T&L News(8) - Tech Learning

T&L News(8)

Voters approved a $46.3 million override that will provide continued funding for the Kyrene Teaches with Technology Project, which provides wireless laptops and projectors for classrooms throughout the Kyrene Elementary School District. Research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 57% of teens
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  • Voters approved a $46.3 million override that will provide continued funding for the Kyrene Teaches with Technology Project, which provides wireless laptops and projectors for classrooms throughout the Kyrene Elementary School District.
  • Research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 57% of teens who use the Internet are “Content Creators,†having created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations.
  • It took 15 years, and some detours, but the Rutherford County (TN) Schools have achieved the goal, first established in 1991, of having computers in every district classroom. The district now provides more than 11,716 computers to serve 33,000-plus students.
  • Moore County Schools is now among North Carolina’s most tech-savvy school districts. Three years after placing 111th out of 115 school districts, Moore County now claims 16th place according to the North Carolina Annual Media and Technology Report. Learn how they did it.
  • We have a winner! "Stanley," an unmanned car built by the Stanford University (CA) racing team, autonomously navigated a 131.6-mile course in the Mojave Desert in six hours and 53 minutes, taking first place and a $2 million grand prize in the DARPA Grand Challenge. See race footage.

Voters OK Technology Funding for AZ District

Voters overwhelmingly approved the Kyrene Elementary School District’s $111 million bond request and the associated $46.3 million override. The override will provide continuing funding of the Kyrene Teaches with Technology Project, which places wireless laptops and projectors in classrooms, grade level by grade level. In the third year of the plan, nearly 300 elementary teachers each have five wireless laptops and a projector in their classrooms and have been trained in using them. Within the next three years, the district hopes that all 600 or so elementary teachers will have the equipment and training. Students use the technology to access, gather and create information; organize and analyze data; and communicate. Mentor teachers, who have been freed of classroom responsibilities, help teachers use the technology effectively. Teachers also collaborate with each other and discuss technology use with their principals. The override funding will also be used to expand the use of wireless pointing devices and projectors in middle school classrooms. The wireless devices allow students to control the projector, enabling them to share their work and interact with any computer application from their own seats. Each of 48 middle school teachers has the wireless control device, wireless keyboard, projector and a computer in their individual classroom. The money will also pay for software, network infrastructure for communication and Internet access, and other technology. Arizona districts frequently use bond issues and overrides to pay for technology, since the state does not provide any specific technology funding.

Source:The Arizona Republic

Teens Use the Net To Share Thoughts, Creations

If spending time on the Internet doing research or seeking out resources doesn’t seem to engage your students much, it may be because of how they spend their time outside school. Research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 57% of teens who use the Internet are “Content Creators,†having created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations. Some 21 million teens — 87% percent of those ages 12-17 — use the Internet, according to the Pew survey. Blogging seems to be the new Instant Messaging. Nineteen percent of American teens have created their own blog and 38% read them, compared to adult statistics of 7% and 26% respectively. And teens who blog are much more active Internet users overall and have more experience with almost every online activity. While the Internet has a worldwide reach, most teens use it — and their blogs — to keep in touch with a circle of friends and acquaintances, with 62% of teens who read blogs reporting that they only read blogs written by people they know. One out of three teens share content they have created online such as artwork, photos, stories or videos. Teens are also happy to share their expertise — 94% of teen bloggers have helped adults who have trouble online, while 79% of all teens report giving adults similar help.

Source:Pew Internet & American Life Project

Slow but Steady Takes District To Its Technology Goal

It took 15 years, and required overcoming a few roadblocks, but the Rutherford County (TN) Schools have achieved the goal, first established in 1991, of having computers in every district classroom. The district now provides more than 11,716 computers to serve 33,000-plus students. The district’s efforts began with a pilot program in grades K-1 at two elementary schools. In 1992-93, the Board spent $6 million to expand the pilot program in grades K-1 throughout the district. From the start, the district focused on using technology to enhance instruction. Computers were networked and equipped with software that went beyond drill and practice or remediation to ask students to solve problems and develop higher-order skills. By 1994-95, the district had met its goal of one computer for every five students in grades K-4. Funding problems delayed the district’s plans to expand technology use in the upper grades for three years. In 1998-99, the new technology plan called for equipping 12th-grade and fifth-grade classrooms with student computers. The next year, sixth and 11th grades received computers. It was the 2001-02 school year before seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms got their student computers, followed by ninth grade. This year the plan was completed with the roll out of computers in the district’s 10th grade classrooms. Over the years the schools have also added new technology to accompany their classroom computers, including interactive whiteboards and students response devices. The district has math and reading software that can pinpoint a student's area of weakness and provide them with computer exercises that help them grasp skills. The next goal will be to update the older computers, including the ones that were part of the pilot program 15 years ago — and which still work.

Source:The Daily News Journal

Moving on Up

Moore County Schools is now among North Carolina’s most tech-savvy school districts. Three years after placing 111th out of 115 school districts in the state, Moore County now claims 16th place according to the North Carolina Annual Media and Technology Report, which is mandated by the State Legislature. The district has purchased 5,000 new computers, networked every school with high-speed Internet access and given its teachers the hardware, software tools and the training they need without increasing its budget. Moore County has a knack for getting the most out of its budget. The district's average cost to install, operate and maintain computers was $87 per student, compared to the state average of $216 per student as reported in the annual TCO report. James Tagliareni, Moore County School’s chief technology officer, says they did it by making the Office of Information Technology run more efficiently and negotiating the lowest possible prices from vendors. The district boasts 2.5 students for each computer with Internet access, compared with the state average of 3.53 students per computer and the U.S. average of 4.1 students per computer. In 2002, most teachers at Moore County Schools didn't have email or computers in their classroom. Today every teacher has email and new classroom technology, from personal digital assistants that students use for in-class projects to interactive whiteboards. Most importantly, the new technology has had a positive impact on students. Eighty percent or more of the students in every Moore County school scored “proficient†on the state’s ABC Tests, which resulted in the highest number of schools being designated as either “School of Distinction†or “School of Excellence.†Students' scores on state computer proficiency tests have also improved.

Source:Moore County Schools

The Robots Are Driving

We have a winner! "Stanley," built by the Stanford University (CA) racing team, autonomously navigated a 131.6-mile course in the Mojave Desert in six hours and 53 minutes, taking first place and a $2 million grand prize in the DARPA Grand Challenge. Carnegie Mellon University’s "Sandstorm, whose average speed was 18.6 mph, compared to a 19.1 mph by Stanley, came in second. The race, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is part of the Pentagon's effort to cut the risk of casualties by fulfilling a congressional mandate to have a third of all military ground vehicles unmanned by 2015. While the military is currently using some autonomous ground vehicles stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are controlled by soldiers, often in the same convoy as the robot vehicle. Using the X Prize model that resulted in a successful launch of first manned commercial spaceship, DARPA upped the Grand Challenge prize to $2 million this year and toughened the race course, despite the fact that no vehicle had ever successfully completed the race. This year’s 20 entrants ranged from a modified ATV to a behemoth six-wheel truck. The majority were designed and built by teams of amateurs: entrepreneurs, college professors, and moonlighting engineers. Stanley was based on a Volkswagen Touareg, with a sensor array that used four laser range finders, a radar system, a stereo vision camera, and a monocular vision system for obstacle avoidance. GPS provided route guidance. Stanley's computer rack was made up of seven Pentium M processors. The Stanford team developed software to process sensor and GPS data, as well as control the vehicle based on that information.

Source:DARPA

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