Week of: September 24, 2007
- Zero Gravity Flight Excites Learning
Five teachers turned their own experience of zero gravity flight into schoolwide excitement, engaging students in a variety of space-related lessons.
- NH To Launch Virtual High School
In January the Virtual Learning Academy will begin serving New Hampshire high school students with live and e-mail-based classes.
- Macedonia Commits to Computers for All Students
The "Computer for Every Child" project of the Macedonia Ministry of Education and Science will equip every school child in the Republic of Macedonia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, with a Linux desktop.
- Teaching Teens about Digital Media
Global Kids will continue its work in helping teens who are interested in understanding the role of digital media in their lives and creating socially-conscious films.
- Happy Birthday :-)
The smiley face — :-) — so widely used in electronic communication, turned 25 on September 19, the creation of Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman.
Zero Gravity Flight Excites Learning
Five teachers turned their own experience of zero gravity flight into schoolwide excitement, engaging students in a variety of space-related lessons. The teachers were among 50 Washington-area teachers who participated in a low-altitude zero gravity flight funded by a Northrop Grumman foundation. The five math and science teachers from Seneca Ridge Middle School lived up to organizers' hopes that they would have an inspiring experience to share with their student who, in turn, might become interested in careers in math or science. Seneca Ridge students enjoyed watching video of their teachers cavorting in the zero gravity environment and took on the challenge of math and science lessons based on the experience. Lynne Anderson took the opportunity to explain to her eighth grade students the science behind simulated weightlessness only a few miles off the ground and Christopher Southern challenged his seventh grader to calculate how much he weighed during the ascent that creates the feeling of 1.8 times the force of gravity. Similar lessons will continue throughout the year. Sixth graders were so excited about the possibility of taking their own zero gravity flight they appealed to the principal who explained the costs involved. The class immediately began brainstorming ways to raise money. Their teacher channeled their excitement into a homework assignment in persuasive writing, directing students to write a funding request to a person or a foundation.
Source:The Washington Post
NH To Launch Virtual High School
In January the Virtual Learning Academy will begin serving New Hampshire high school students with live and e-mail-based classes. Students will be able to work at their own pace, moving more quickly through required classes, taking Advanced Placement and other courses not available at their own home schools and studying online for the SATs. The Virtual Learning Academy will be the first virtual charter school in the New England region. The school is chartered for five years and its first year of operation will be funded by a $500,000 start-up grant, the New Hampshire Education Trust and donations. Initially the Academy will not offer enough courses to allow students to take their entire high school coursework online. The curriculum, which will be purchased from the Florida Virtual School, will meet state and national standards. Students will be able to sign up for spring semester classes beginning in October If there are any spaces not filled by New Hampshire students, the Academy will enroll out of state students who will pay 125% of the base course rate. Students will be able to work from home or from a public library, any place where they have computer access. If a number of students from an individual high school enroll, the school could opt to open a computer lab to accommodate students. Classes will be taught through video conferences, chat rooms, e-mails and Internet voice calls. Activity kits, textbooks and software will be mailed to students to complement lessons in subjects.
Source:The Union Leader
Macedonia Commits to Computers for All Students
The "Computer for Every Child" project of the Macedonia Ministry of Education and Science will equip every school child in the Republic of Macedonia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, with a Linux desktop. In total, Macedonia will deploy 180,000 seats using a combination of Linux based PCs, virtual PC terminals and multi-user virtual desktop software. With half the nation's students attending school in the morning, and half attending in the afternoon, 180,000 workstations will provide a 1-to-1 computing experience — one virtual PC at each student's desk — for the country's entire public school enrollment. The technology, from NComputing, is a form of client server technology in which one PC can support up to six access terminals. The solution draws between one and five watts of power for each added user, versus 115 for a typical PC and is compatible with Windows, Linux and standard PC applications. The virtual terminals have no moving parts so the majority of maintenance costs are associated with the shared PCs and monitors. When upgrades are needed, only the shared PCs need to be replaced. Pricing is as low as $70 per seat. The Ministry of Education and Science says that the NComputing solution has been proven to deliver a rich PC experience at less than half the cost of any other proposed solution, including low cost desktop and laptop PCs and other thin client options.
Teaching Teens about Digital Media
Global Kids will continue its work in helping teens who are interested in understanding the role of digital media in their lives and creating socially-conscious films. This year the non-profit will work with 20 students at the Center for Global Youth Leadership in Manhattan. Students will have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills that will empower them to become critical thinkers, media producers, and global citizens. Participants will create their own virtual films called "machinima" in a supervised, teen-only area of Second Life. Students will examine important social issues and create their own animated films about them. Working with recognized experts and leaders in the field of online virtual environments, students will participate in digital culture in a hands-on, thoughtful way. At the conclusion of the year-long program, students will distribute their films on the Internet, showcase them at a museum film festival, submit them to youth-media festivals and organizations, and screen them at their schools. A Child's War, created by teens who participated in last year's after-school Virtual Video Project was nominated as Best Student Machinima, among four other teen-made films from around the globe, at the Machinima Festival 2007, which will be held in Europe for the first time this October. The seven-minute film has been viewed over 2,200 times on YouTube.
Happy Birthday :-)
The smiley face — :-) — so widely used in electronic communication, turned 25 on September 19, the creation of Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman. "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways," wrote Fahlman during an electronic bulletin board discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly. Linguists say the smiley face and the other emoticons that have joined the lexicon, make it easier for people to express emotions that might otherwise be misunderstood or difficult to detect. Variations have proliferated and younger computer users can't imagine a time when computer software didn't automatically translate certain combinations of keystrokes into colorful and more realistic emoticons than the simple colon, dash, right.