T&L News(44) - Tech Learning

T&L News(44)

Don't Blame IM for Bad Grammar New research claims that teenagers' use of the shorthand associated with instant messaging is not eroding their verbal and grammar skills in other settings. Start Early on Technical Competency In an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dennis M. Bartels, the executive director of
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  • Don't Blame IM for Bad Grammar
    New research claims that teenagers' use of the shorthand associated with instant messaging is not eroding their verbal and grammar skills in other settings.
  • Start Early on Technical Competency
    In an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dennis M. Bartels, the executive director of the Exploratorium, a science education institution in San Francisco, urges that America start its quest for competitiveness early – as in primary school.
  • Software to Combat Bullying
    eCIRCUS, developed by a European research consortium, is designed to tackle the problem of bullying using interactive role-playing software.
  • Online Marketplace for Teaching Resources
    TeachersPayTeachers.com is an online marketplace where teachers can find teaching materials and classroom resources created by experts — their fellow teachers.
  • Solar-Power Wi-Fi
    A new non-profit, Green Wi-Fi, is dedicated to bringing Internet access to schools in developing countries via inexpensive, solar-powered Wi-Fi networks.

Don't Blame IM for Bad Grammar

New research claims that teenagers' use of the shorthand associated with instant messaging is not eroding their verbal and grammar skills in other settings. Instead researchers say that teens display an extremely lucid command of the language. Researchers at the University of Toronto studied 70 local teens, comparing the way they use language when speaking and when instant messaging. The IM research sample encompassed a million words. The research focused not only on characteristic features of IMs, such as, acronyms like lol, but goes deeper by examining four features of grammar: intensifiers, as in that's so cool; the future system as in, the show tonight is going to be fun; quotatives, as in "he was like oh hi"; and deontic modality, as in "I have to go to work. Researchers found that IM mirrors speech patterns, with teen using both formal and informal speech in the instant messages. For example, teens were noted to use both "gonna" and "shall" to indicate the future tense. The research did show that the personal pronoun "I" was used more frequently than "you", "he, she" or "they" in instant messages than in other written communications. Moving forward, the researchers hope to examine other styles of writing compared to instant messaging.

Source:Personal Tech Pipeline

Start Early on Technical Competency

In an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dennis M. Bartels, the executive director of the Exploratorium, a science education institution in San Francisco, urges that America start its quest for competitiveness early — as in primary school. Bartels points out that it's unlikely that America will be able to turn out more computer science, math and engineering Ph.D's than India and China, by virtue of sheer numbers. Instead, by training the greatest majority of America's citizens to be technically competent, the country will be better able to meet the need for job creation. And according to Bartels, the way to do this is to improve science and math education inside every K-12 classroom, creating a fundamental change in most children's school science experience. By fostering the broadest development of talent starting in the earliest grades the problem of not enough American scientists and engineers will solve itself and the more significant benefit will be technical literacy across all job categories. To accomplish this Bartels makes some specific recommendations, including an internship program for novice math and science teachers; serious invest in curricula, student-learning assessments, and innovative programs that work for ordinary teachers and students, not just the exceptional ones; and support for the "informal" education sector (museums, media and after-school programs).

Source:San Francisco Chronicle

Software to Combat Bullying

eCIRCUS, developed by a European consortium, is designed to tackle the problem of bullying using interactive role-playing software. eCIRCUS (Education through Characters with emotional Intelligence and Role-playing Capabilities that Understand Social interaction) immerses children in a virtual school where they can interact with various characters. The children observe instances of bullying and can opt to assist the bullying victim as their "invisible friend. According to Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn, who along with an interdisciplinary team from the University of Hertfordshire's School of Computer Science worked on the software noted that this approach allows children to develop empathy and explore strategies to prevent or combat bullying. Preliminary research indicates that children like the interaction with the virtual characters and find the content interesting and believable. As the project moves forward, teachers and students will be included in developing refinements to the software and testing its use in classroom settings. UK and German schools will participate in a pilot, slated for 2007, that will both test the product's acceptance in the classroom and evaluate whether it actually helps to reduce bullying in schools.

Source:eCIRCUS

Online Marketplace for Teaching Resources

TeachersPayTeachers.com is an online marketplace where teachers can find teaching materials and classroom resources created by experts — their fellow teachers. Every teacher knows just how much time and efforts goes into creating innovative, engaging materials that support classroom instruction. Two teachers created TeachersPayTeachers.com out of their own frustration with the process. Launched in April, the site has about 200 active producers who sell their materials online, incentivized by the opportunity to earn some extra money. New teachers or those needing a little inspiration find the site a boon and report that they much prefer buying materials from fellow teachers than from traditional commercial sources. Teachers who wish to sell course materials pay a $29.95 flat fee to post unlimited course materials online. To keep the site running, the founders take 15% of each sale, allowing teachers to keep the rest. Materials on the site run the gamut, from a $4 guide on the building blocks of geometry to a $39.95 writing guide on how to write clear, concise and sharp essays. Since most of the materials posted are in Word or Excel format, they are easy for purchasers to modify to fit their own settings. Materials can be searched by topic, grade range or by state. The site organizers do not review materials posted. Instead, sellers are required to post one free sample so that potential buyers can evaluate the quality of what is being offered. Buyers can also rate the course materials they have purchased, providing further guidance for other buyers.

Source:Los Angeles Times

Solar-Power Wi-Fi

A new non-profit, Green Wi-Fi, is dedicated to bringing Internet access to schools in developing countries via inexpensive, solar-powered Wi-Fi networks. Turning to solar power gets around the problem of spotty or non-existent electrical power that characterizes much of the developing world. The network nodes, which will be mounted on rooftops, consist of a battery-powered router and a solar panel to charge the battery. The network's Wi-Fi signals are transferred over a grid using the 802.11b/g wireless network standard. Seed money for the project, enough to produce and test prototype nodes, has come from One Child Per Laptop (OCPL), which sees the network as one way to provide internet connectivity for its $100 laptops. While sunlight is in abundant supply in most of the developing world, weather conditions are variable. For example, India's monsoon season, which limits available sunlight, lasts for a month. Most commercial solar-based system can run for only a week without incoming light. It is possible to build larger solar panels to charge larger batteries, but that increases the cost. Instead, Green Wi-Fi opted for a solution it calls "elegant degradation." A controller situated between the battery and router regulates power to the router depending on the charge level of the battery and the amount of incoming sunlight. If power levels drop a bit, certain user groups are cut off, routing access to specific grade levels or teachers. When power is even more limited, the system limits bandwidth, allowing e-mails, for example, but blocking video uses. Green Wi-Fi's first full-scale pilot project is scheduled to start at the end of the summer. A Canadian aid organization has asked for Wi-Fi in three schools in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India. Green Wi-Fi is looking for additional funding to support the pilot now.

Source:News.com

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