- Laptops Come to OR Elementary School
After two years of planning and preparation, Eugene's Howard Elementary School has issued all of its 3rd through 5th grade students their own laptop computers.
- Testing the Potential of "iPodagogy"
In Australia, the Victoria Education Department has launched a pilot to examine students' engagement with the iPod as a learning tool both in and outside school.
- District Looks at Move to E-Books
The Forney (TX) Independent School District has an ambitious plan to move to the exclusive use of electronic textbooks in all its 5th through 12th grade classrooms.
- Students Take to Electronic Voting
Students at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, VA became the first in the county school system to cast their votes for student council members electronically.
- Welsh Libraries To Dispense e-Learning
The Gateways To Learning initiative, a project of the Welsh Ministry for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, puts libraries at the heart of an effort to encourage more adults into lifelong learning.
Laptops Come to OR Elementary School
Howard Elementary School has joined the relatively exclusive club of Oregon schools that equip their students with laptop computers. After two years of planning and preparation, all of Howard's 3rd through 5th grade students received their own laptops this fall. In the lower grades, the school has a ratio of one computer for every two students. Over the last two years Howard has purchased laptops for teachers and equipped classrooms with iPod shuffles, digital projectors, digital cameras and interactive white boards. The school also invested in building out the wireless infrastructure needed to support the laptop program. Presently, students do not take the laptops home, but that may change in the future. Over a four-year period, Howard expects to spend about $350,000 for the laptops, teacher training, software, support and maintenance and the salary for a technology coach. District officials are positive that the technology immersion will have a positive effect on learning, largely because they have prepared their teachers so carefully for the one-to-one program. The district hopes to expand the program to nearby Kelly Middle School and North Eugene High School, providing a seamless transition as Howard students move through the system.
Testing the Potential of "iPodagogy"
The potential of the iPod as a learning tool is being explored far beyond American classrooms. In Australia's state of Victoria, the Education Department has launched a pilot to examine students' engagement with the iPod as a learning tool both in and outside school. A group of year 8 students at Heathmont College have been given iPods and Macintosh notebook computers. The presence of the technology now makes it possible for teachers to experiment with incorporating the new tools into the everyday curriculum. While that idea appeals more to some teachers than others, the fact that today's students are so engaged by the technology is leading everyone to examine its potential. Since students are often very tech savvy, they sometimes overtake their teachers in understanding and using technology tools. Teachers at Heathmont believe that a portable device such as the iPod, which can store a podcast, video or classwork for use any time, anywhere, widens learning horizons. Students in Heathmont's German classes have made a podcast of their teacher reading a passage of text that they can listen to on their own. Some teachers use the iPods as an alternative to lecture-based classes. The Victoria Education Department's iPod pilot builds on the state's broadband internet-based communications for schools and its laptops-for-teachers program.
District Looks at Move to E-Books
The Forney (TX) Independent School District had an ambitious plan to move to the exclusive use of electronic textbooks in all its 5th through 12th grade classrooms, a plan the district hoped to realize within the next two years. On Nov 7, however, voters failed to approve the bond package the district intended to use to fund the change over, so it may take longer now to reach the goal of universal e-book use. The Forney e-book initiative was launched as a pilot program at one of the district's elementary schools. This year 160 fifth and sixth graders access all their textbooks electronically. The students are equipped with laptops that cost the district $895 a piece. The district expects that the laptops will need to be replaced every four years. Electronic books, which are typically accessed online or downloaded to student laptops, offer several practical advantages over paper. In a state like Texas, with an 8 to 10 year textbook adoption cycle, paper texts rapidly get out-of date, while electronic versions are easily updated to reflect the most current information. E-books are also easier to distribute and manage in rapidly growing districts, with no need to place new orders and wait for additional book shipments. And some day, e-books may prove to be more cost effective, though that's not the case right now. The Texas Education Agency orders the number of books that districts need, with the districts indicating the format they prefer. But paper or electronic, the TEA pays for the instructional materials just as it has always done. As more schools move to the e-book format, the pricing model may change.
Source:The Dallas Morning News
Students Take to Electronic Voting
Students at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, VA became the first in the county school system to cast their votes for student council members electronically. The school's instructional technology coordinator set up a polling station, equipped with four laptop computers and complete with wall extensions to keep the voting private. The school used freely-available web-based survey software to record and tally the student votes. Several other county schools will be switching to an electronic system in the near future. School officials say that the new system made it much easier to read and count the votes. Students had previously used paper ballots on which they circled the pictures of the students for whom they wanted to vote. Only the kindergarten class used paper ballots this time around. Students exhibited many of the same behaviors as adult voters. Some students turned to others for advice and help. Some expressed interest in going back and voting again. While most students thought electronic voting was fun and easy, a few students said they felt rushed, knowing that other were waiting to use the computers to cast their own votes. Overall, students felt that the new system was a step into the future.
Source:The Washington Post
Welsh Libraries To Dispense e-Learning
The Gateways To Learning initiative, a project of the Welsh Ministry for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, puts libraries at the heart of an effort to encourage more adults into lifelong learning. Gateways to Learning links more than 50 public and academic libraries across five counties of southeast Wales, an area that has experienced significant job loss in the manufacturing sector. The project, under the leadership of the University of Wales, Newport and Caerphilly County Council, is designed to enhance the contribution of the region's libraries to lifelong learning. Each participating library will set up dedicated Gateway areas offering a range of resources, information, guidance, e-learning materials, and computer access. Library staff will work with adult learners to help improve their literacy skills and guide them into education, training and employment. Learners will be able to search all the participating library catalogues from a single site, ordering resources that will be delivered to the user's home library. Learners will be able to translate their library research and study into a certificated qualification validated by the Open College Network. Gateways To Learning will run through August 2007, but its supporters hope that the participating libraries will be able to find ways to sustain the project as a permanent offering and even extend the concept to the rest of Wales.