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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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August 21, 2007

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Exploratorium's Iron Science Teacher
Print-Limit Pro Updates Print Management Software
CoSN Announces New Webcasts on Top Ed Tech Trends
NSBA Releases Study on Student and School District Internet Use
WilsonWeb Debuts Applied Science & Technology Index Retrospective
CDW-G School Safety Self-Assessment Tool Available to School Leaders
World Book Announces 'World Book Fact or Fiction?' Student Video Contest
Learning.com Expands into Core Curriculum Subjects with Launch of Aha!Math

Free Resources: Exploratorium's Iron Science Teacher

From the Internet Scout Project's August 17 Scout Report from the University of Wisconsin Computer Science Department and University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, we heard about The Exploratorium's Iron Science Teacher and just had to pass on the word. From the Scout Report's report:

… The good folks at San Francisco's Exploratorium have cooked up the Iron Science Teacher presentations in an attempt to bring together the worlds of science and the culinary arts. To no one's surprise, they have succeeded, and the results include a fine mix of science activities that are both fun and enlightening.

 Click HERE to see the full Scout Report item, with links, on the Iron Science Teacher.

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Print-Limit Pro Updates Print Management Software

Print-Limit Pro 7.3 updates the print management software package with a personal environmental impact statement designed to help users think before they hit the Print button.

The environmental impact statement displays the number of trees the print job will consume, the carbon dioxide output from the printer, and the amount of energy that will be used.

The newest version of Print-Limit Pro also includes enhancements such as increased flexibility for managing printing quotas and creating new users. The program supports all major operating systems and features an intuitive Web interface and advanced budgeting and reporting tools.

Existing Print-Limit Pro users with active support and upgrade protection packages can download a free update at www.GenevaLogic.com. For K-12 schools or districts, unlimited site license pricing begins at $1,495.

A free 30-day trial of the program is available online. (GenevaLogic is collaborating with The National Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree for every 30-day trial downloaded, with the goal of planting 1,000 trees this year.)

GenevaLogic, www.GenevaLogic.com.  

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CoSN Announces New Webcasts on Top Ed Tech Trends

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) presents a new Internet & Education Webcast series for the coming school year.

Designed as an online professional development tool for education technology leaders, the 2007-2008 series enables participants to view online presentations as they are being made and to interact with presenters and other participants.

Each session in the series correlates with CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO (Chief Technology Officer). All sessions will be conducted from 1-2 p.m., eastern time.

The schedule includes:

Measuring the Value of Investment (VOI) in Technology - October 24

Ultra Light Portable Devices in K-12: The Quest for a $100 Device – November 14

Ignorance of Data Retention Law is No Defense – December 5

Think Before You Ban: How Classrooms Become Communities with Web 2.0 Technology – January 16

What is the Role of Gaming in Education? – April 16

Hot Technology Trends – May 4

Participation is free for CoSN members. Non-member participation is $59 per Webcast.

Information is available online at www.cosn.org/events/webcasts/index.cfm.  

CoSN, www.cosn.org.  

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NSBA Releases Study on Student and School District Internet Use

Nearly all students with online access—96 percent—use social networking technologies such as chatting, text messaging, blogging, and online communities such as Facebook, MySpace, and Webkinz, according to a new study released by the National School Boards Association and Grunwald Associates LLC.

The study report, “Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking,” shows that nearly 60 percent of online students reported discussing education-related topics such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. A total of 50 percent of online students said they talk specifically about schoolwork.

Students reported spending almost as much time using social network services and Web sites as they spend watching television. Teens using social networking sites said they are online approximately nine hours a week and watching television about 10 hours a week.

Students reported that they are engaging in highly creative activities on social networking Internet sites including writing, art, and contributing to collaborative online projects, whether or not these activities are related to schoolwork. Almost half of students—49 percent—said they have uploaded pictures they have made or photos they have take and more than one in five students—22 percent—reported that they have uploaded video they have created.

Nearly all school districts—96 percent—said that at least some of their teachers assign homework that requires Internet use.

While most schools have rules against social networking activities, nearly 70 percent of districts reported having student Web site programs. Nearly half reported their schools participate in online collaborative projects with other schools and in online pen pal or other international programs. More than a third said their schools and/or their students have blogs, either officially or in the context of instruction.

