- Computer Mania Day's Digital Guest Speaker
Attendees at Computer Mania Day, an event designed to get girls interested in technology and computing careers, will be greeted by Jennifer Webb, a 3-D, digitally animated 8th grader.
- America's Digital Schools 2007
America's Digital Schools 2007, designed to gather information on technology use in American schools, is inviting technology directors to respond to its new online survey.
- Technology Brings History to Life
Technology – including computers, the Internet and virtual museums – is helping transform the way students learn history, making it more enjoyable and more likely to be remembered.
- Cell Phone Debate Continues
Three years after Florida passed a law allowing students to carry cell phones on school campuses, districts are still trying to find the best ways to control the use of those phones during school time.
- MySpace Tests News Service
MySpace, best known as the place to meet and greet on the Net, had launched MySpace News, a service that finds and posts news stories and allows users to rate them.
Computer Mania Day's Digital Guest Speaker
Attendees at Computer Mania Day, an event designed to get girls interested in technology and computing careers, will be greeted by Jennifer Webb, a 3-D, digitally animated puppet. Sponsored by the Center for Women and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Computer Mania Day is an annual day of free, hands-on, high-tech, fun activities. Jennifer Webb is the creation of UMBC's Imaging Research Center in partnership with student puppeteers and actors from the theatre department. She represents cutting edge technology that can figuratively and literally talk to girls to get the message across that technology is fun. To be sure Jennifer would appeal to the target audience of middle school girls, IRC faculty and student animators studied videotape of middle school girls from previous Computer Mania Day events to get the slang, mannerisms and fashions just right. The result is a digitally animated 8th grader who flips her ponytail, IMs and enjoys school, especially her algebra class. Jennifer's image is projected on a large screen. Her head, body and eyebrow movements are controlled by a puppeteer using joysticks and a foot pedal. An acting student is Jennifer's voice. As she speaks, the on-screen character's mouth moves in synch. During a scheduled panel session, Jennifer's creators will discuss how bringing Jennifer Webb to life taught real-world lessons and share behind-the-scenes video. A few lucky girls from the audience will get a chance to make the puppet come to life. Students can also sign up for other hands-on workshops led by positive female role models from UMBC along with business, government and education leaders. The day is designed to give a broad introduction to how various careers use information technology.
America's Digital Schools 2007
America's Digital Schools 2007, designed to gather information on technology use in American schools, is inviting technology directors to respond to its new online survey. Building on the results of the 2006 study, the America's Digital Schools 2007 survey will explore six topics — implementation success factors in 1:1 computing, learning management systems, online assessment, computing devices, interactive whiteboards, Internet bandwidth — in greater depth. Working to provide administrators, educators and policy decision makers with longitudinal data, the new version addresses topics identified through discussion with school districts, legislators and business partners. Educators are encouraged to participate in the industry-wide conversation about technology in education by taking the America's Digital Schools 2007 survey. The survey can be downloaded at http://www.ads2007.org and should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. Data collection will close on May 24. Participants who complete the survey will receive a complimentary copy of the report (valued at $600) after the results are compiled in the fall of 2007. Key finding from America's Digital Schools 2006 can be found at the web site. America's Digital Schools 2007 is sponsored by Pearson Education, Promethean, AMD and Qwest Communications and supported by education and industry organizations including AASA, CoSN, ISTE, NSBA, SETDA and SIIA.
Source:America's Digital Schools
Technology Brings History to Life
Technology — including computers, the Internet and virtual museums — is helping transform the way students learn history, making it more enjoyable and more likely to be remembered. The new Canadian curriculum, which covers Canadian history from the beginning through World War I, requires the use of technology. One way of meeting that requirement is by using virtual museum sites such as Virtual Museum Canada, which provides interactive lesson plans for units such as the War of 1759. The site is designed to allow students to explore the topic from a number of different perspectives — French colonists, English colonist, First Nations people — an approach not typically supported by more traditional instructional materials. Teachers report that students seem to be more deeply involved when using technology tools. The ability to not just read about historical content, but to see and hear it also makes it possible for students at all levels to participate in the learning. But it's not all fun and games. Students in Carrie Zunti's 7th grade still take end-of-unit tests to assess their progress. But they also fill out a form that allows them to evaluate the learning program and make suggestions for change. Zunti uses those forms to create stronger units for next year. While creating units that integrate technology resources takes more time, Zunti believe it is well worth the effort, since students learn not just about history but also about the technology tools they will use the rest of their lives. Her students say that they find history class more interesting because of the technology they use. Since many students use computers regularly outside of school, they think it makes perfect sense that they can now use technology in school as well.
Cell Phone Debate Continues
Three years after Florida passed a law allowing students to carry cell phones on school campuses, districts are still trying to find the best ways to control the use of those phones during school time. While parents and other advocates argue that cell phones provide an extra layer of security, allowing parents to keep in touch with their children, teachers tell stories of the same cell phones being used to cheat on tests, to take and distribute all kinds of inappropriate pictures and as instruments of bullying. Most school districts have rules that forbid the use of cell phones in class and some don't allow the phones to be used anywhere on campus. But that's easy to say and hard to enforce. How bad is it, Students in Bay County fielded a survey to try and quantify the problem. Of the 700 juniors and seniors surveyed, almost half said they had used their phone while at school and one-third admitted to using their cell phones in the classroom. Cell phones are the leading cause of suspension at Southeast High in Manatee County. Teachers confiscate at least three cell phones a day. The school's principal plans to purchases either a cell phone jammer, a device that blocks all cell phone signals in the school or a single classroom, or a cell phone detector that lights up when a student's cell phone is on.
MySpace Tests News Service
MySpace, best known as the place to meet and greet on the Net, launched MySpace News, a service that finds and posts news stories and allows users to rate them. The new service is designed to keep MySpace visitors at the site for longer periods of time. That in turn, will make MySpace more attractive to advertisers, allowing News Corp, MySpace's parent company, to grow its ad revenues. MySpace News mixes the thematic news presentation of Google News with Digg.com's user rating system that displays stories according to their popularity ranking. MySpace News will have 25 main topics and about 300 sub-categories ranging from celebrities and gossip to autos and fashion. MySpace executives say that the news service will draw from a wider range of news sources than Google News. The beta test of MySpace News is part of News Corp's larger strategy of courting entertainment and other types of content as it tries to secure a leading position on the Internet.