Week of: July 30, 2007
- Governors Hear from Industry Leaders
Innovation and competition — and the role education can play in advancing both — were high on the agenda at the National Governors Association's national conference.
- Share Your District's Technology Vision
Take advantage of the chance to add your district's technology experience to the big picture by participating in America's Digital Schools 2007 survey, designed to gather information on technology use in American schools.
- School District Moves Toward Paperless Future
The Dallastown (PA) Area School District is serious about going digital, saving money and time by replacing paper records with electronic media.
- MO To Pilot Online Finance Test
The Missouri Department of Education will use its new personal finance class to launch a pilot fro a statewide online test.
- Help Map the Universe
Astronomers are inviting members of the public to help them make major new discoveries by categorizing digital images of nearly one million galaxies.
Governors Hear from Industry Leaders
Innovation and competition — and the role education can play in advancing both — were high on the agenda at the National Governors Association's national conference. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, outgoing chairwoman of the association, worked at advancing her Innovation America initiative, while the CEOs of AT&T and Google informed the governors about their problems recruiting qualified workers and struggling with what they see as excessive regulation. Part of the problem, according to AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson is an "underperforming education system, especially in light of competition from abroad. The governors, charged with keeping the local economy healthy, share the concerns about competing in a global economy. Napolitano's Innovation America initiative calls for increasing student proficiency in math and science by modernizing the teaching force, benchmarking academic standards and aligning assessments and creating new models for math and science education. Moving forward, the National Governors Association, in collaboration with Achieve, Inc. and the Council of Chief State School Officers, will launch an advisory group comprised of national and international experts, state school superintendents, and business leaders that will recommend action steps for states to compare their students' performance internationally and to ramp up their educational systems. In addition, NGA will create a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Communications Toolkit to assist states in talking with key stakeholders - including business groups, educators, parents and students - about the importance of STEM.
Source:The Arizona Republic
Share Your District's Technology Vision
Take advantage of the chance to add your district's technology experience to the big picture by participating in America's Digital Schools 2007 survey, designed to gather information on technology use in American schools. 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. The America's Digital Schools 2007 survey can be downloaded at http://www.ads2007.org and should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. For every survey completed by August 17, 2007, qualified respondents in large districts (4,000+ students) will receive a $25 Amazon.Com gift certificate. Every participating district 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
School District Moves Toward Paperless Future
The Dallastown (PA) Area School District is serious about going digital, saving money and time by replacing paper records with electronic media. By converting the papers used during school board meetings with electronic versions, the district has saved $30,000 in paper and copying costs since last October. At the same time, since the various reports and informational items were placed on the school district's Web site, more people now have access to the information. To broaden that access even further, the district is making 350 desktop computers that have been replaced with newer equipment available to families that do not have computers of their own. The price: $1 a year. The machines being offered to the community are 6 or 7 years old, of various brands and capacities. The computers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with parents calling a special number to put their names on a master list. Once the computers are distributed, the district plans on taking a survey and, depending on the number of students that have a computer or access to the Internet, decide to eliminate paper based school-lunch menus, principals' newsletters and other routine correspondence by moving the information to the district's Web site. If the district decides to go the paperless route, accommodations will be made for people who don't have access to the Internet. Meanwhile, since all district teachers have laptops, the district will no longer send a paper version of their direct deposit paycheck. Instead, if they want to check their pay stub, they will be able to do so on a secure district web site.
Source:The York Dispatch
Missouri To Pilot Online Finance Test
The Missouri Department of Education will use its new personal finance class to launch a pilot for a statewide online test. The personal finance class is one of the State Board of Education's new graduation requirements for all Missouri public high school students. The state has developed an online competency test for the course, which after further refinement will be made available to the state's school district by December or January. Districts that Districts that allow students to test out of the personal finance requirement or that incorporate personal finance material into an existing course, will be required to use the online test to assess students competency. Districts that offer a separate personal finance course may use the test at their discretion. Districts will be free to administer the online test, which will be available in several versions, whenever it fits their schedule. Missouri is also launching a statewide virtual school this fall and the personal finance class is among the most popular offerings for the school's inaugural semester. The state is also implementing a new requirement that will have all Missouri high schoolers taking the same final exams. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will implement statewide final exams in algebra, English and biology starting in spring 2009. Education officials hope that what they learn from the online finance test will help them in developing an online option for the statewide final exams.
Help Map the Universe
What do you do when you have move data than you could ever possibly analyze? You ask for help. That's exactly what a group of astronomers at the University of Portsmouth, Oxford University, and Johns Hopkins University are doing. The group has roughly one million telescopic images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which uses a 142-megapixel digital camera to create the largest digital map of the universe. The problem is sorting and categorizing those images in a timely way. So the astronomers are inviting members of the public to help them make major new discoveries by taking part in a census of one million galaxies. The goal of the project is to identify and classify galaxies all over the universe and create a distribution map of galactic types—primarily spiral versus elliptical, but with some variations as well. The human brain is actually much better at pattern recognition than the computer. The scientists point out that any computer program they might write to do the job would end up discarding "the unusual, the weird and the wonderful." Volunteers sign on at the new Galaxy Zoo site. They go through a short tutorial that helps them learn to distinguish galaxies by shape and then take a test. If they score at or above the cut score, they are then able to begin classifying galaxies. See for yourself.