You're well into the school year now, with routines and systems functioning smoothly, we assume. With that in mind, this month we bring you a collection of features and columns that shed new light on practical uses of technological tools and resources, both familiar and new. We think you'll find in this material some new ideas you can use to tweak those systems and routines, freshen them up, and make them even more effective. This issue's authors touch on the tried and true as well and the hot and new.
Nuts and Bolts
Sarah Cooper's Digging into Databases
(page 8) offers new insights into the use of those venerable and ever-improving resources. She names names and develops some terrific ideas in presenting "five projects where librarians can take the lead in helping history and English teachers see the potential of this new world of sources."
As a complement, Linda Joseph's CyberBee describes a set of Handy Reference Tools (page 13)—electronic, of course—from almanacs and encyclopedias to dictionaries, maps, and stats.
Stats? Data? In this era, one thing is sure: You've got to have and use data. And two authors this month have focused on data collection and use. Mary Alice Anderson's Media Center column title tells succinctly what she has for you: Data Gathering, Part II: Developing Your Spreadsheet to Get the Numbers You Need (page 34) will get you started smoothly collecting and using media center statistics. Meanwhile, in You've Got Data—Using Collected Data with Success, Lori Callister focuses on how assessment data can enable you "to make decision that support student growth and make real and lasting improvements in [your] schools." A sidebar to that article, "Leveraging Data for Learning: Resources and Further Examples," presents six more assessment data-use success stories.
And Newer Tools
Always peering ahead, Stephen Abram discusses e-paper and e-ink technology this month, including a "here and now" form of e-paper from Sony, in his Pipeline column, Paper and E-Paper
And finally, to round out the new, Will Richardson has written thoughtfully on Wikis in education in What's a Wiki? A Powerful Collaborative Tool for Teaching and Learning. That's What! (page 17) in what is actually a sneak preview of his new book to be published early in 2006. See the Editor's Note at the start of the article for more details.
David Hoffman, Editor