- Utah Electronic School To Test Entrepreneurial Waters
The Utah State Board of Education gave its approval for the Utah Electronic High School to begin negotiations with two local entrepreneurs to open a second, private, campus to serve 18- to 30 -year-olds outside of Utah who have not yet earned a high school diploma.
- Curriculum Web To Expand
The Bellevue Schools District will use a $1.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to complete creating a web-based curriculum to improve student achievement.
- Paperless in Miami
Fifth graders at Florida's Flamingo Elementary School have packed away their social studies textbooks and now use a collection of Web sites and other high tech tools to learn American History.
- Turning Gaming to Educational Ends
The Federation of American Scientists has called on the federal government to provide funding to support research on how best to design educational games to deliver positive learning outcomes.
- Coming Soon to Your Cell Phone Screen
A British company is touting a new technology in which text is flashed onto a cell phone display one word or short phrase at a time, a technique based on the tachistoscope.
Utah Electronic School To Test Entrepreneurial Waters
The Utah State Board of Education recently gave its approval for the nation's oldest and largest Electronic High School to begin negotiations with two Salt Lake City entrepreneurs to open a second, private, campus. The new campus would primarily serve 18- to 30 -year-olds outside of Utah who have not yet earned a high school diploma. Students successfully completing the required course work would receive a Utah high school diploma rather than the usual GED certificate. The operations of the Utah Electronic High School would not change in any way. The two businessmen, Anthony E. Meyer and Paul Zane Pilzer, want to buy access to the online high school's curriculum for their proposed American Academy. They would then resell those courses to adult and international students. If the plan comers to fruition, it would represent an unexpected source of revenue for Utah Electronic High school, which was established in 1994 and now offers a broad range of well-tested course offerings. Meyer and Pilzer first approached the State Board in June. They were asked to prepare a more concreter business plan, which the Board approved on November 3, agreeing to further study to determine if the proposed plan is feasible and legal. A committee of trustees and State Office of Education employees will now begin to explore the proposal in more detail. There is some concern about how the Board could assure the quality of the American Academy curriculum, not wanting the state's e-school to be associated in any way with what might appear to be a "diploma mill." The Board is also concerned that American Academy might siphon teachers away from Utah classrooms. Meyer and Pilzer expect to use Utah-licensed teachers for their program, tapping into a pool of retired and part-time teachers. They assured the Board that it was free to establish any restrictions it wanted to protect its interests.
Source:Salt Lake Tribune
Curriculum Web To Expand
The Bellevue (WA) Schools District will use a $1.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to flesh out its Curriculum Web project, completing the creation of a web-based curriculum to improve student achievement. The school district has already invested two years in designing the web-based system that provides information about courses, units and lessons, and resources to strengthen curriculum, instruction, and classroom learning. Curriculum Web provides an access point for students and parents to review curriculum and lessons that support learning and help with homework exercises Parents and students have access to course overviews, unit descriptions, pacing guides, vocabulary or terms and a variety of other parent/student resources, while teachers can drill down to find lesson plans, best classroom practices and ideas for each school day. Currently, Bellevue teachers can rate how well they thought the lesson plans worked and over the next two year the district hopes to open the site to other school districts and teachers from across the region to access lesson plans and post their comments and suggestions. Teams of district teachers will also work to expand Curriculum Web to include all subjects and all grades, add to the depth of information available for each area, and enhance the strategic use of technology within the classroom. The effort will help create a unified curriculum across all of the district's K-12 schools, ensuring that students are being taught what they need to learn to graduate.
Source:The Seattle Times
Paperless in Miami
Judy Herrell, a fifth grade teacher at Florida's Flamingo Elementary School, has packed away her social studies textbooks, instead using a collection of Web sites and other high tech tools to teacher her students American history. While it may sound easy, Herrell spends an average of 10 hours a week searching out appropriate web resources that support her lesson plans. Students love the approach and parents clamor to get their children into Herrell's paperless classroom. Students who are part of Herrell's class must have home access to a computer and the Internet, since they are essential to getting assignments completed. Students use the Internet to do research and present their findings and projects using PowerPoint. Herrell also communicates with her students via e-mail. Herrell started her experiment in 1999, supported by a $500,000 federal technology grant. Though Dade County has focused on increasing the use of technology in all its schools, Herrell's classroom is the only paperless environment in the district. Flamingo is also one of 40 Dade County schools that participate in a program that teaches students to build their own computers, which they are then able to take home.
Source:The Miami Herald
Turning Gaming to Educational Ends
It's official. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has concluded that video games can be used as serious tools for student education. The conclusions were drawn from a summit held last year in Washington, DC and sponsored by the FAS, the Entertainment Software Association, and the National Science Foundation. The summit, composed of nearly a hundred experts ranging from the video game industry to teachers, focused on four key issues: video game features that support learning, research needed to support video games in education, market barriers, and barriers in the school system. Following up on that summit, FAS has released a report recommending that the federal government provide funding to create more educational video games. The yearlong study found that the skills games teach — analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem solving under duress â€“ are skills that employers want in potential employees. Games are both engaging and challenging, causing players to devote hours to acquiring the skills necessary to win. The report acknowledges that designing games for learning is different from designing games for entertainment and calls on the Departments of Education and the National Science Foundation to take the lead in conducting research that develops a sound understanding of which features of games are important for learning and why, and how best to design educational games to deliver positive learning outcomes.
Source:The Seattle Times
Coming Soon to Your Cell Phone Screen
A British company, ICUE, is touting a new technology that delivers entire novels to cell phones without requiring the readers to constantly scroll through the text to get to new reading matter. Using a simple Java application, text is flashed onto the cell phone display one word or short phrase at a time. The approach is based on the tachistoscope, a rapid image recognition device sometimes used to teach speed-reading techniques. While that may sound like a hard way to read, the developer reports that 80% of users who download the software application and view the demo text go on to purchase e-books. Current users are divided between business and technology-oriented readers and teenagers. Teens' reading is split between the classics that are required reading for school and a list of contemporary books. Childwise Monitor, a UK research company, reports that 90% of British 13-to-16-year-olds use cell phones. ICUE has licensed the rights to cell-phone e-books from publishers like HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Pearson, Simon and Schuster, and Egmont, all of which have extensive young-adult or educational catalogs. Once it has a solid base in the British market, the company has plans to introduce its product in the United States.