- Internet2 Comes to Alaskaâ€™s K-12 Schools
Alaska announced an agreement between Internet2, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and the Alaska Distance Education Consortium to connect the state's schools, libraries, community colleges and museums to Internet2's network.
- Students Take on Global Challenges
Technology has been a valuable tool for the student teams participating in Challenge 20/20. U.S. students and their counterparts from outside the U.S. must work together to come up with practical solutions to a global problems.
- Digital Disadvantage
As technology becomes more central, students who do not have ready access to a PC or the Internet are at an increasing disadvantage. School districts across southern Florida are aware of the digital divide and working on strategies to help level the playing field.
- Podcasts for All the World to Hear
Students at W.T. Hanes elementary schools are using podcasting to practice reading aloud. An added benefit is that relatives in other cities, states or countries can listen in.
- Smart Clothes
Today, clothing that incorporates technology — wearable technology — is still something of a novelty, but innovative offerings are already on the drawing board.
Internet2 Comes to Alaskaâ€™s K-12 Schools
Alaska has become the 35th state to sign on to Internet2. The state announced an agreement between Internet2, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF) and the Alaska Distance Education Consortium to connect the state's schools, libraries, community colleges and museums to Internet2's network. UAF has had Internet2 access since 1997, but at speeds lower than those common among universities in the lower 48 states that are connected to the Internet2 backbone. Alaska is connected to Internet2 via a fiber-optic cable that rests on the ocean floor. UAF would have to pay for a larger share of that cableâ€™s bandwidth to improve its access speeds. Extending the Internet2 connection to schools and communities in rural Alaska will be very challenging. Officials expect that technology breakthroughs will be necessary, but know that services like videoconferencing and streaming video could transform the rural classroom, making it well worth the effort. Internet2 is the high bandwidth network created by more than 200 U.S. universities, in partnership with business and industry, to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education. More than 27,000 K-20 institutions have access to Internet2's network. The high-speed access enables real-time chats, streaming video and remote manipulation of scientific equipment such as microscopes and telescopes.
Source:Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Students Take on Global Challenges
Challenge 20/20 is harnessing the energy and optimism of school children to tackle problems that face the world over the next 20 years. The goal of the initiative, a project of the National Association of Independent Schools, is to move beyond theory to engage students in working on a practical solution. And while the various teams could work via mail, technology has made project implementation much simpler and more effective. Challenge 20/20 brings together school teams: one from the United States and one from outside of the United States. Teacher-student teams from both schools work together throughout the school year to come up with a solution to a global problem. Team solutions should lead to actual plans that can be implemented on a local level, on the campuses, or in the communities of both schools. The project requires teams to communicate regularly and thatâ€™s where technology comes into play. Students at Mount Saint Joseph Academy near Philadelphia and St. Joseph's Convent School in Jabalpur, India exchanged over 1,500 e-mails and participated in several videoconferences as they worked together to find a solution to the problem of infectious diseases. After narrowing their focus to the need for sanitary medical supplies, the students planned to create a website to facilitate the delivery of supplies. Poor hospitals would list their needs and wealthier hospitals with excess supplies could send them the things needed.
Source:Christian Science Monitor
As technology becomes more central, students who do not have ready access to a PC or the Internet are at an increasing disadvantage. Students are routinely expected to go online for research and having access to a computer lets students use a word processor, with all its built-in tools, for written reports and other assignments. Students who do not have a computer at home have to rely on the computers their schools can make available or use computers at the public library or other community centers. While library computers are typically free, the amount of time a student can spend may be limited and printing may have a price attached. School districts across southern Florida are aware of the digital divide and working on strategies to help level the playing field. In Palm Beach County, the district is working on getting refurbished computers and software in place at community centers and after-school programs around the county. Other schools make computers in their labs available during non-class periods, like before and after school and at lunchtime. Teachers are aware that not all their students have ready access to computers and take that into consideration when making assignments. But they also want all students to have the computer and online research skills that will be expected of citizens of the 21st Century.
Source:South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Podcasts for All the World to Hear
Students at W.T. Hanes elementary schools are using podcasting to practice reading aloud. Fourth graders have recorded essays on a variety of topics. The files can be downloaded from the school web site or from the Apple iTunes Music Store. Users can subscribe to iTunes and get podcasts, including more than 900 selections in the K-12 category, automatically. Teachers say that their students tell them that relatives, especially grandparents, in other cities, states and even countries are listening. Itâ€™s just another opportunity for students to get recognition and to practice reading for an audience. The Carrollton-Farmers Branch (TX) district is using podcasting for language development. High school French students read essays online to practice their speaking skills, and middle and high school students learning English as a second language also use the technology. While podcasting is generally considered safe, since there are no images associated with the audio, experts warn school to be sure that they use only childrenâ€™s first names and keep parents well informed.
Source:Dallas Morning News
Today, smart clothing largely refers to garments using innovative fabrics that keep their shape or resist stains. But clothing that incorporates technology — wearable technology — is still something of a novelty. The NPD Group estimates that wearable technology accounts for less than one percent of the U.S. fashion industry's retail sales. Jackets that incorporate cell phones or MP3 players or that feature built-in fans for cooling are already on the market. Experts expect that ski-wear and active-wear companies will lead the way in wearable technology. Adidas already markets a running shoe with an embedded microchip that adjusts the level of shock absorption provided by the shoe's heel in response to the type of ground the runner is covering. Future ski wear could incorporate heating coils that warm legs. Students at MIT's Media Lab are experimenting with fabrics imbued with various metals to produce conductive clothing that remains soft to the touch. Using a fabric that is nitinol based, a long sleeve shirt could transform itself to short-sleeves and then back to long in response to temperature changes.