T&L News(30) - Tech Learning

T&L News(30)

NASA Helps Expand Students’ Math and Science Horizons Once on the state’s watch list, students at Baltimore’s Rosemont Elementary are learning about science, math and technology as part of NASA’s Explore School program. Milwaukee District Plans Wireless for AllThe Milwaukee Public School system is planning to
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  • NASA Helps Expand Students’ Math and Science Horizons
    Once on the state’s watch list, students at Baltimore’s Rosemont Elementary are learning about science, math and technology as part of NASA’s Explore School program.
  • Milwaukee District Plans Wireless for All
    The Milwaukee Public School system is planning to build a new WiMax system that will provide free broadband Internet service to the homes of all students and staff members.
  • High Tech Transforms Gym Class
    High-tech devices like pulse watches and heart monitors are among the tools physical education teachers are using to help students combat obesity and establish life-long fitness habits.
  • FL Districts Breaking Down Classroom Walls
    Schools districts across South Florida are turning to the latest in technology to extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom.
  • Looking for the Next Killer App
    The "Digital Incubator" contest awards ten student groups with $25,000 each to fund projects aimed at developing content for broadband users.

NASA Helps Expand Students’ Math and Science Horizons

Baltimore’s Rosemont Elementary School had a recent visit from Lt. Col. Terry W. Virts, a NASA astronaut. Virts shared stories about life in the NASA space program and answered students’ questions. More than 90% of Rosemont’s students are at or below the poverty level. Rosemont, which was once on the state’s watch list of failing schools, is part of the NASA Explorer School program, recruited last year as part of NASA’s effort to reach out to traditionally underserved populations. The Explorer School program is designed to increase student interest and participation in science, mathematics and technology; increase the active participation and professional growth of educators in the three fields; and increase the students' ability to apply science, mathematics and technology concepts. During the three-year partnership schools work with NASA education specialists in an effort to spark innovative science and mathematics instruction for students in grades 4 through 9. Shortly after the school’s selection for the program, its principal and four teachers attended a one-week workshop at Goddard Space Flight Center, the NASA field center that oversees the Explorer School implementation at Rosemont. The school devotes 60 days a year to technology and design challenges relating to science and mathematics. While partnered with NASA, Explorer Schools acquire new teaching resources and technology tools using NASA's unique content, experts and other resources. Partner schools are eligible for up to $17,500 for technology tools.

Source:Baltimore Sun

Milwaukee District Plans Wireless for All

The Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system is planning to provide free broadband Internet service to the homes of all students and staff members, with a pilot program set to launch by August 2007. Currently MPS operates four television channels licensed as part of the FCC’s Educational Broadband Service. By developing a WiMax system that will operate over the same licenses 2.5GHz frequency, MPS will be able to deliver two-way communication in place of the existing one-way TV system. The pilot, which will serve an area of roughly 5 square miles, is estimated to cost about $500,000. The Milwaukee Area Instructional Network, made up of Milwaukee Area Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and MPS, has been allocated a $440,000 grant from the federal Department of Commerce to pursue the WiMax system. Only MPS agreed to contribute the $220,000 local match required, so the federal grant will likely be reduced to around $200,000. MPS sees the WiMax system as a way to make sure that students from families too poor to afford Internet access don’t fall behind their more affluent peers. The FCC allocated the 2.5GHz frequency to the schools for educational programming decades ago. Educational Institutions have until 2008 to fully utilize these channels, or the spectrum will be auctioned off. Most institutions are making plans to use part of the spectrum for their own educational purpose, while leasing the remainder to commercial services.

Source:Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

High Tech Transforms Gym Class

High-tech devices are among the newest tools physical education teachers are using to help students combat obesity and establish life-long fitness habits. In some places, team sports such as volleyball are giving way to treadmills and stationary bikes. Students are fitted out with heart monitors, pulse watches and pedometers that download data directly to a computer for tracking and analysis. The approach, called “New Physical Education,†focuses on teaching students to live a healthy life. Gyms in schools that have adopted the approach look a lot like health clubs and students frequently work on their own, with their progress measured in terms of how much they have improved. In the Amesbury, MA schools, pulse watches help students monitor their progress toward the goal of keeping their pulse rates between 75 to 85 percent of their maximum rates for 20 minutes. Amesbury has been using heart monitors and nutrition counseling since 2004 and officials report that more than half the students have improved their exercise or nutrition habits as a result. Studies are beginning to show positive results for New Physical Education. According to a University of Wisconsin study of 50 overweight middle-school children, the approach resulted in greater loss of body fat, increase in cardiovascular fitness, and improvement in fasting insulin levels. Roughly 30% of American schools are believed to be using New Physical Education. More traditional physical ed teachers point out that team sports teach cooperation and responsibility. They also question some of the uses teachers are making of the new devices like pulse watches. But students who resisted traditional approaches appear to respond well to the more fitness-oriented approach and that alone is a plus.

Source: The Boston Globe

FL Districts Breaking Down Classroom Walls

Schools districts across South Florida are turning to the latest in technology to extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Students in Fort Lauderdale recently shared ideas with students in Buffalo, NY. The sign-language students have been visiting each other classes via videoconferencing for several months. The Broward County School Districts plans to extend the use of videoconferencing to produce lectures on demand. Using a portable videoconferencing system that can be rolled into any classroom, the district will make live content available district wide. While the equipment, priced at $4 million, is expensive, the district will be able to cover most of the costs using e-Rate money. The lectures will also be available for students to download to iPods. Educators in the Miami-Dade School Districts are also using iPods to extend learning. Adding a camera to his classroom allowed art studio teacher David Taylor to record his lectures so that students could download them at their convenience. A first for the school system, the practice is spreading. Students report that having access to the recorded lectures really helps, especially in classes that require a lot of note taking. Preparing for the future, the Miami-Dade School Board has passed a new five-year technology plan that calls for adding the latest technology to the classroom and training teachers to use that technology.

Source:The Miami Herald

Looking for the Next Killer App

Cisco, long a player in business networking, is increasingly interested in the consumer market. To be sure it’s in tune with the sensibilities of that market, the company sponsors the "Digital Incubator" contest. Ten student groups each receive $25,000 to fund projects aimed at developing content for broadband users. The projects will be showcased on mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network. While the winners of the first contest don’t offer any immediate commercial opportunities, Cisco is convinced that the next big idea will come from the college campus, where students are deeply engrossed in the creation and manipulation of digital content. This year’s winners combine elements of short-form programming, gaming, social networking, blogging, instant messaging, podcasting and mobile phone interactivity. A UCLA graduate student has created a web site where students can seek advice for dealing with problems involving family or friends. The advice is voted on and helps shape a video acted out by puppets, animated characters or costumed actors. The user can then send the video anonymously to their friend or family member, who then can respond. The videos can also be streamed from mtvU.com or downloaded as a podcast.

Source:CNET

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