Week of: August 6, 2007
- Teachers and Students Learn at Student Technology Academy
While students had fun experimenting with crime scene investigation and robotics at the recent Student Technology Academy, their teachers got the chance to try out a new science curriculum.
- Maine Joins 21st Century Skills Partnership
Maine became the sixth state to join the 21st Century Skills Partnership, a nationwide initiative focused on infusing 21st century skills into education.
- STEM Focus Sparks Interest
When Cedar Park Elementary School opens this fall it will have a new academic focus, as its new name, Cedar Park Elementary - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Magnet School, indicates.
- Wiki Site for Lesson Plan Sharing
A group of teachers from Charlottesville, VA are learning to use wikis to facilitate the creation and sharing of lesson plans.
- Applying Here? Send Us Your PowerPoint
The University of Chicago is asking applicants to its business school to include four PowerPoint slides as part of their application package.
Teachers and Students Learn at Student Technology Academy
Sixty middle and high school students from West Berlin, WI got a double dose of technology and science at the recent Student Technology Academy, while their teachers got the chance to try out a new science curriculum. Students enrolled in Academy strands - crime scene investigation, video game design, movie-making, automation and robotics - and spent their time building robots, designing video games, making a movie and investigating crime scene evidence. The teaching staff had the chance to test how well new science units that integrated technology worked with students. A computer teacher from Eisenhower Middle/High School is planning to introduce video game design concepts as part of an exploratory computer course that will be offered next academic year to middle-schoolers. The camp gave her a good chance to try out lessons with an eager audience. No matter the stand, there was more to the learning experience than the task at hand. Students who made a movie also engaged in discussions about copyright. Students making video games had to work together to combine individual games to create a more complex and challenging game. They also had to write critique of the various games. Grants and donations from local clubs and businesses helped pay for the Student Technology Academy.
Source:Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Maine Joins 21st Century Skills Partnership
Maine became the sixth state to join the 21st Century Skills Partnership, a nationwide initiative focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The Partnership encourages schools, districts and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century teaching and learning skills into education and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change. Making the announcement, Maine Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron pointed out that today's students need high levels of literacy and numeracy as well as global awareness and advanced work skills if they hope to succeed as citizens and workers in the 21st century. Maine is already working toward the goal of ensuring that students graduate ready for college and career, as well as citizenship. In June the Maine Legislature approved the revised Maine Learning Results standards which include guiding principles that reflect work force skills. The Legislature is also considering high school reform legislation that would require more rigorous standards, eliminate tracking, and put in place higher expectations for all high schools and all students to ensure they are globally competitive upon graduation. By joining the Partnership, the state will be able to take advantage of the group's resources, including the ability to network with members such as many of the nation's leading technology companies, and other national and state education leaders. Other states that are already part of the 21st Century Skills Partnership include Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
STEM Focus Sparks Interest
When the Cedar Park Elementary School opens this fall it will have a new academic focus, as its new name, Cedar Park Elementary - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Magnet School, indicates. To accommodate the new STEM focus, 4,000 square feet of new classroom and lab space is under construction, slated for completion by December. The revamped Cedar Park is part of a statewide effort to offer Minnesota students up-to-date instruction in science, math and related fields. In turn, the state's STEM emphasis is part of a nationwide concern about keeping America competitive in the emerging global economy. In Minnesota, 23 middle and high schools received grants in 2006 to improve their STEM teaching and resources. To ensure that teachers are up to speed in STEM disciplines, the Legislature appropriated $3 million to run Math & Science Teacher Academies throughout the state to provide extra training.Cedar Park Elementary will follow the standard district curriculum, but teachers will make an effort to mix STEM topics in whenever they can and will provide more in-depth science and math instruction. The new classrooms are being built with "see-through" sections, allowing students to examine the building materials, insulation, electrical wiring and color-coded pipes used to make them. Students will use the school grounds, which will be will be planted with native Minnesota grasses, as an outdoor science classroom. The school also hopes to acquire a weather station. While two other elementary schools in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan system will also become districtwide magnets schools this fall — one specializing in international studies and the other in arts and science—Cedar Park has drawn the most interest. Some 180 students from outside the school attendance area signed up for the program, bringing added diversity to a school whose current enrollment is over 50% minority students.
Wiki Site for Lesson Plan Sharing
A group of teachers from Charlottesville, VA are learning to use wikis to facilitate the creation and sharing of lesson plans. A wiki is a site that can be edited by its users. The most familiar example is Wikipedia, a free, multilingual encyclopedia which is written collaboratively by volunteers from around the world. With few exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. The Charlottesville teachers will use a fully editable community site to share lesson plans tied to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Such sharing could not only save time, but also improve teaching, as teachers adapt ideas from lesson plans that other teachers have found to be effective. The wiki site will make it easy for teachers to edit lesson plans directly on the web, adapting them to meet the needs of their individual classrooms. The wiki site will be password protected and any edits that teachers make to the posted lesson plans will need to be approved by their department heads. The possibility of including a discussion board where teachers could share how their students reacted to a given lesson is still under discussion.
Applying Here? Send Us Your PowerPoint
The University of Chicago is asking applicants to its business school to include four PowerPoint slides as part of their application package. University officials hope that students will see the new requirement as a chance to show off their creative side. It's a blank space, allowing students to express what is important to them. The university is hoping to counter its reputation for attracting technocrats and increase the likelihood of attracting more students with the cleverness and passion that can lead to real success in business. The university has set up just a few ground rules - no hyperlinks and no video. Students will not be judged on the technical quality of the slides, but on the creativity displayed. Observers say it's no surprise that a business school is the first to add a PowerPoint requirement. For one thing, PowerPoint is a standard business tool, one students will be expected to master. And unlike undergraduate institutions, there is much less concern that MBA students may not have familiarity with or access to technology. Truly technophobic applicants can create the equivalent of PowerPoint slides some other way and send them in by mail.