- Technology Gap Hitting Schools in the Middle
Middle class schools across Florida find themselves facing a technology gap, neither poor enough to qualify for federal dollars or attract foundation grants nor rich enough to use their own resources to stay ahead of the technology curve.
- Google To Offer Video from the National Archives
Google has entered a partnership with the National Archives to digitize historical footage in the Archivesâ€™ collection and make it available for Internet viewing and downloading.
- Grants Encourage Technology Use
The Bellingham (MA) school district is offering its teachers small grants of up to $500 to test various software programs in their classrooms. Learn more.
- District Integrates Instruction with eCampus
Michiganâ€™s Southgate Community School District has launched a new computer-based program that enables students to study, discuss the material, communicate with teachers and take exams.
- Better Food with Tilling
Tilling — targeting induced local lesions in genomes — uses reverse genetics to pinpoint mutations that might enhance nutritional value or eliminate allergens.
Technology Gap Hitting Schools in the Middle
It appears that some schools are getting caught in the middle when it comes to technology resources. These are schools that are neither poor enough to qualify for federal grants or foundation grants to support technology nor rich enough to use their own resources to stay ahead of the technology curve. In Floridaâ€™s sprawling Orange County, itâ€™s the solidly middle class schools that are equipped with outdated computers and older software and peripheral products. While the state provides the same textbooks for all students, such equality does not apply to technology resources. In Florida, state spending for technology has dropped to $18 per students, down from about $26 per student in 2000. It falls to the schools to make up that difference and schools faced with tight budgets find themselves unable to keep up. According to a 2004 statewide study of school technology, roughly 25% of school computers are obsolete. In terms of access, only 8% of schools have one computer for every five students, which is the stateâ€™s current computer-to-student target ratio. Forty percent of schools provide one computer for every 10 to 25 students. Sadly, some of the schools now lagging were originally showcases for technology in the mid to late 1990s. The state has made the decision to let districts decide their own technology priorities, but some legislators are questioning if more needs to be done to meet studentsâ€™ basic computer needs and keep certain students from being shortchanged.
Google To Offer Video from the National Archives
In its quest to become one of the worldâ€™s largest repositories of digital material, Google has entered a partnership with the National Archives to make historical footage in the Archives available for Internet viewing. During the pilot program, Google will digitize 103 films, including movies, documentaries and other cinematic creations formerly only available to visitors to the National Archives in Washington D.C. The online library, available for viewing and downloading at Google Video, includes World War II newsreels, NASA documentaries, and films from the 1930 that document the history and establishment of a nationwide system of national and state parks--including early footage of modern Native Americans and the building of Boulder Dam. The collection will also include the oldest film in the Archivesâ€™ collection, an 1884 film featuring a famous Spanish Gypsy dancer. All of the materials released under the pilot program are in the public domain, so viewers are free to do what they want with the footage. The 103 films are just the first step in a process that Google says will make available as many of the Archives. 114,000 film reels and 37,000 videos available online as possible.
Source:The National Archives
Grants Encourage Technology Use
Massachusetts has set a high goal for technology use, expecting 87% of its public school teachers to use educational technology as part of their daily teaching. To reach that goal, districts are looking for innovative ways to help teachers who are now reluctant technology users become more comfortable with technology and to use it on a regular basis. The Bellingham district, where officials estimate that substantially less than 40% of teachers use technology to teach, is offering its teachers small grants of up to $500 to test various software programs in their classrooms and collect pre and post-test data about student performance after using the software. In addition to providing teachers with an incentive to use technology, the program will also provide the district with information it can use in selecting the most effective programs. Fifteen technology grants are available, and preference will be given to teachers willing to learn to use math or English language arts programs, two areas where the district is concerned with improving student scores on the state test. The district also received 75 computers from a Boston law firm, allowing it to add two or three additional computers to each classroom. There are at least two computers for student use in classrooms at the middle school and high school. The district hopes that by 2009 every teacher will know how to use educational software in the various subject areas.
District Integrates Instruction with eCampus
Michiganâ€™s Southgate Community School District has launched a new computer-based program that enables students to study, discuss the material among themselves, communicate with teachers and take exams. The program is being used at North Pointe Elementary. Several middle schools and a small number of students at Anderson High School also are testing the program. Students at these schools can access the program via any of their schoolsâ€™ computers and those with computers at home can work from there as well. Since the district determines the programâ€™s content, it is able to align instruction to cover areas that students will be tested on in the stateâ€™s MEAP testing. Teachers can create online quizzes and use videos, audio and text to supplement their oral instruction. The program also grades tests, and helps teachers instantly identify material that's giving their students the most trouble. Teachers attempt to present information in ways that touch as many learning styles — visual, tactile, auditory â€“ as possible. Students especially enjoy the videos. Because work is created and submitted online, students are able to return to past assignments for review. With everything related to a given subject found in one place, it is easier for students to keep on track with assignments and stay organized.
Source:The Detroit News
Better Food with Tilling
People with concerns about genetic engineering, might find Tilling more to their taste. Tilling - targeting induced local lesions in genomes — uses reverse genetics to pinpoint mutations that might enhance nutritional value or eliminate allergens. Typically the concern with genetic modification focuses on transgenics, the controversial technique that involves inserting genes from one species into another. Tilling avoids this concern by relying solely on genes already in the plant. Scientists at the USDA are using Tilling in the hopes of creating a hypoallergenic soybeans, which, along with peanuts, are one of the top eight allergenic foods. Scientists also hope to develop healthier soybean oil and higher-protein soybeans. The technique was first developed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It involves soaking seeds in chemicals to induce mutations. Researchers then plant the seeds, and analyze genes from the mutated plant. They collect and store DNA samples containing mutations on a given gene. The technology can also help scientists find previously unidentified mutations.