Week of: October 8, 2007
- Language Lab Supports World Languages
Students at Orono (MN) High School can now study almost any language they want, thanks to a new state-of-the-art world language lab.
- Celebrate Sputnik's 50th Birthday
Educators can use the 50th anniversary of Sputniks October 1957 launch to examine many aspects of Sputnik's impact, both technical and political.
- TV Show Helps with Homework
Students from MD's Prince George's County schools call in with math homework problems and watch teachers solve them live on the district's Count on Us TV show.
- Students Build Antarctic Rover
Working with research teams at the University of California and Antarctica's McMurdo Station, two California high school students built an underwater "rover" for use in Antarctica's harsh environment.
- Broadband Equals Opportunity in Rural VT
A new fiber-optic network serving a remote corner of northeast Vermont is opening the area to many new educational and economic opportunities.
Language Lab Supports World Languages
Students at Orono (MN) High School can now study almost any language they want, thanks to a new state-of-the-art world language lab. Among student choices are Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Tagalog, languages the school couldn't support in face-to-face instruction. The $100.000 lab — a gift from two Orono parents — is used by more than 700 students in the high school's language courses and English Language Learning programs. The lab's 37 new computers are loaded with interactive software that supports independent language study as well as supplying teachers with a variety of tools. From the master console, a teacher can listen to any student working independently at any computer or assign two students at distant computers to work together and listen in as well. Teachers can also administer computer-based tests, assign practice lessons and record and store digital audio files. The digital files allow teachers to review students' pronunciation and understanding of assignments and students can also use them to gauge their own progress. Similar labs are in place at Richfield High School and St. Paul College.
Celebrate Sputnik's 50th Birthday
The launch of Sputnik on Oct. 4, 1957 had repercussions around the world that day and through the 50 years of subsequent history. Educators can use the anniversary to examine many aspects of Sputnik's impact. Science classes may want to focus on the technical achievements and trace the development of satellite technology. Sputnik launched the space race and its challenge to America's scientific and engineering community resulted in, among other things, the lunar landing 12 years later. Today satellites are used to examine the earth and peer into deep space. Satellites monitor the weather, keep track of the movement of armies, allow people all over the world to communicate and keep people from getting lost. NASA has created a set of resources detailing the history of Sputnik and Explorer, the American response to Sputnik's challenge that launched on Jan. 31, 1958. At the Smithsonian Institution's web site students can see where Sputnik and Explorer fit on the Milestones of Flight timeline. History and social science classes may want to examine the impact of Sputnik on the Cold War and the Russian-US rivalry. "History and the Headlines: Sputnik Escalates the Cold War" is a collection of free resources from ABC-CLIO, developed in partnership with The History Channel and National History Day. Resources include video clips, primary source materials, essays, timelines and three classroom activities designed to help teachers guide students to think critically about the landmark events that marked the dawn of the spacer age and how they changed the world.
TV Show Helps with Homework
Students from MD's Prince George's County schools call in with math homework problems and watch teachers solve them live on the district's Count on Us TV show. The revived show appears to be on the road to being a hit. Count on Us offers help with elementary and middle school math problems. It had a 11-year run from 1990 to 2001, when budget problems caused its demise. The school district has brought the show back this year, using the tried and true original format. Students can call in or e-mail their questions to the show's teachers, who then solve the problems step-by-step, on air. Callers are urged to help with working out the solution. The on-air teachers say the show builds it own momentum. Students can't resist calling in after hearing one of their peers on the broadcast. Count on Us airs twice a week from studios at one of the district's media centers. The fist hour of each show is devoted to elementary school math, with the second hour focusing on middle schools problems. The school system's math teachers promoted the show heavily with students and it seems to have worked. More than 40 students called in during the first show on September 24. The show features six district math instructors who receive additional pay for their work.
Source:The Washington Post
Students Build Antarctic Rover
Working with research teams at Antarctica's McMurdo Station, two California students built an underwater, camera-equipped "rover" for use in the area's harsh environment. As juniors, the two young women who built the rover were part of a Cabrillo High School, team that competed in the 2005 Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center Remotely Operated Vehicle design competition. The next year the students worked closely with graduate students and technicians at from marine biologist Gretchen Hofmann's laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Hoffman studies the environmental genomics of Antarctic fishes and how they respond to variations in water temperatures. Hoffman encouraged the girls to adapt the rover from the 2005 competition for use in Antarctica. The students did, creating M'RAJE, which successfully competed in the 2006 MATE competition. The rover extends the reach of Hoffman's research team. It has a maximum tether length of 100 feet,, which allows it to operate in areas that are beyond the limits of human divers. M'RAJE made roughly ten successful dives during the last Antarctic research season, between October and December.
Broadband Equals Opportunity in Rural VT
A new fiber-optic network serving a remote corner of northeast Vermont is opening the area to many new educational and economic opportunities. Students who had become accustomed to dial-up access speeds as low as 12 bits per second, will now have access to resources far beyond those available in the tiny towns that skirt the Canadian border. With reliable Internet access, for example, online AP and online college courses become possible. Border agents will be able to process paperwork faster and doctors will be able to view x-rays and patient records remotely. It has not been economically feasible for commercial providers to invest in upgrading the communications infrastructure in towns like Norton, with a year-round population of 70 people. So the Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont stepped in. Using $10.5 million in federal grant money, the Council developed the North Link project, 375 miles of fiber optic cable in three loops touching Vermont's eight northernmost counties. Ongoing development will be supported by the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, which has the power to spend up to $40 million in bond money to support deployment of broadband Internet and cell phone service to underserved parts of the state. It remains for local Internet service providers to complete the network by providing the local links between the fiber-optic backbone and people's homes and businesses. Great Auk Wireless has already built an antenna on top of the Norton town office to link individual users with the network.