- Blog at Your Own Risk
The Board of Community High School District 128 has established a code of conduct under which evidence of student involvement in "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.
- Learning To Write Electronically
Eighth graders at Booth Middle School in Georgia's Cherokee County used a new technology — e-mail — to learn time-honored rules of writing and grammar this year.
- Technology Is More than Just PCs
Oregon's West Linn-Wilsonville School District believes that a true measure of technology access has to go beyond just counting the number of students per computer.
- Cricket Kit Responds to Child's Imagination
Researchers at MIT's Media Lab have developed a new electronic toy designed to appeal to children's interest in art and music while incorporating elements of science, math and engineering.
- The Poor Man's In-Car Navigation System
New software can turn a mobile phone into a portable navigation system that provides automated turn-by-turn voice instructions that guide users to their destinations.
Blog at Your Own Risk
In the continuing debate about social networking sites and student blogging, Community High School District 128 has raised the stakes. The Board of the suburban-Chicago school district voted to establish a code of conduct that specifically targets blogging. The new policy, which goes into effect for the 2006-07 school year, requires all students participating in extracurricular activities to sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of their involvement in "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action. Parents will also have to sign off on the pledge. District officials say it's important for students to realize that blogs are not private. The notion that a district violates students' privacy by searching their blogs is inherently false, given that the Web is one of the most public places in the world. The district says it won't actively monitor social networking sites, but will instead respond to reports of inappropriate postings from other students, parents or community members. A number of parents believe that the district is overstepping its authority, insisting that monitoring students' off-campus activities is their responsibility.
Learning To Write Electronically
Eighth graders at Booth Middle School in Georgia's Cherokee County used a new technology — e-mail — to learn time-honored rules of writing and grammar this year. Their teacher, Janice Ramsey, spurred by both her interest in how the world relates to her classroom and her participation in the National Writers Project, developed a curriculum that teaches the elements of clear and concise writing through practicing those skills in electronic format. Ramsey is part of a team of teachers working through the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project to develop everyday ways for teachers to use technology as they teach writing. Aware that American business spends upwards of $3 million annually teaching workers how to write clear, concise e-mails, reports and other texts, Ramsey thought she could get a head start on that process right in her own classroom. She also believed that her students would find the use of electronic media more engaging. Ramsey starts by teaching her students that the same fundamentals govern the writing whether the format is an e-mail or a pen and paper letter. Who is your audience; what is your purpose in writing; what style and voice are appropriate, how do you structure what you write? Ramsey starts her students on familiar territory — electronic letters — before moving on to reports, essays, biographies and poems, all of which have some sort of electronic component. One of the goals of the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project is to share their work with other teachers, so Ramsey has worked hard to be sure that the techniques she is using can be adapted to classrooms with more limited computer access than she has. The effort is worth it, she believes, since her students not only got engaged and hade fun, they all got good grades, as well.
Technology Is More than Just PCs
Education Week's Technology Counts gave Oregon a D-minus in the "Access to Technology" category because of a high student-to-computer ratio. At least one Oregon school districts calls that assessment an oversimplification. Though the West Linn-Wilsonville School District had 4.4 students per instructional computer at the time of the study, compared to a national average of 3.8, computers aren't the only technology worth counting. Sixty percent of the district's classrooms are equipped with document cameras and many also have interactive whiteboards and data projectors. These technologies allow teachers to present technology-enabled lessons to the entire class, when appropriate. Teachers use the document cameras for much more than just sharing printed text or pictures. A science teacher can places an object on the document camera and use the high-resolution focus option to zoom in on key elements as they lead the class through a detailed examination. Some science teachers also do lab experiments on the document camera, which records and projects them at the same time, allowing students doing the same experiment to see exactly what the steps are. Another important element of providing instructional technology is being sure that teachers know not only how to use the technology itself, but how best to use it to enrich classroom learning. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District sees technology as a fundamental tool to enlivening the teaching and learning experience and believes that should matter as much as the computer count.
Cricket Kit Responds to Child's Imagination
Researchers at MIT's Media Lab have developed a new electronic toy that is designed to have broad appeal. MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten project set out to design something that would appeal to children's interest in art and music while incorporating elements of science, math and engineering. The resulting Cricket Kit just launched as a commercial product. The $250 kits include tools that children can use to build a cricket and customize it to play out almost any scenario they can imagine. Using puzzle-like software on a PC, children can create a program that will control their creation, send it via a USB cable to a portable beamer, which can then be used to deliver the programmed instructions to the cricket. Though expensive, experts say the kits help children step out of the role of passive users to become creators and designers of technology systems. Using their programmable cricket, children can explore the concepts behind sensors, robots and automation. One eight-year old tester programmed her cricket to play Happy Birthday and hid it inside a construction paper birthday cake she made to surprise a young friend. Others have programmed their crickets to sound an alarm in response to a particular stimulus or to dance around when nearby voices get loud. The MIT team's ultimate goal is to make programming systems accessible enough that all children, no matter how disadvantaged or technophobic, can easily learn to design animated films and video games. Stay tuned!
Source:The Boston Globe
The Poor Man's In-Car Navigation System
New software can turn a mobile phone into a portable navigation system that provides automated turn-by-turn voice instructions that guide users to their destinations. Users affix a small Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to the windshield, which determines the starting location. After selecting a destination, the route information is downloaded to a mobile phone, and turn-by-turn directions are provided. If the user misses or makes an incorrect turn, the GPS-enabled mobile phone alerts them and offers a new route. The service works in most metropolitan areas where the user has phone network coverage. For the GPS to work properly, the mobile phone needs to have a clear view of the sky and be away from tall buildings, covered parking areas, tunnels, and dense foliage. If the intended destination is a long distance from the starting point (more than 500 miles), there is likely to be some difficulty loading the entire route into the mobile phone. In that case, users are advised to add the final destination to their address book for future use and plan a closer intermediate destination. The GPS application can be paused to make or accept an incoming call.
Source:Personal Tech Pipeline