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Building Smart Classrooms Jersey Shore Area High School is one of only 79 Pennsylvania schools to receive first round funding from the Classrooms for the Future high-school reform initiative. Irving ISD Plans To Spend $38 Million for Technology The Irving (TX) Independent School District is developing a new
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  • Building Smart Classrooms
    Jersey Shore Area High School is one of only 79 Pennsylvania schools to receive first round funding from the Classrooms for the Future high-school reform initiative.
  • Irving ISD Plans To Spend $38 Million for Technology
    The Irving (TX) Independent School District is developing a new long-range technology plan that proposes pending $38 million over the three-year period from 2007 to 2010.
  • Online Help for Maryland's High School Assessments
    The Maryland Department of Education is offering new online classes for students who need extra help in order to pass the state's High School Assessments (HAS).
  • Spreading the Word
    Using tools like blogs and e-mail and leveraging YouTube videos and social networking sites, today's teens use the Internet to spread the word about causes they care about.
  • GPS-Enhanced Campus Tours
    The University of Maine is using a new self-guided tour that uses a GPS-enhanced PDA/cell phone to introduce prospective students and other visitors to its Orono campus.

Building Smart Classrooms

Jersey Shore Area High School is one of only 79 Pennsylvania schools to receive first round funding from the Classrooms for the Future high-school reform initiative. The school will receive $83,000 this year to use toward establishing the smart classrooms the program requires. The district will equip its English, math, science and social studies classrooms with projectors, interactive white boards, Web cams, scanners and internet access. Teachers will all receive laptop computers and will participate in professional development designed to help them learn how to use the new technology tools to best advantage. The grant provides money for a Classrooms for the Future coach who will work directly in the classroom, helping teachers understand the technology and modeling technology integration. Each of the participating classrooms will also be equipped with laptop computers for every student. During the second year of the program, laptops will be placed in English and math classrooms. Laptops will be added to social studies and science classroom during the third year of the grant. While this model does not provide a true one-to-one environment — one in which laptops are issued to individual students for regular use, including at home — the one-to-one ratios in the designated classrooms will allow teachers to implement many innovative approaches.

Source:Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Irving ISD Plans To Spend $38 Million for Technology

The Irving (TX) Independent School District is crafting a new long-range technology plan. The district proposes spending $38 million over the three-year period from 2007 to 2010. The money will purchase laptops and other equipment and focus on maintenance, Internet access and staff development. Irving currently has about 10,000 laptops in use, largely at the high school level. While Irving has $10 million remaining from its last bond electing in 2001, when voters approved spending $55 million for technology, its likely that the district will have to hold a new bond election to cover the cost of the new technology plan. Irving also intends to tap local sources and hopes to realize increased funding from federal and state sources. Irving ISD is the only district in Texas awarded a full "Vertical Team" grant under the Texas Education Agency's Technology Immersion Pilot Program, allowing it to implement the program's one-student-to-one-computing device technology on three campuses, forming a vertical team of elementary, middle and high schools. The three schools shared $800,000 over the past two-years while implement ting the pilot. The new technology plan, which must be approved by TEA, addresses the district's goals, including training teachers to use the laptops more effectively in class. A recent survey of parents, teachers and students revealed some problems with the current laptop program. Some teachers don't make any use of the laptops in their classes, while some students use the computers inappropriately. Despite the problem, the survey found that most would support another bond issue to fund technology.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Online Help for Maryland's High School Assessments

The Maryland Department of Education is offering new online classes for students who need extra help in order to pass the state's High School Assessments (HAS). The HSA are end-of-course exams to test student's knowledge of the Core Learning Goals in English, Government, Algebra/Data Analysis, and Biology. Beginning with the graduating class of 2009, students are required to earn a satisfactory score on the HSA in order to earn a Maryland High School Diploma. The new High School Assessment classes will be offered in high schools around the state to any student who has failed or needs extra help to take the tests. Students would do most of the course on a computer in a classroom with a teacher present who could help answer individual questions. Teachers who have a group of struggling students — such as those who aren't fluent in English or are in special education — could stand before the class and teach the material, incorporating class discussions. Then other parts of the course would be done online. Algebra and American government are already available. Biology classes will start this winter and English II classes will start next fall. All high school students can also download actual HAS tests from past years or practice taking the HAS online at the Department's web site. Students practicing taking the HAS online can click on any item and listen to an explanation of the rubric and anchor papers used to score the item.

Source:The Baltimore Sun

Spreading the Word

In the hands of today's technology-savvy teens, the Internet can be a force for good. Using tools like blogs and e-mail and leveraging YouTube videos and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, students reach out to spread the word and mobilize action on causes they care about. Teens4Peace was founded by a 15 year-old high schooler concerned that there was no real organization for high school students to become socially involved. Spread originally by word-of-mouth, when the founder created a Facebook group, membership boomed. Facebook now has 4.5 million groups. While most have only a few members, several have tens of thousands of participants. Activist teens spend time on a variety of causes, ranging from Darfur relief to the Unity Petition that aims to get Democrats and Republicans to work together. Online groups promote discussion and debate over problems and solutions. Through links they can also provide members with specific information on the issues and ways to keep up-to-date. Groups can be national or international, allowing members to share different perspective. There is even a group — YouthNoise — whose mission is to help teens find and act on social causes.

Source:USA Today

GPS-Enhanced Campus Tours

The University of Maine is using a new self-guided tour to introduce prospective students and other visitors to its Orono campus. Using a PDA/cell phone with a global positioning system and a digital Compass, users are able to explore a defined area. The iPointer technology draws on a database of geographic data and multi-media content combined with a powerful geospatial search engine. Users can point the iPointer-enabled cell phone at campus buildings and landmarks and receive on-demand information, including text, audio, and pictures. When users point at a location, the iPointer applications use the positional receiver on the handset and an integrated digital Compass to create a search based on position and orientation, which is then sent to the iPointer Geospatial Search Engine over the wireless network. Geospatial selection algorithms identify the object selected and send multimedia search results back over the wireless network to the user's device. The initial research for the iPointer technology — a platform for developing next generation location-based services applications such as mobile search, GPS, geoblogging, pedestrian navigation, and targeted advertising — was conduced on the University of Maine campus. At Maine, the technology allows individual students to explore the campus on their own, while still learning about the basics. officials note than campus visits are among the most important factors in a student's college-selection University decision. They believe that the iPointer technology provides prospective students with a memorable, interactive experience.

Source: Intelligent Spatial Technologies

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