- Beyond Internet Searching
Teachers, media specialists and librarians are helping students develop solid research skills, melding the ease and breadth of Internet searching with more conventional research methods.
- Proxy Sites Foil Filters
Keeping a schoolâ€™s online usage safely within acceptable bounds is a never-ending challenge given the technical savvy of many of todayâ€™s students.
- Bringing Computer Science to K-12
Fulfilling its mission of bringing greater exposure to the study of computer science in the K-12 sector, the Computer Science Teachers Association is providing more than 36,000 teachers with free access to computer science resources.
- Learning on the Go
Students in the St. Charles (LA) Parish public school are learning on the go, thanks to handheld computers they use in the classroom and take on field trips.
- New Supercomputer Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is building a new supercomputer center, the Computational Center for Nanotechnology, that will be operational by the end of 2006.
Beyond Internet Searching
Teachers, media specialists and librarians all work hard at helping students understand that Internet research means more than just doing a Google search and settling for those results. The trick is melding the ease and breadth of Internet searching with more conventional research methods. Students need to have a clear grasp of the question they are researching and then need to examine every source for its relevance and credibility. Teachers frequently complain that students are too prone to just cut and paste information from their Web searches. The solution, according to experts, is to make the assignment challenging and the research question complex enough that simply cutting and pasting wonâ€™t work. Itâ€™s all part of making students better consumers of information, capable of evaluating sources and synthesizing online information. When doing research, students at Hartfordâ€™s Hall High School first turn to the website created by the schoolâ€™s library media specialist. The portal allows students to search dozens of relevant resources simultaneously. It also points them to resources they would be unlikely to find by doing random searches, such as iCONN, the state's digital library. and databases of scholarly journals. Many teachers require that students use scholarly sources like journals, periodicals and books as part of their research to counteract studentsâ€™ tendency to rely solely on the search engine approach.
Source:The Hartford Courant
Proxy Sites Foil Filters
Keeping a schoolâ€™s online usage safely within acceptable bounds is a never-ending challenge. Itâ€™s not too surprising that todayâ€™s digital natives know their way around the backdoors of the Internet. Add to that knowledge the challenge of getting past the filters and into forbidden territory and itâ€™s no wonder that at least some web-savvy students take the risk of violating their schoolsâ€™ acceptable use policies (AUPs). One of the latest tricks is the use of proxy servers to get around the filters. Web, or CGI, proxies are Web sites or applications that allow users to access other sites through them. School routinely block known proxy sites, but they spring up so quickly that there always seems to be a new alternative. Students are also setting up their home computers as proxies. The IT staff has to track those down the hard way, eventually finding the computerâ€™s IP address and blocking it. There are other popular tricks in use, as well. Users can trick a filter by typing in misspelled words or slang to retrieve links to racy material. Translation sites Babelfish or Google Translate can deliver sites like Playboy.com translated from another language. Thereâ€™s no perfect technical solution, which is why a solid AUP, diligently enforced, and ongoing education about Internet safety is so important.
Bringing Computer Science to K-12
An increasing number of 21st Century jobs will require science, engineering and technical training. Students need exposure to these disciplines and guidance in developing the prerequisite skills long before they enter college. According to the Department of Education, 82% of United States high school seniors are below proficient levels in science. Most have little exposure to computer science. To be sure that the pipeline stays filled with engineers, computer scientists and other knowledge professionals, itâ€™s important to start students building the prerequisite skills at an early age. Bringing greater exposure to the study of computer science in the K-12 sector is the mission of the Computer Science Teachers Association. CSTA is collaborating with IBM to accelerate computer science and technology skills among high school students. The partnership will provide more than 36,000 teachers with free access to computer science resources in an effort to improve teachers' expertise and help students acquire necessary skills for jobs in the 21st century. The materials, piloted at half a dozen high schools nationwide, are designed to incorporate concepts of computer programming and Web design into everyday math and science classes. Teachers can also access a professional development module that they can use to improve their own teaching strategies. Using the techniques outlined in this module, teachers can lead a series of group exercises that teach students how to collaborate with each other and solve complex problems, skills identified as essential to success in the 21st Century workplace.
Learning on the Go
Students in the St. Charles (LA) Parish public school are learning on the go, thanks to their use of handheld computers. In addition to units owned by individual schools, the district purchased 42 handheld computers that are available to teachers to "check out" for short-term use. A group of 7th graders used their handhelds, Global Positioning System receivers and digital cameras recently on a field trip to learn more about plantation life. After retrieving hidden caches of information about significant sites in the plantation's operation, such as the barn, the slave quarters and the infirmaries, teams of students searched them out with the GPS receivers and coordinates stored by their teachers in the handheld computers. Once they returned to the classroom, students used the information they had gathered on the trip to create to create PowerPoint presentation. The handhelds allow students to copy notes directly to the computer, where they can be edited and used for writing reports. Students can beam their work to one another for further editing and collaboration. Students can also use a graphical organizer installed on the handhelds to organize information.
New Supercomputer Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is building a new supercomputer center, with support from a number of high-tech companies, including IBM, Cadence and Advanced Micro Devices. The new Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations is expected to be operational by the end of 2006. With a budget of roughly $100 million, the new supercomputing center will be the largest at any university and among the 10 largest facilities in the world. Researchers at the center will attempt to design transistors and other devices measuring only a few nanometers long (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter). Ultimately the research could contribute to the way semiconductors and processor chips are built. New York state, home to Rensselaer, is pursuing a strategy designed to make it a leader in nanotechnology research that includes tax breaks, infrastructure development and educational programs.