T&L News(29) - Tech Learning

T&L News(29)

FL Considers Discounted PCs for Students Both houses of the Florida legislature are considering bills that would make it possible for students to purchase computers and Internet access at discounted prices. Stanford University To Open Virtual School for the Gifted Stanford University is expanding its existing
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  • FL Considers Discounted PCs for Students
    Both houses of the Florida legislature are considering bills that would make it possible for students to purchase computers and Internet access at discounted prices.
  • Stanford University To Open Virtual School for the Gifted
    Stanford University is expanding its existing Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) into the nation’s first virtual school devoted to gifted students.
  • If You Build It, Will They Use It?
    Schools across the nation are not only creating unified online systems that allow teachers, students and parents to communicate more efficiently, but also finding innovate ways to encourage teachers to use the systems.
  • Australia Embraces Electronic Whiteboards
    Electronic whiteboards can transform even the one computer classroom into a highly interactive environment. The technology is now being actively embraced by schools across Australia.
  • MySpace Moves To Keep Kids Safe
    Responding to parental outrage and Congressional pressure, MySpace.com, the popular social networking site, has hired a security expert to oversee child safety measures.

FL Considers Discounted PCs for Students

Both houses of the Florida legislature are considering bills that would make it possible for students to purchase computers and Internet access at discounted prices. The discounts would be available to 5th through 12th graders in Florida public and charter schools, as well as students who are home schooled. If passed, the Florida Department of Education would negotiate discounts, possibly as much as 20%, with the various hardware vendors. The DOE would then publish a list, including a range of brands, prices and features, from which parents can select the type of computers they wish to buy. The actual purchases would be at retail and there would be no state money involved. The sponsors of the legislation believe that the negotiated discounts will make it possible for more families to afford computers. For those families unable to afford even the discounted computers, the proposed legislation includes $1.5 million to fund a pilot program that would make refurbished computers available for as little as $20 to eligible families. The pilot program would be run by the Digital Divide Council, created by the state Legislature in 2001 to help low-income children and families become computer literate. The pilot would start in Miami-Dade and Alachua, home to the legislation’s sponsors, but if successful could be expanded to other counties.

Source:Miami Herald

Stanford University To Open Virtual School for the Gifted

Stanford University is expanding its existing Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) into the nation’s first virtual school devoted to gifted students. Since 1992, EPGY has served more than 4,000 gifted students, offering non-credit online courses in math, physics, computer science and English. Students enrolling in the new virtual school will be able to follow a standard course of study leading to a high school diploma. EPGY will be adding social-sciences courses — in history, government and economics to begin -- and classes in Latin, Chinese and music theory. It also will pursue becoming a fully accredited high school. Students wising to enroll will need to document their abilities and be willing to pay an annual tuition of about $12,000. Registration will open on April 25. Stanford will offer financial assistance and is making a special effort to attract gifted students from disadvantaged schools. The program will be led by Patrick Suppes, a philosophy professor emeritus and a pioneer in computer-based learning. Suppes noted that in the current NCLB-driven school environment, gifted students are frequently left behind.

Source:Mercury News

If You Build It, Will They Use It?

Schools across the nation are increasingly beginning to integrate digitals tools – software that lets teachers communicate with parents, post student assignments and record attendance and grades online – into unified networks that transform the way teachers and learners interact with one another. Some districts in the San Francisco Bay area are turning to a tool created by one of their own. Now sold commercially, School Loop was developed by Mark Gross, a teacher at San Jose’s Evergreen Valley High School. Other districts, like the Sequoia Union High School District have created their own tools and networking system. And though the creators of such systems see them as a way to save time and improve district wide communication, many teachers see them as extra work. In Sequoia, officials estimate that only half the teachers use the district’s network and its communication tools. Parents and students in other districts that have introduced such networks complain that grades and assignments are not posted frequently enough to be useful. Some schools have come up creative ways to encourage teacher use. Palo Alto High School offers teachers a free laptop if they adopt the district’s e-education suite. Building or buying integrated communication networks can be an expensive proposition, so it’s well worth the effort to bring everyone on board.

Source:The Mercury News

Australia Embraces Electronic Whiteboards

Electronic whiteboards can transform even the one computer classroom into a highly interactive environment. The technology is now being actively embraced by schools across Australia. Sydney’s Cromer Primary School is fairly typical. The school started out purchasing three units earlier this year and based on positive results has decided to equip every classroom from Year 1 to Year 6 as soon as possible. Teachers find the whiteboards easy to use and easy to integrate into daily classroom activities. Interactive whiteboards make it possible to share a computer program or Internet website with the entire class and to have students manipulate data and interact with the program, while allowing the teacher to remain in control. Observers estimate that there are several thousand interactive whiteboards installed in Australian classroom. Distributors plan for rapid expansion, with one vendor hoping to place whiteboards in every classroom in more than 9000 schools. Some schools are purchasing whiteboards using funding from the federal government's $1 billion Investing in Our Schools program, while others are raising money locally.

Source:The Australian

MySpace Moves To Keep Kids Safe

Responding to parental outrage and more than a little Congressional pressure, MySpace.com, the popular social networking site, has hired a security expert to oversee child safety measures. Hemanshu Nigam, now director of Consumer Security Outreach and Child Safe Computing at Microsoft Corp, will head up safety, education, privacy and law enforcement oversight programs for MySpace. Nigam has extensive experience in online safety. He served as a Federal prosecutor against Internet child exploitation for the U.S. Department of Justice, was an advisor to a Congressional commission on online child safety, and an advisor to the White House on cyberstalking. He also worked for the Motion Picture Association of America, where he combated online video piracy. Nigam’s hiring is just one step MySpace is taking to respond to fears that its popular online meeting space can also an open invitation for people interested in the sexual exploitation of children online. MySpace limits memberships to users who are at least 14 and provide special protections to children under 16. The site has also launched a partnerships with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Advertising Council to create a nationwide series of public service messages devoted to online safety.

Source:the Washington Post

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