Week of: August 27, 2007
- Dial-A-Teacher Takes to the Web
New Mexico's Dial-A-Teacher homework assistance program is expanding to the Internet, allowing for added interactivity between teacher and student.
- Web Helps Students Find Experts
A new web site, StudyCurve, blends elements of My Space and Wikipedia to help students find experts to answer their questions.
- Virtual Zoo Visits
While no substitute for real experience, virtual visits to distant zoos and museums are enriching the curriculum for children across the country.
- New School Year, New Tech Tools
Students returning to Mississippi classrooms this fall, like students all over the country, will find them equipped with new technology-based resources.
- Sky Added to Google Earth
With the launch of Sky, users of Google Earth can now view the sky as seen from planet Earth, navigating through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies.
Dial-A-Teacher Takes to the Web
New Mexico's Dial-A-Teacher homework assistance program is expanding to the Internet. The program, a service of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (AFT), is available free to all New Mexico public and private school students of all grade levels and in all subject areas. Adding a web-based option `will allow teachers to use an interactive white space to illustrate their answers and to engage students more actively than on the phone. Since many callers are seeking help with math and science, the interactive elements will be especially helpful. Students will be given a user ID and password to log on to a secure Web site and enter their virtual classroom. They will be able to talk with their tutors in a real-time conversation and use the shared white board space to write notes and draw diagrams and other illustrations of concepts. Dial-A-Teacher was started in 2003 by the AFT and is staffed by certified teacher who works with students in much the same way as their classroom teachers do, to assist them with their assignments. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Last year the program fielded 2,800 calls from students from elementary school to college students.
Source:The Albuquerque Tribune
Web Helps Students Find Experts
A new web site, StudyCurve, blends elements of My Space and Wikipedia to help students find experts to answer their questions. StudyCurve is a social and educational networking service designed to help its members find, network and study with friends and study partners new and old. Like many social networking sites, StudyCurve users create online profiles that list the classes they are taking and their interests. They can use the site's tools to form groups on various topics and create lists of "study buddies." StudyCurve sends user question to members who have tagged themselves as having expertise on that topic. Members who answer a minimum of 20 questions in a particular subject/tag and maintain an average user rating score of 8 or higher earn an expert designation in their profile and a listing on the site's Expert page. Users will be able to search archives of previously asked questions and their answers. The site is very new, but if it catches on, users could potentially ask their question of millions of other users. StudyCurve is the brainchild of a recent engineering graduate, who at his first job was asked to do a computer programming task. He turned to the web for help and after three weeks of looking found someone willing to mentor him through the task. StudyCurve is designed to make the task of finding that kind of expert help much faster and easier.
Source:The Boston Globe
Virtual Zoo Visits
While no substitute for real experience, virtual visits to distant zoos and museums are enriching the curriculum for children across the country. For fourth graders in Kyle, TX, the capstone of their four-week study of animal adaptations was an hour visit to the Richardson Zoo in Garden City, KS, via videoconference. The Richardson Zoo offers a free videoconferencing programs to schools. It served more than 9,500 students last year, most of whom live outside the Midwest. These virtual visits are more focused than the typical field trip, allowing teachers to use the experience to reinforce concepts they have developed in standards-related units of study. Videoconferences also allow students to interact with experts they typically would not have access to - zookeepers, veterinarians, research scientists. Some zoos conduct their video conferences from specially-designed studios from which zoo educators show students live animals, feeding demonstrations, skins and furs, video clips, etc. Other zoos are beginning to extend their videoconferencing experience to the entire zoo, using mobile technology and wireless networks to broadcast directly from an outside venue or to move around to multiple zoo locations. The Indianapolis Zoo's videoconference tour includes the veterinary hospital, animal exhibits and zoo greenhouses.
New School Year, New Tech Tools
Students returning to Mississippi classrooms this fall, like students all over the country, will find them equipped with new technology-based resources. DeSoto County schools will make student grades available online for the first time this year. The system will also allow parents to check on bus schedules and pay for school lunches online. And interactive whiteboards will grace many classrooms like those at Southaven High School. The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi gave DeSoto a $90,620 grant to buy 46 electronic whiteboards. The Moss Point district will offer a class in videography. Students will use the skills they learn to film teachers delivering a lesson. The video will then be uploaded to the district's Web site, where students can review it at will. Moss Point is also planning to outfit its students with electronic badges that will record students' locations as they enter the classroom, automatically generating attendance information. Hinds County is updating its web site to provide parents real-time access to students' grades and discipline records. Tupelo is launching a pilot program that will equip selected classrooms with computers, projectors, interactive whiteboards and a variety of software programs, including speech and handwriting recognition software. Students in the Canton Public Schools will be able to use a distance learning system if they're sick or out of class. The system will allow teachers and students to communicate online, exchange printed or electronic documents and media in real time.
Sky Added to Google Earth
With the launch of Sky, users of Google Earth can now view the sky as seen from planet Earth. The new tool enables all Earth users to view and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. To access Sky, users need only click "Switch to Sky" from the "view" drop-down menu in Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. The interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth, including dragging, zooming, search, "My Places," and layer selection. Layers include: Constellations, Backyard Astronomy, Hubble Space Telescope Imagery, Moon, Planets, Life of a Star and Users Guide to Galaxies. Sky was created by Google's Pittsburgh engineering team by stitching together imagery from numerous scientific third parties including the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Digital Sky Survey Consortium (DSSC), CalTech's Palomar Observatory, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), and the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO). The initiative was born out of the University of Washington's participation in the Google Visiting Faculty Program, which makes it possible for leading academic researchers to visit Google for 6-12 month periods. The announcement follows last month's inclusion of the NASA layer group in Google Earth, showcasing NASA's Earth exploration. The group has three main components, including Astronaut Photography of Earth, Satellite Imagery, and Earth City Lights.