- St Louis To Open a School of the Future
St Louis Public Schools is using its first business partnership to transform Carnahan Middle School into an advanced learning high school facility, complete with a wireless network and notebook computers.
- VA Mandates Instruction about Online Safety
A new law, scheduled to go into effect July 1, requires Virginia public schools to instruct students in online safety, integrating Internet safety into their regular instruction.
- SD Preparing for Laptop Initiative
South Dakota is ramping up for its laptop pilot program, due to kick off in September. Championed by Gov Mike Rounds, the $4 million program will help fund the purchases of laptop computers for roughly 5,000 of the stateâ€™s high schoolers.
- Online Learning on the Rise
While Michigan may become the first state in the nation to require students to take an online course, it is not alone in its interest in virtual education. Learning Point Associates reports that as of July 2005, 21 states had K-12 online learning programs.
- The Digital Nickelodeon
The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project is dedicated to saving the sounds recorded on late 19th-century and early 20th-century wax and plastic cylinder recordings.
St Louis To Open a School of the Future
St. Louis will become the first Midwestern city to have a â€œSchool of the Future.â€ AT&T, Dell Computer, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) are working together to transform Carnahan Middle School into an advanced learning high school facility, complete with a wireless network and notebook computers. The 250 eighth and ninth grade students who enter the school in September will have access to a college preparatory track, a technology-based career track and internships. The schoolâ€™s seamless integration of technology for both instruction and administration will allow students to develop digital literacy skills and provide enhanced school-to-home communication and â€œAnytime-Anywhereâ€ instruction. Carnahan was built in 2003 and the district anticipates that the conversion with be relatively easy. Dr. Creg Williams, superintendent of SLPS, says that in order for the districtâ€™s students to be successful in college and the 21st Century workplace, they must have access to up-to date technology. The partnership with AT& T, Dell and the university will allow the district to provide students with the technology and skills they need to realize their full potential. Educators, parents, community members, businesses and community-based organizations are working as a team to develop the new school. In addition to helping the district design and implement the project, Dell will provide ongoing professional development on the effective use of technology. AT&T will develop and deliver appropriate curriculum and content training sessions for teachers, library staff and administrators and network with other appropriate community and business leaders to increase support for the school.
Source:St. Louis Public Schools
VA Mandates Instruction about Online Safety
A new law, scheduled to go into effect July 1, requires Virginia public schools to instruct students in online safety. The lawâ€™s intent is to ensure that students are fully aware of the potential dangers they may encounter online and prepared to protect themselves. The lawâ€™s sponsor acknowledges that many children actually encounter these dangers while using computers at home, but believes that schools must take on the responsibility of teaching students about online safety, since parents may not be technologically up to the task. The new law requires the Virginia Department of Education to develop guidelines for schools to use in integrating Internet safety into regular instruction. For a number of schools, this will mean business as usual. All seventh graders in Fairfax County take a course on Internet dangers as part of their Family Life Education classes. In addition to direct instruction, students also get a video and fact sheet designed to be taken home and shared with parents. Students at Alexandriaâ€™s T.C. Williams High School each receive a school-owned laptop. Instruction on the appropriate use of those laptops includes Internet safety and warnings about off-limits Web sites. Teachers spot-check where students have been surfing and it only takes a few such checks for students to get the idea that they are expected to conform to the warnings. Schools also work with parents to make them aware of online dangers and potential problems and help them learn how to watch for signs of trouble. Prince William Countyâ€™s Bull Run Middle School hosts daytime coffees and evening seminars on cyber bullying. These and other schools that are already talking with students about online safety and privacy issues will move to a more formal approach under the new law and other schools will have to add online safety to their curriculum.
Source:The Washington Post
South Dakota Preparing for Laptop Initiative
South Dakota is ramping up for its laptop pilot program, due to kick off in September. Championed by Gov Mike Rounds, the $4 million program will help fund the purchases of laptop computers for roughly 5,000 of the stateâ€™s high schoolers. The state expects to pay between $1,000 to $1,200 per laptop and is taking bids now. The laptops will be purchased under a three-year lease that would allow the schools to own the computers at the end of that period. The state will pay one third of the computer costs, with the districts paying the rest. Districts are also responsible for supplying the necessary infrastructure and providing professional development. The Governor would like to see the program expanded to all of the stateâ€™s high school students. While some legislators and superintendents support that approach, most want to see evidence of effectiveness before moving forward. Other states with major laptop programs point to increased student engagement, improved attendance and more positive attitudes towards school. But no one has solid evidence of improved standardized test scores. Maine, where every seventh and eighth grader has had a laptop for the last four years, is in the midst of a study comparing 25 control schools to 25 experimental schools in teaching math. Preliminary results look positive. Iowaâ€™s Watertown High School has supplied laptops for all its students for three years. The district believes the laptops are powerful tools, but has never attempted to show a correlation between laptop use and improved standardized test scores. Surveys at the school show that students used laptops most often for PowerPoint presentations, research and word processing.
Source:Argus Leader News
Online Learning on the Rise
Michigan is poised to become the first state in the nation that requires students to take at least one online course before they graduate from high school. But Michigan is not alone in its interest in online learning. According to a study from Learning Point Associates, as of July 2005, 21 states had K-12 online learning programs. The programs report rapid growth, some by double-digit percentages every year. Utah and Florida have by far the biggest statewide online learning programs, with more than 35,000 students enrolled in Utah and 21,000 in Florida. Julie Young, president and CEO of Florida Virtual School, expects her program to grow by 40% to 60% next school year, based on past performance dating to 1997. The reasons fueling the growth of online learning are many. Students are able to enroll in courses that their own bricks and mortar schools donâ€™t offer. Schedules are more flexible and accommodating. For some students, the self-paced and independent nature of online courses is just a better match than the traditional classroom. Local conditions may also be factors. Julie Young notes that class size in Florida, where math classes of 35 to 40 in some of the larger schools is common, may be contributing to the growth of Florida Virtual School. Virtual schooling may also help ease the nationwide shortage of math and science teachers, allowing highly qualified teachers to reach a wider audience. But not everyone is a fan. For one thing, online learning is not for everyone. Students must have a degree of discipline and be self-motivated to succeed in the online environment. Funding online programs has also caused significant controversy in some parts of the country, especially in places where online enrollment draws money away from school districts.
Source:Christian Science Monitor
The Digital Nickelodeon
The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project is dedicated to saving the sounds recorded on late 19th-century and early 20th-century wax and plastic cylinder recordings. Until recently, it was not possible to create high quality digital copies of cylinder recording. Cylinders had to be played on phonographs which were powered by a hand crank. The phonographâ€™s needle hit the cylinder's recorded grooves, amplifying the music through a horn. Technician held a microphone up to the horn to record the sound, but the quality of such recordings was poor.The invention of the Archeophone, a machine that can play cylinders of various sizes and speeds and transfer the sound to a computer through a patch bay, solved that problem. The Archeophone encodes cylinder music as scratchy-sounding WAV files that users can stream or download as original recordings or cleaned-up MP3 versions. Curators at the University of California at Santa Barbara's Donald C. Davidson Library, which houses the Preservation Project, have digitized 6,000 cylinders, includes ragtime hits, vaudeville routines and presidential speeches. The UCSB Library has several major collections of cylinders. It is especially strong in two- and four-minute Edison wax cylinders, including many Edison rarities. The Library of Congress and Bowling Green State University also contributed cylinders to the project for digitization. Since the Project site went up in November, audiophiles have downloaded 700,000 recordings.