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Robots Engage Students Pittsburg-area educators hope to use children's fascination with robots to get their students more engaged in math and science and motivate them to pursue careers in science and technology Parents Need Help To Keep Children Internet Safe Most parents believe that they bear the prime
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  • Robots Engage Students
    Pittsburg-area educators hope to use children's fascination with robots to get their students more engaged in math and science and motivate them to pursue careers in science and technology
  • Parents Need Help To Keep Children Internet Safe
    Most parents believe that they bear the prime responsibility for being sure that their children are safe online, but many are not sure they are up to the task
  • Teens Seem Confused about Some Aspects of Copyright
    While many teens acknowledge that downloading music or DVDs for free is illegal, they feel differently about making a copy of music or movies they own to share with friends.
  • Broward Implements High-Tech ID System
    Broward County (FL) is implementing a new computerized identification system — called Security Tracking and Response, or STAR — for the new school year. STAR will run background checks on all visitors to school campuses who come in contact with students
  • Electronics a Big Part of Back-to-School Spending
    Back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record $17.6 billion for the 2006 school year, including $3.8 billion for electronics like computers and calculators.

Robots Engage Students

Pittsburg-area educators hope to use children's fascination with robots to get their students more engaged in math and science and motivate them to pursue careers in science and technology. About a dozen Pittsburgh elementary schools and 50 schools throughout southwestern Pennsylvania will be working with robots thanks to a partnership between Carnegie Mellon University and LEGO Education. Students will build the robots using a $200 kit. Teachers will help students program the robots for many different purposes, guided by a curriculum developed by Carnegie Mellon University. It's all part of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy outreach program. The Academy's motto, "We're building engineers one child at a time" explains the motivation behind the program. The Academy is committed to using robotics to excite children about science and technology and to help create a more technologically literate society. The curriculum is child centered, with teachers working as facilitators to engage students in lessons that reinforce math, science, and technology concepts. Students work in teams to develop original solutions for each problem presented. They keep notebooks documenting all the applied mathematics and science principles they demonstrate in their design and prepare a presentation using presentation software. Designing, building, and programming robots immerses students in today's technologies and provides a meaningful context for the applied geometry, programming, computer control and mechanics that students use to complete their projects.

Source:Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Parents Need Help To Keep Children Internet Safe

Most parents believe that they bear the prime responsibility for being sure that their children are safe online, but many are not sure they are up to the task. According to a new Harris Interactive poll conducted on behalf of Cable in the Classroom (CIC), only 34% of parents or guardians of children ages 8-18 see themselves as "very knowledgeable" about how to educate their children to use the Internet safely and responsibly. Looking for help, 71% of parents believe that a major portion of the responsibility for ensuring children's safety on the Internet falls to schools. Only about half (49%) of parents think that the government and law enforcement agencies should have a lot of responsibility in the arena of children's online safety. The survey found that almost all parents (94%) had taken some steps to try and ensure their children's online safety, including talking to them about how to use the Internet (88%), monitoring online activities (82%), confining home Internet use to the living room or other open spaces (75%), setting time limits on their use of the Internet (74%), and installing software to limit or block their child's online activities (55%). More than half (54%) of parents surveyed reported seeking advice from other parents (54 percent), and many (42%) had sought advice from their child's school. In March, CIC conducted a related survey among classroom teachers and library-media specialists and found that most (60%) of these educators believe that their schools do not place enough emphasis on teaching media literacy – a cornerstone set of skills students need to make the best use of the Internet and other media technologies.

Source:Cable in the Classroom

Teens Seem Confused about Some Aspects of Copyright

While many teens acknowledge that downloading music or DVDs for free is illegal, they feel differently about making a copy of music or movies they own to share with friends. According to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, young people ages 12 to 24 widely believe that it's OK to copy purchased CDs or DVDs to share with family of friends. The music and movie industry disagree, taking the position that any copy made to give to someone else is illegal. They have come to see this type of copying as a greater threat than illegal peer-to-peer downloading. Young people have gotten the message about downloading, with 80% of teens ages 12 to 17 surveyed saying that downloading free music from unauthorized computer networks was a crime. However 69% of these same teens believed it was legal to copy a CD from a friend who purchased the original. The rules that govern this type of copying are confusing. Under federal copyright law, distributing free copies of a purchased CD or DVD is only a crime if the value of the copied discs exceeds $1,000. But such copying may be a civil violation or break a state law. A strict interpretation of the law says that any copying that has the potential to reducer sales is illegal. The Courts have been reluctant to weigh in on the issue of copying or distributing CDS or mixes to friends and such cases could be hard to prosecute. Instead the music industry is relying on a school-based campaign designed to convince kids that any kind of copying, including what they call "songlifting." is a crime.

Source:The Los Angeles Times

Broward Implements High-Tech ID System

Broward County (FL) is implementing a new computerized identification system — called Security Tracking and Response, or STAR — for the new school year. STAR will run background checks on all visitors to school campuses who come in contact with students, including parent volunteers and vendors. The system searches the U.S. Department of Justice's sexual offender watch list and the Broward Clerk of Courts database to check for criminal violations or a suspicious background. If something is found, the system returns a warning and displays a picture of the person is question. The school district guidelines call for banning anyone with a sexual offense in their background from school grounds. Other types of background problems will be decided on a case-by-case basis. For visitors who are cleared, STAR issues an adhesive paper ID badge that includes the individual's photo, name, date and reason for the visit. The information is also stored in a district database to be available on subsequent visits. Broward piloted STAR in 15 schools during the last school years. The $2.1 million system will be operational in all 229 of the district's schools by October.

Source:The Miami Herald

Electronics a Big Part of Back-to-School Spending

Back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record $17.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation's 2006 Back-to-School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. That's a significant increase from last year's total of $13.4 billion and much of the increase is accounted for by increased spending for electronics. While spending will jump in all categories, electronic and apparel purchases are fueling this year's back-to-school growth. Total spending on electronics or computer-related equipment for children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, such as home computers, laptops, PDAs, or calculators, is estimated to increase by more than $1.5 billion this year to $3.82 billion, rebounding after a sharp decline in 2005. While calculators and computers may be directly related to schoolwork, students will also be requesting (and getting) electronic accessories like iPods and cell phones. Retailers are helping to blur the lines, with advertising campaigns like "Elementary Necessities." that feature flash drives, camcorders, digital cameras, cell phones, education software and hand-held learning games. Parents can purchase backpacks with built-in speakers so that students simply plug in their MP3 or CD player to listen to music. Other backpacks come equipped with internal docking stations for iPods with controls located on the backpack strap. When you throw in paper, pencil and notebooks, the average family will spend $527.08 this year, up from $443.77 in 2005.

Source:The Washington Times

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