- Bring in the Phones
Nashville's Metro School District has given free cell phones to the 26 students who make up its student advisory council to foster communication among the student leaders and the adult advisors who work with them.
- Students Keep an Eye on the Weather
Thirteen schools in Maryland's Howard County are home to WeatherBug tracking stations, allowing students to collect weather data and create their own local weather forecasts.
- PA Extends Broadband to 92% of Schools
Pennsylvania's Governor Edward G. Rendell announced $10 million in new grants to help connect intermediate units and school districts to the Internet with high-speed technology.
- Students Visit Costa Rica — Virtually
Students at McGinnis Middle School will start the new year by using GPS and laptops to track the progress of one of their teachers who is taking part in a Kean University learning trip to Costa Rica.
- Competition Abounds in Digital Library Arena
The Internet Archive received a $1 million Sloan Foundation grant to help pay for digitizing content from collections owned by the Boston Public Library, the Getty Research Institute, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Bring in the Phones
Nashville's Metro School District has given free cell phones to the 26 students who make up the district's student advisory council. The phones are meant to foster communication among the student leaders and between students and the adult advisors who work with them. The move also is intended to signal that the district takes the students' roles as leaders seriously. Administrators believe the cell phones will be additional safety measure, allowing students to call in fights or tip administrators to rumors of violence. Three students from every Nashville high school are appointed to the student advisory council. Students who received the phones will be subject to the same rules that govern students bring their own personal cell phones to school -- they can't be used during the school ay. The district received the phones distributed to the students for free, but expect to pay from $11 to $15 per cell phone each month. The student leaders will be given 500 minutes a month and will not have access to text messaging. Students have been told that the phones are to be used for "business" – contacting other students leaders to schedule and plan for meetings. School administrators will review records to make sure the phones aren't used for personal calls. Students will be required to pay for any overages and personal calls.
Students Keep an Eye on the Weather
Thirteen schools in Maryland's Howard County are home to WeatherBug tracking stations, allowing students to collect weather data and create their own local weather forecasts. WeatherBug's network of more than 8,000 tracking stations across the U.S., located largely on school grounds, provides live data to subscribers and other organizations such as television broadcasters and schools. The National Weather Service uses the data to complement its existing data collection resources. Each weather tracking station is mounted on a metal mast 10 to 15 feet high. Commercial-grade sensors and monitoring equipment that are capable of measuring 27 parameters are clipped along the length of the post. The stations are usually mounted on the school's roof. The stations feed information directly to a school web site, converting raw data such as wind speed, humidity and rain levels into east to use charts and satellite maps. Schools can also purchase WeatherBug Achieve, a software suite of teaching tools that utilize live weather data to build student math, science, technology and geography skills. The software includes weather and weather-related photos that students and teachers can incorporate into projects/presentations or browse just for fun, as well as a collection of lessons that integrate live, local and national weather data from across WeatherBug's network of weather tracking systems to create "living" lessons. Students who participate in the Weather Club at Howard County's Glenelg Country School particularly enjoy visiting camera-equipped stations across the country and watching the weather through time-lapse photography.
Source:The Baltimore Sun
PA Extends Broadband to 92% of Schools
Pennsylvania's Governor Edward G. Rendell announced $10 million in new grants to help connect intermediate units and school districts to the Internet with high-speed technology. More than $5 million in 2006-07 Broadband Connectivity Grants, which are used to boost broadband Internet capacity and develop technological infrastructure to provide opportunities for economic growth, were awarded to nine consortiums comprised of 134 school districts, 20 Career and Technical Centers and Area Vocational Technical Schools, one charter school, and one non-public school. Grant recipients are encouraged to provide connectivity to large geographic areas that have low speed or no connectivity by forming consortiums to leverage costs and services or to provide distance-learning resources and quality professional development. Over $4 million in grants will be used to continue eight, multi-year projects started during the first year of the Educational Technology Fund (E-Fund) grant in 2005-06. The 2005-07 grants combined will increase the availability of T-1 high-speed Internet accessibility to 92% of the schools across the commonwealth. The annual $10 million Educational Technology Fund was established in 2004. E-Fund grants, funded by Pennsylvania's telecommunications industry, will be available until 2011 to help schools acquire telecommunications services, hardware, technical assistance and provide distance education.
Students Visit Costa Rica — Virtually
Through a two-year partnership with Kean University, headed by Michael Searson, Kean's executive director of the Center for External Education and Development, some students at McGinnis School have received laptop computers to use in their core classes. The computers are allowing students to vicariously travel on an educational tour to Costa Rica, with a group of graduate students who are tailoring a curriculum for the students at McGinnis School. David Loniewski, a seventh-grade science teacher at McGinnis, is also going on the trip. The filed trip includes lectures, in-depth sightseeing, and experiential learning and is designed to allow participants to use current technologies, such as blogs, podcasts, digital stories and geocaching to reflect upon and share their experiences with others. Students back home in Pert Amboy, NJ will use global positioning systems and other technology to track the progress of the group and access their reflections on the Costa Rican experience. The group expects to visit several different preserves while also seeing volcanoes and tropical rainforests. Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. McGinnis students hope that Loniewski will bring back information on that environment and also hope to learn more about how technology is being used in the study of global warming.
Source:Home News Tribune
Competition Abounds in Digital Library Arena
The Internet Archive received a $1 million Sloan Foundation grant to help pay for digitizing content from collections owned by the Boston Public Library, the Getty Research Institute, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The works to be scanned include the personal library of John Adams and thousands of images from the Metropolitan Museum. The grant also will be used to scan a collection of anti-slavery material provided by the John Hopkins University Libraries and documents about the Gold Rush from a library at the University of California at Berkeley. The Internet Archive is a leader in the Open Content Alliance, a group comprised of more than 60 members, mostly libraries and universities. Although Microsoft is a members of the Open Content Alliance, it has also launched its own book scanning project, as has Google, who now claims to be digitizing 3,000 books a day. Google and Microsoft do not allow other search engines to index their digital books. The Open Content Alliance, on the other hand, is encouraging other search engines to index its digital content. Most of the roughly 100,000 books that the Alliance has scanned thus far are works whose copyrights have expired and going forward, the organization will only scan copyrighted content once it has received the explicit permission of the copyright owner.