- Learn about America's Digital Schools
The new America's Digital Schools (ADS) survey indicates that American schools are rapidly moving toward a technology environment marked by mobility and wireless connectivity.
- E-Rate Update
Though Funding Year 2006 is proceeding smoothly, the future of the E-Rate program is not totally assured, as Congress rewrites the nation's telecommunications laws.
- AZ School Systems Ramp up Technology
Districts around Arizona's East Valley are expanding their use of technology to support instruction, with several launching pilots of high-tech classrooms.
- It's Not Just American Kids!
According to a new study, students in the UK complain that their school use of the Internet is too tightly controlled by teachers who emphasize things not to do.
- Historical Sites Reach Out via Podcasts
A number of the nation's historical sites are using podcasts to reach out to potential visitors.
Learn about America's Digital Schools
The America's Digital Schools (ADS) survey, released at NECC, indicates that American schools are rapidly moving toward a technology environment marked by mobility and wireless connectivity. Today, nearly 20% of all student devices are mobile. By 2011, the survey projects that number will rise to more than 50%. That rapid growth will be fueled to a large extent by the schools' adoption of ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing is defined as "each student and teacher has one Internet-connected wireless computing device for use both in the classroom and at home". Nearly one-in-four school districts are in the process of implementing a 1:1 computing program or pilot project. Among schools with existing 1:1 programs that tracked students' results, 87% report moderate to significant positive results. The rapid uptake of 1:1 programs will stretch school districts' ability to deliver appropriate professional development. Only 17% of district curriculum directors believe that their current professional development program is prepared to support 1:1 computing effectively. ADS projects that student appliances, tablet computers, and electronic whiteboards will be the fastest-growing product categories over the next five years. The ADS survey, conducted this spring, asked superintendents, curriculum directors and technology directors questions about current technology use and about the future of educational technology as a learning tool. Take the survey and compare your answers to those of other districts in your state and other states. Source: America's Digital Schools
Though Funding Year 2006 is proceeding smoothly, the future of the E-Rate program is not totally assured. Though reforms and new regulations have calmed much of the concern about corruption and abuse of E-Rate funding, there are still legislators who want to limit the program. Congress is in the process of rewriting the nation's telecommunications laws and the E-Rate is one area of debate. The House has completed its work, passing a bill that in no way alters the existing universal service fund or the E-Rate program. The Senate is still working on its version of the bill, which contains a number of E-Rate friendly provisions. The Senate bill was authored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK). The bill would grant the E-Rate program a permanent exemption to the Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA). The ADA requires that federal programs have the money in hand before issuing any funding commitments. Rigid application of that rule shut the E-Rate program down for three months in 2004. The Senate bill also calls for the FCC to establish a system to sanction applicants and providers who knowingly and repeatedly violate program rules, as well as creating performance measures for E-rate applicants. Most importantly, the bill proposes expanding the base of contributions to the universal service program (USP). Currently the universal service program is financed by payments from the telephone companies that provide long-distance services. But increased cell phone usage and services like VoIP are cutting into the payment base. Expanding the pool of telecommunications companies and services that contribute to the USP would go a long way toward providing program stability. Source:CRN
AZ School Systems Ramp up Technology
Districts around Arizona's East Valley are expanding their use of technology to support instruction. The Chandler, Tempe and Mesa school districts are launching pilots of high-tech classrooms where nearly everything will be done on computers. The Scottsdale Unified School District is asking voters to grant it an $89 million override. The district plans to use the money to purchase laptop computers for all of its high school freshmen, as well as installing interactive white boards, document cameras and wireless Internet connections in every school. The Mesa School District just purchased more than 25 interactive whiteboards for use this fall, while the Tempe Elementary School District's four high-tech classroom pilots will also use interactive whiteboards. Teachers believe that the whiteboards are more engaging, allowing students to get actively involved in learning rather than merely observing. But to be sure that the technology really is used effectively, teachers have to be properly trained and receive ongoing support. Larger school systems like Scottsdale and Mesa have educational technology staff that not only provide training but also go into classrooms and work with individual teachers. Smaller districts have fewer resources to fall back on, though they all work hard at helping teachers integrate technology into ongoing classroom instruction. Source: East Valley Tribune
It's Not Just American Kids!
It appears that some aspects of young people's Internet use are truly universal. According to a new study from London University's Institute of Education, students in the UK complain that their school use of the Internet is too tightly controlled by teachers who emphasize things not to do rather than encouraging exploration. Part of a larger pan-European effort, the survey research found that 40% of UK students believe they should have better Internet access at school and 60% say their teachers never talked to them about the web. The lead UK researcher found the schools' emphasis on information retrieval, as opposed to communication, disturbing, noting that communication is one of the major reasons students use the Internet. The research revealed that students in the UK use the Internet more in school than do their counterparts in Belgium, France, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal. And much like the U.S., students across Europe nearly all routinely access the Internet from home. Researches found that all European students need more help understanding issue such as copyright and the legalities of music downloading and handling social encounters in e-mails. Source: BBC News
Historical Sites Reach Out via Podcasts
A number of the nation's historical sites are using podcasts to reach out to potential visitors. Colonial Williamsburg is creating weekly podcasts that help listeners learn more about the lives and times of both the original residents of the colonial village and the modern day residents who reenact those lives. The podcasts are a peek at life behind the scenes at Williamsburg. The interviews with the interpreters playing the parts of tradesmen, musicians and farmers and with site historians and curators cover topics as diverse as barrel making to colonial slave life. While Colonial Williamsburg officials hope the podcasts spark a desire to visit the site, they are content to know that they are helping to spread historical knowledge. The site hopes eventually to expand to using vodcasts - video podcasts. Other historical sites and museums are also using podcasts to spread the word about what they have to offer the public. Boston.com offers a podcast audio tour of 14 sites along Boston's Freedom Trail. Monticello, Jefferson's Virginia home, has a collection of podcasts ranging from talks about restoration efforts there to Jefferson's own words, such as his ''rough draft'' of the Declaration of Independence. Source:The Mercury News