Week of: July 16, 2007
- Media Literacy Survey and Toolkit
State educational technology leaders say they are increasing their focus on ensuring students' online safety, protecting personal information, and promoting ethical online behaviors, according to a new survey.
- Enhanced Career and Technical-Education
Thanks to the Joint Technological Education District, 11 school districts in Arizona's Yuma County are able to offer their high school students enhanced career and technical-education courses.
- Software Information Toolkit
Effective implementation practices often make the difference in obtaining successful or disappointing results from both instructional and administrative software applications.
- iPods Offered as Summer School Incentive
Seattle high school students who complete a five-week summer school session designed to prepare them to pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning will be rewarded with an iPod shuffle.
- Robot Hall of Fame
What do Star Trek's Commander Data, the Raibert Hopper, NavLab 5 and LEGO Mindstorms have in common? They are the 2007 inductees into Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame.
Media Literacy Survey and Toolkit
State educational technology leaders say they are increasing their focus on ensuring students' online safety, protecting personal information, and promoting ethical online behaviors, according to a new survey. The survey, The Changing Media Landscape: Ensuring Students' Safety and Success in School & the Future Workplace, was conducted by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) of their members in cooperation with Cable in the Classroom to better understand the evolving challenges and opportunities offered by technology and to help develop best practices and standardized tools to address these issues nationwide. The survey asked states to rank their needs and areas of interest regarding media literacy issues. States and schools are making progress, but still need support to develop state definitions, standards and assessments of media literacy. The survey found that only 59% of states report that they define media literacy or information literacy and that they have standards for media literacy. Twenty-one states report that their media literacy standards are embedded within various content areas, whereas, nine states report that the standards are stand alone. Just seven states report that they assess media literacy standards. The strongest need, however, was in the area of safety, with 69% of states reporting that protecting children from predators and other online dangers is one of their strongest needs. One survey goal was to identify best practices in order to help states work together to update their standards, instructional resources, and professional development practices. SETDA developed The Changing Media Landscape Toolkit designed to provide strategies and free materials that stakeholders can use to promote a systemic approach to developing fluency for all students in all aspects of media including traditional literacy, technology, ICT, and media literacy education.
Enhanced Career and Technical-Education
Thanks to the Joint Technological Education District, 11 school districts in Arizona's Yuma County are able to offer their high school students enhanced career and technical-education courses. Voters in those 11 districts approved membership in the JTED in November of 2006. The Arizona Legislature enacted the JTED law in 1990, allowing public school districts to form JTEDs for the purposes of improving vocational education offerings and serving students more cost-efficiently. JTED member district together receive up to 1.25 Average Daily Membership funding, depending on the amount of instruction minutes provided. The additional funding allows member districts to try out new approaches. Flowing Wells, one of Yuma County's JTED members, will receive about $429,000 in JTED funding for the 2007-2008 school year to cover the cost of 28 JTED courses, including new courses in graphic arts, information-technology fundamentals and Web-page development. The district will also operate a pilot program that will provide handheld computers to 50 freshmen enrolled in agriculture courses. Students will also use the handhelds in English and social studies classes, where teachers will coordinate their curriculum with the curriculum in the introduction to agriculture and agriculture biology classes. The district envisions the handhelds taking the place of paper and pencil. JTED funding will also support Improvements to the school's greenhouse and photo and auto-mechanic labs. JTED will also cover most of the tuition costs for students taking classes at the Tucson College of Beauty and Pima Community College.
Source:Arizona Daily Star
Software Information Toolkit
Effective implementation practices often make the difference in obtaining successful or disappointing results from both instructional and administrative software applications. Proper planning, teacher training, school leadership, technical support, configured hardware, network infrastructure and Internet access, pedagogy and instructional use, intensity of software use and other conditions and practices are all inseparable from results. Recognition of these and other important factors is necessary to ensure a successful implementation. To support educators' efforts to achieve success, the Education Division of the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) released the Software Implementation Toolkit, which illustrates the steps involved throughout the implementation process. The toolkit identifies the roles of the vendor and customer, and outlines the expectations and responsibilities for both. It includes sample scenarios and worksheet templates that educators and administrators can use to apply the toolkit's concepts and concrete tools to their specific projects. Throughout, it emphasizes the importance of working closely with the vendor, establishing effective and consistent communication and cooperation. The Toolkit contains comprehensive information on implementing software products, allowing schools to match the information they use to the scope of the implementation in question. The entire kit and its planning tools can be downloaded from the SIIA web site.
iPods Offered as Summer School Incentive
Seattle high school students who complete a five-week summer school session designed to prepare them to pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning will be rewarded with an iPod shuffle. Summer College, a joint program of the Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Community Colleges, offers one program focused on students who fared very poorly on the math section of the WASL and includes one-on-one tutoring. The other program, for students who failed either the math or reading section, includes classes in literacy, math, and enrichment courses. Enrollment is down sharply this year, prompting the iPod incentive. Only 80 of the 270 slots are filled so far. High schoolers in the class of 2008 and beyond must pass the reading and writing sections of the WASL, but have been granted a reprieve on math. The math requirement has been postponed fro six more years, removing any urgency students may have felt about that portion of the test. An anonymous donor is paying for the iPods that will go to students who complete the math-tutoring program, while the city will buy iPods for students in the second program. While critics may question this approach, officials point out that, while students may come for the iPods, they will leave the program with more confidence and an improved attitude toward school.
Robot Hall of Fame
What do Star Trek's Commander Data, the Raibert Hopper, NavLab 5 and LEGO Mindstorms have in common? They are the 2007 inductees into Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame, joining previous inductees including the Mars Pathfinder Rover; Honda's ASIMO robot; the HAL 9000 computer from "2001: A Space Odyssey"; the "Star Wars" duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO; and Gort, the metallic giant from "The Day the Earth Stood Still. Each year, Carnegie Mellon University assembles a jury of scholars, researchers, writers, designers, and entrepreneurs to select real and fictional robots for recognition and induction into the Robot Hall of Fame. Matt Mason, director of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute pointes out that this is the first year most of the inductees are real robots as opposed to fictional character like Data. While Data was portrayed as a fully sentient android, the Raibert Hopper was a one-legged, hopping robot that revolutionized thinking about walking robots. The lessons learned with the Hopper proved central for biped, quadruped and even hexapod running. Nav5 was an autonomous vehicle developed at Carnegie Mellon. capable of steering itself at legal speeds on everyday roads and highways. NavLab 5's crowning achievement was "No Hands Across America," a 1995 cross-country tour on which it did 98 percent of the driving. LEGO Mindstorms is the familiar building set augmented by programmable bricks with electric motors, sensors and structural parts that allows users to create robots and other interactive systems. The original version hit the market in 1998; the next generation, LEGO Mindstorms NXT, was released last year with curriculum packages developed by Carnegie Mellon, Tufts University and Vernier Software.