- 1-to-1 Program Revamped
Californiaâ€™s Fullerton School District is revamping its one-to-one laptop program in response to parental objections and an ACLU lawsuit. Parents will still purchases their childrenâ€™s laptops, but will have more say over whether a school joins the program or not.
- Schooling Goes Virtual in Washington
Washington State is about to enter the world of virtual schools. This fall, Insight Schools will partner with the Quillayute Valley School District to open the stateâ€™s first high school that will operate solely online.
- Utah Takes to eMINTS Technology Model
A number of school systems across Utah are implementing the eMINTS program to better integrate technology with instruction, incorporating best teaching practices and inquiry-based learning.
- Learning Chinese Online
This fall, some 240 Michigan high school students will be able to enroll in online Chinese language courses, a joint effort of Michigan State University, Michigan Virtual High School and the Chinese government.
- Reading Faces
Even without special training, human beings are especially adept at reading the human face and interpreting the emotion it displays. Two researchers at MIT are working on building that skill into a computer.
1-to-1 Program Revamped
Californiaâ€™s Fullerton School District is revamping its one-to-one laptop program in response to parental objections and an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit. In 2004-05, as part of an effort to integrate technology into students' lives, Fullerton launched a pilot laptop program that asked parents to purchases the #1,500 computers for their childrenâ€™s use. Financial aid and loaner laptops were made available to families with demonstrable needs. If parents opted not to participate in the program, students were transferred to classrooms not in the laptop pilot program. Sometimes that meant that a child had to transfer to a different school. The ACLU challenged the districtâ€™s policy, saying it favored wealthier families and stigmatized those who applied for a loaner laptop, for a fee waiver or for a transfer to another school. After four months of negotiation, a settlement was reached. Under the new plan, parents have more control over whether or not a school joins the laptop program. If 90% of the families in a school or grade buy a computer, the district will provide the remaining students with loaners. If fewer than 90% buy laptops, the district will provide loaners for the remaining students or discontinue the program in that school or grade. Low-income families will continue to be able to apply for financial assistance in buying a computer or ask for a loaner and be counted toward a school's 90% threshold. More than 2,000 of the Fullerton School District's 13,000 elementary and middle school students were using laptops at the beginning of the 2005-6 school year.
Source:Los Angeles Times
Schooling Goes Virtual in Washington
Washington State is about to enter the world of virtual schools. Legislation passed last year now makes it possible for private organizations to operate an online school under the supervision of a cooperating school district. This fall, Insight Schools will partner with the Quillayute Valley School District, a small district on the Olympic Peninsula, to open the stateâ€™s first high school that will operate solely online. The Steilacoom School District plans to open an online program for K-8 students. In the Quillayute Valley high school program, students will receive a computer, Internet access and a printer. They will be able to choose among 140 courses, ranging from AP to remedial, with their instruction overseen by Washington teachers. The district will keep 6% of the federal and state money it receives for each enrolled student â€“ roughly $6,000 per students -- with the rest going to the company that will operate the program. The district will also receive 25% of the profit from the schoolâ€™s operation. As elsewhere, there are concerns that the virtual schools will draw students (and their associated state aid) away from their home districts. Officials from the Quillayute School District see the online high school as an opportunity to provide an alternative to students who aren't suited to, or can't attend, regular public schools.
Source:The Seattle Times
Utah Takes to eMINTS Technology Model
A number of school systems across Utah are learning to integrate technology into the everyday curriculum, incorporating best teaching practices and inquiry-based learning. Enhancing Education Through Technology funding has brought the eMINTS program to selected classrooms in the Duchesne, Tintic, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Granite school districts, with expansion planned for the Logan, Provo and Uintah districts. eMINTS is an educational technology program developed in Missouri and now being disseminated nationwide. eMINTS classrooms have one computer for every two students; an interactive whiteboard, access to a network printer, and Internet access. The teacher workstation largely supplants chalkboards, overhead projectors, and films and the student computers support research and collaboration. Over two years, teachers participate in more than 250 hours of face-to-face and online professional development. It appears to pay off. Assessments in the Salt Lake City School District show that students in eMINTS classrooms are testing 12% higher in math than are their peers in classrooms with similar demographics.
Source:Salt Lake Tribune
Learning Chinese Online
While most American students are learning French or Spanish, experts are urging that to keep up in the global economy America graduate more students with a working knowledge of Chinese or Arabic. Finding teachers of these more exotic languages, especially teachers who want to deal with high schoolers, is not easy. In Michigan, only a handful of school systems offer Chinese. Enter Michigan State University. In the fall, the Universityâ€™s United States-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence will launch online language classes statewide and open three preschools in Michigan that combine Chinese and American teaching methods. The move will open Chinese language instruction beyond its current pilot stage, enrolling some 240 high school students this fall in a partnership with the Chinese government and Michigan Virtual High School. The numbers are expected to grow each year. Classes will cost $375 a semester, which will be paid by the participating schools.
Source:The Detroit News
Even without special training, human beings are especially adept at reading the human face. A team of researchers at MIT is working on building that skill into a computer. At a recent international workshop at MIT's Media Lab, the two researchers wore tiny cameras mounted on wire rods extending from their chests to demonstrate their invention, called the Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic, or ESP. The video cameras captured facial expressions and head movements, then fed the information to a desktop computer that analyzed the data and gave real-time estimates of the individuals' mental states, in the form of color-coded graphs. The software that runs the system has been designed to attempt to interpret complex mental states like agreeing, disagreeing, thinking, confused, concentrating and interested. The researchers are developing an outward-facing version of the ESP system with a cap-mounted camera connected to a wearable computer. The researchers believe their computer system could be helpful in guiding people with autism, who often have difficulty determining other peopleâ€™s emotions. Thanks to advances in affective computing, real-time machine perception and wearable technologies, the computer vision system is designed to help provide that missing information.