education officials in Texas and West Virginia are monitoring early results to see if the test would be useful.
Source:The Boston Globe
Computer Proficient Students Do Better in School
Students who are proficient with computers tend to perform better in key school subjects than those with limited experience or a lack of confidence in their ability to perform basic computer functions, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The study "Are Students Ready for a Technology-Rich World?" offers the first international comparisons in this area, based on OECD's PISA 2003 assessment of the educational performance of 15-year olds. According to the OECD study, students who had been using computers for less than one year (10% of the total sample) scored well below the OECD average. By contrast, students who had been using computers for more than five years (37% of the total sample) scored well above the OECD average. Generally, the performance of students who have only recently begun to use computers is influenced in part by factors in the students' homes. However, when controlled for socio-economic variables, a sizeable positive effect from regular computer use is still evident. This is particularly clear in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Korea, Switzerland and the U.S. The report indicates that students use computers at home for a wide range of functions, not just to play games. Half of all students surveyed reported frequent use of word processing software and of the Internet as a research tool. Students in Austria, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Korea, Poland and Portugal were among the most positive in their attitudes towards computers. Students in Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and Japan were among the least positive.
Donors Choose Delivers for Needy Teachers
Teachers are accustomed to reaching into their own pockets to purchase needed classroom supplies. But some projects require more significant resources and that's where DonorsChoose comes into play. Started five years ago by New York city teachers looking for a way to fund special projects, the web site matches public school teachers with donors willing to fund their projects. Teachers submit a short proposal that describes their project -- what they need, how they intend to use it and the cost involved. DonorsChoose volunteers review each proposal prior to posting, contacting schools to confirm details and eligibility. Once a proposal is funded, the project staff purchases the requested materials, which are then delivered to the school. Teachers are required to provide feedback to donors in the form of pictures, thank-you notes or samples of student work. To facilitate the process, the organization sends teachers a disposable camera and a postage-paid envelope. Prospective donors can browse proposals by school location, subject area, grade level, type of resource requested and cost. Donors can elect to fund all or part of a proposal. As of Feb 5, 2006, DonorsChoose had raised $5,330,924 to fund more than 10,000 requests from teachers in four metropolitan areas — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — and six other states, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Metro High School To Open
Students in Ohio's Franklin County will have a new educational choice next year when Metro High School opens, a small public high school that will emphasize math, science and technology. The Educational Council, a partnership of the county's 16 school districts, will operate Metro. The Metro Partnership Group, with representatives from Battelle, Ohio State and the Educational Council, will advise and assist in the design, operation and assessment of the school's academic program. It will also be responsible for evaluation and research, professional development and community engagement. The school will phase in enrollment over the next four years until its capacity of 400 students is reached. The number of students attending Metro from each of the county's 16 schools districts will be determined on a formula based on district size and student interest. Columbus Public Schools — being the largest - will supply more than half of the first 100 students. While at Metro, students stay enrolled in their home high schools and can continue to participate in extracurricular activities there. The schools curriculum is divided into two distinct phases: Ninth and 10th grade student will focus on learning that promotes performance and mastery, while 11th and 12th grade students will focus on "learning outside of the school walls" and developing the capacity for successful college work. They will participate in hands-on, self-directed learning with teachers and mentors from the community, pursuing independent research projects and community internships at learning centers located in settings across the central Ohio community including Battelle, Ohio State, the Columbus Museum of Art, WOSU, the Wexner Center for the Arts, as well as other businesses and organizations.
Balloons Might Replace Cell Towers
North Dakota is about to become a test site for a balloon-based cellular phone network. The idea is to mount wireless network repeaters on hydrogen-filled balloons that would float high above the state and fill in the gaps in existing cellular coverage. Proponents of the idea point out that it costs $250,000 to build a cellular tower and that 1,100 towers would be needed to cover the entire state. They claim to be able to provide that coverage with three balloons at a much lower cost. The plans calls for nine balloons to be deployed, each of which would deliver voice and data service to an area hundreds of miles in diameter. Floating up to 20 miles above the earth, well out of commercial airline flight paths, the balloons will travel across the state at about 30 mph, pushed by steady stratospheric winds. When a balloon travels beyond the state's borders, its communications pod will jettison and parachute to earth, emitting a location signal. The pods will be collected, serviced and redeployed. Once the electronic equipment is jettisoned, the balloon rises and expands with the drop in air pressure until it bursts. The balloons cost about $55 each. Observers say that while the idea may appear to work in the lab, only a real-world test will prove its actual feasibility.