Week of: May 28, 2007
- New Technology Legislation Introduced
On May 23, HR 2449, the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Act was introduced in the House of Representatives, proposing significant improvements to the Enhancing Education Through Technology program.
- All the Facts about Online Learning
The National Primer on K-12 Online Learning, from the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL), provides a comprehensive overview of online learning by examining the basics.
- Webcasting Graduation
Schools are finding that a relatively small investment allows them to extend access to graduation and other school activities to at-home viewers, who access the events via the Internet.
- New Orleans Charter Group Plans Tech School
The Algiers Charter School Association (ACSA) is planning to open a technology-themed high school next school year.
Harvard University and BBN Technologies are building a wireless network that will eventually encompass the entire city of Cambridge, MA.
New Technology Legislation Introduced
On May 23, HR 2449, the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Act was introduced in the House of Representatives. The legislation incorporates significant improvements to the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program as part of the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ATTAIN would revamp EETT (Title II-D of NCLB), focusing funds on professional development and systemic reform that leverage 21st century technologies, prioritizing funding to schools in need of improvement, and requiring states to assess whether students have attained technological literacy by the eighth grade. Among other things, ATTAIN proposes increasing the share of funding distributed by formula from 50% to 60% and adding a minimum grant size in order to assure that more school districts receive allocations of sufficient size to permit them to operate significant education technology programs. ATTAIN also proposes a closer alignment of EETT with NCLB's core mission by giving priority in competitive grant awards to schools identified as in need of improvement and focusing formula grants on students and subjects where proficiency is most lacking. The proposed legislation also raises the portion of formula grants set aside for professional development from 25% to 40%, while emphasizing the importance of timely and ongoing training. To call attention to the age and functionality needs of school technology infrastructure, ATTAIN would require states to provide technical assistance and guidance to districts on updating their technology resources.
All the Facts about Online Learning
The National Primer on K-12 Online Learning, from the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL), provides a comprehensive overview of online learning by examining the basics. NACOL produced the report to fill the knowledge gap and provide a tool for parents, educators and policy makers as they attempt to make informed decisions about using, administering or funding online learning programs. Online learning is experiencing dramatic growth across the nation. NACOL reports that as of the end of 2006, 38 states have established state-led online learning programs, policies regulating online learning, or both. Of these, 25 states have state-led online learning programs, and 18 are home to a total of 147 virtual charter schools serving over 65,000 students. Though the programs vary widely, there are some common characteristics: the use of highly qualified teachers, learning management software, and digital course content to deliver education to meet a range of student needs. Despite the growth, online education faces a number of challenges, typically focused around trying to apply existing policies and conceptions related to what a school is to this new model of learning. The report examines teaching, learning, and curriculum in an online environment; evaluating academic success; professional development; technology use: and policy frameworks.
Schools are finding that a relatively small investment allows them to extend access to graduation and other school activities to at-home viewers, who access the events via the Internet. Some universities, like Rice and the University of Houston, have streamed their commencement ceremonies for years. Now the technology is making its way into the K-12 arena. And it doesn't really require a lot of technology – a cable, video camera and free software will do. The Web-based technology provides an inexpensive way for school districts to offer students and their families an attractive "extra." Officials in the Aldine (TX) Independent School District say they spent $150 videostreaming graduation and benefited from positive community feedback. The Laredo (TX) school district's first-ever webcast drew more than 1,000 viewers. In places where there are a large number of military families, the so-called "gradcasts" allow parents who are deployed overseas to share their son's or daughter's big day. The equipment also makes it possible for families to talk following the graduation ceremony. Gradcasts are also popular with grandparents who may find it difficult to travel any distance to attend graduation in person. Some districts are opening a local school for remote viewing, easing crowding and parking problems at the actual graduation site. Other districts broadcast graduation live via their cable television channel.
Source:The Houston Chronicle
New Orleans Charter Group Plans Tech School
The Algiers Charter School Association (ACSA) is planning to open a technology-themed high school next school year. ACSA was formed after Hurricane Katrina and now operates eight New-Orleans area schools. The new high school would operate on the campus of Julius Rosenwald Elementary School, which will be upgraded to meet the needs of high school students and to accommodate a high-tech emphasis. Algiers Technology Academy will serve 9th through 12th graders and offer three primary tracks: business systems, computer science and graphic design. Though there will be no admission requirements, the school's curriculum will be designed to be challenging. Students will need to be disciplined and highly motivated if they are to succeed. The school will be able to serve 400 students, but ACSA officials estimate that it will serve around 225 students in its first year of operation.
Harvard University and BBN Technologies are building a wireless network that will eventually encompass the entire city of Cambridge, MA. CitySense will be made up of 100 wireless sensors deployed on light poles around the city. Each node will consist of an embedded PC, 802.11a/b/g interface, and various sensors for monitoring weather conditions and air pollutants. Researchers agree that Cambridge does not need 100 weather sensors, but note that they are building for the future. CitySense is intended to be an open testbed that researchers from all over the world can use to evaluate wireless networking and sensor network applications in a large-scale urban setting. Researching how such a large-scale urban network works is expected to lead to practical applications in the future. There are five active nodes on the roof of BBN's Cambridge facility and five nodes on the Harvard campus. By the end of the summer, researchers hope to have 20 more nodes deployed around the city. Working with a city electrician, the nodes will mounted on street lights, drawing their power from the street lights' electrical supply. Messages and data will move across radio waves from sensor to sensor to convey information. Researchers hope to have the entire 100-node network built out by 2011. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.