- New Curriculum Delivered Online
Students in some Connecticut classrooms will find themselves learning in a new way this year, using new online curriculums developed by one of the stateâ€™s regional educational support agencies.
- Teachers Brush Up Skills in Summer Classes
All over the nation, teachers took advantage of summer vacation to sharpen their classroom skills, like the teachers attending classes at Kennesaw State (GA) Universityâ€™s Educational Technology Training Center.
- Vail Offers a Robust Distance Learning Program
Students enrolled in the Vail Distance Learning Program can take all of their middle and high school courses online, earning a high school degree.
- Start Your Students Thinking about ThinkQuest
ThinkQuest International 2007 is now open, inviting students ages 9 to 19 and teachers from around the globe to take part in this project-based, collaborative learning experience.
- Gaming for the Social Good
Games fro Health is out to turn the videogame into a tool for social good. The organization, made up of medical professionals, researchers and game makers, explores new ways to improve health care practices and policy.
New Curriculum Delivered Online
Students in some classrooms across Connecticut will find themselves learning in a new way this year. Their teachers, who attended the Connecticut Career Choices Summer Institute, will be trying out new online curriculums developed by the Center for 21st Century Skills, a project of Education Connection, one of the stateâ€™s regional educational support agencies. Teachers will pilot the three new curriculums — E Commerce; Information Technology Research and Development; and Foundations of Health Science and Technology — within their existing courses this years, but the goal is to have the new courses stand on their on in the future. The courses use a blended format in which teachers direct instruction using the online resources. Teachers will project the online curriculum content for their classes. Students will work on computers individually and in groups, using the various resources designed to support each units Teachers will correct and comment on student work online and students will collect and store their work in online portfolios. In the E-Commerce class, students will be challenged to from an online company, starting with researching the needs of their intended audience to creating a Web site for the product. Teachers believe the more interactive and hands-on approach embodied in the new curriculums will be more engaging for students.
Teachers Brush Up Skills in Summer Classes
All over the nation, teachers took advantage of summer vacation to sharpen their classroom skills, like the teachers attending classes at Kennesaw State (GA) Universityâ€™s Educational Technology Training Center. The 13 Educational Technology Training Centers located at colleges and universities across Georgia offer professional learning, consulting, and service for Georgia educators to promote the appropriate use of technology in support of teaching, learning, and leadership. The KSU center is designed to provide teachers hands-on experience with the latest technology tools, offering them a taste of a true 21st century classroom. The educators at KSU see the 21st century classroom as a place that supports collaboration, outfitted with tables for group work, a projector and an electronic whiteboard. Teachers are helped to learn how to develop 21st century skills, such as self-directed thinking and information skills. Students need to learn how to learn on their own — how to find, analyze and present information. Teachers help facilitate that learning in ways that engage students, ways that recognize that todayâ€™s students live in a world filled with technology tools. The teachers who take technology courses at KSU are learning how to integrate technology into the curriculum to support the stateâ€™s learning standards. The Georgia Department of Education has created georgiastandards.org, which provides links and Web sites to help teach the standards. By linking to standards-based resources, the site helps teachers save time as they search for educationally appropriate Internet resources. The KSU staff says that it would cost about $35,000 to equip a classroom with all the equipment on display at the Educational Technology Training Center, which includes printers, scanners, digital cameras, science probes, graphing calculators, document cameras, projectors, DVD players and laptop carts.
Vail Offers a Robust Distance Learning Program
Students enrolled in the Vail Distance Learning Program (VDLP) can take all of their middle and high school courses online, earning a high school degree. The only time they need step into a Vail school building is to take mid-term and final exams and state-required tests like the Terra Nova and AIMS (Arizonaâ€™s Instrument to Measure Standards). High school seniors must attend two classes during 12th grade to complete senior exit projects. The VDLP courses are free to students since they constitute the studentâ€™s public education. Some students who both attend a Vail public school and take extra courses through the Distance Learning Program may be required to pay a fee. VDLP offer 65 interactive, multimedia courses, each developed by qualified, certified instructors who understand the cognitive learning process and accommodate multiple learning styles. Each course is contains 90 hours of instruction and is aligned to Arizona state as well as national educational standards. The program is accredited by the North Central Regional Association of Colleges and Schools. Certified instructors are assigned to each course, communicating with students via e-mail. Students work at their own pace, although they are required to finish each course within a specified time frame. Students maintain and turn in a weekly log that documents the time they spent on assignments. Parents can go online to see what assignments have been turned in and check on grades.
Source:Arizona Daily Star
Start Your Students Thinking about ThinkQuest
The new ThinkQuest competition, ThinkQuest International 2007, is now open, inviting students and teachers from around the globe to take part in this project-based, collaborative learning experience. ThinkQuest is open to students between the ages of 9 and 19 and their teacher-coaches from anywhere in the world. The program promotes collaboration and cross-cultural learning by encouraging students to team with peers in other regions to create an innovative website on any topic within a broad range of educational categories. Teams, including members from 17 countries, submitted 658 educational Web sites for ThinkQuest 2005. Winning sites included "Tiny but Dangerous" (an examination of mosquito born diseases), "Time Trek" (time travel to historic civilizations) and "e-Divide: Information Inequality." In the process of creating their site, students learn and practice research, writing, technology, and teamwork skills. All competing teams have the opportunity to create Web sites that can be used as educational resources by students worldwide, as part of the ThinkQuest Library. Teachers find that ThinkQuest fits in well with learning standards, particularly by providing ways for students to research and present their findings to an authentic audience. All submitted Web sites for ThinkQuest International 2007 will be judged by professional educators. Entries are due in April 2007, allowing teams up to eight months to build their Web sites.
Gaming for the Social Good
Games fro Health is out to turn the videogame into a tool for social good. The organization, made up of medical professionals, researchers and game makers, explores new ways to improve health care practices and policy. Co-founder and director Ben Sawyer points out that in addition to improving memory and eye-to-hand coordination, games can be used to increase awareness of world issues, help with social phobias and can even treat people with serious illnesses. Games that can be used to achieve some of those goals will be on display at the Games for Health Conference to be held in Baltimore in late September. "Benâ€™s Game" grew out of the real life experience of a young leukemia sufferer. Urged by his doctors to find ways to visualize his body healing, Ben and his mother talked about imagining his medicine as a Pac Man video game, eating the cancer cells. This became the catalyst for "Benâ€™s Game," where the goal is to destroy all mutated cells and to collect the seven shields that provide protection from the common effects of chemotherapy. "Food Force" from the United Nations World Food Programme tells the story of a hunger crisis on the fictitious island of Sheylan. Comprised of six mini games or missions, the game takes users from an initial crisis assessment through to delivery and distribution of food aid, with each sequential mission addressing a particular aspect of this challenging process. "PeaceMaker," developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center, asks the player to take the role of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President. The player must react to in-game events, from diplomatic negotiations to military attacks, and interact with eight other political leaders and social groups in order to establish a stable resolution to the conflict before his or her term in office ends. At heart, these games take users to new places and allow them to explore, experiment and learn at their own pace, examining multiple aspects of a problem to reach a possible solution. And when well designed, they have the power to captivate users in the same way that the best of the entertainment games do.