The study was funded by Microsoft, News Corporation, and Verizon.

The complete report can be found online at http://files.nsba.org/creatingandconnecting.pdf.  

NSBA, http://nsba.org.  


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WilsonWeb Debuts Applied Science & Technology Index Retrospective

H.W. Wilson launched Applied Science & Technology Index Retrospective: 1913 – 1983, a database of historical content from the H.W. Wilson references Applied Science & Technology Index and Industrial Arts Index.

The database covers pivotal papers and articles on issues such as the effects of pesticides on the environment, the rise and fall of thalidomide, the evolution of satellite technology, and the dawn of the global economy. Areas examined include applied science specialties such as acoustics, aeronautics, machine learning, meteorology, textiles, transportation, and more.

The material spans more than 1,400 periodicals encompassing more than 3 million articles. Updated subject headings and contemporary terms are featured; original subject headings are also displayed and searchable. Names used as subject headings are standardized throughout the years of coverage to ensure retrieval of all records on an individual or company.

Applied Science & Technology Index Retrospective searches seamlessly with Wilson’s Applied Science & Technology Full Text database.

Free 30-day trials are available.

H.W. Wilson, www.hwwilson.com.  

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CDW-G School Safety Self-Assessment Tool Available to School Leaders

CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G) has announced the publication of its School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool, which allows school leaders to participate in CDW-G’s School Safety Index survey and receive instant scores to learn how their school or district compares to the national school safety average CDW-G reported in June.  The School Safety Index published in June is based on a May 2007 survey of 381 school district IT and security directors on 14 elements of physical and cyber safety.  It highlights the indicators of strong district safety programs, as well as the barriers to school safety. 

Key findings of the School Safety Index included:

*      Need for improved and ongoing cyber safety curriculum for students at all grade levels.  Currently just 8 percent of districts have such programs.

*      Need for better faculty and parental emergency communication tools.  Only 1 percent of districts reported that they are considering mass notification systems.

*      Tech-savvy students frustrate IT staffs by side-stepping security measures, such as firewalls, to access unapproved Web sites.

The CDW-G School Safety Self-Assessment Tool scores schools and districts on 10 safety indicators, or strengths, and four contraindicators, or weaknesses: 

Cyber Security Indicators                 Physical Security Indicators

Data Monitoring                                   Building Access

Network Access                                  Local Authority Communication

User Authentication                              Education

Education                                             Faculty Communication

Student Protection                                Parental Communication

Cyber Security Contraindicators      Physical Security Contraindicators

IT Breaches                                          Physical Breaches

IT Barriers                                            Physical Barriers

The CDW-G School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool is online at www.schoolsafetyindex.com.  For a complete copy of the survey report, please visit www.cdwg.com/schoolsafetyindex

Source: CDW-G, www.cdwg.com

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World Book Announces 'World Book Fact or Fiction?' Student Video Contest

World Book, Inc. has announced the World Book Fact or Fiction? Student Video Contest  (http://videocontest.worldbook.com/) inviting students to create their own original video on what makes an online site a good information source.  The contest encourages students to be discerning about the trustworthiness of the information they're finding online when they research topics for school or their own personal interest.

The contest is open to students in elementary school, high school, and college.  Students are asked to submit videos of two minutes or less that creatively communicate how to know if a site is reliable, following the ABCs of evaluating Web sites: Are the authors of the information accountable and authoritative?  Do the authors lack bias?  Is the content current?

To help students along, characters Rhett and Link (http://videocontest.worldbook.com/index.asp?page=RhettAndLinkIntro) offer some insights on how to use the contest topic to create a clever yet interesting video entry – as well as their own sample video on Velcro Farming.  Rhett and Link's Hot Tips (http://videocontest.worldbook.com/index.asp?page=AdviceandTools) also provide practical information for novice filmmakers on the "do's and don'ts" of video creation.

World Book Fact or Fiction? Student Video Contest submissions will be accepted from September 1 through November 30, 2007 at http://videocontest.worldbook.com.  Students then get to vote for their favorite video December 1, 2007 through January 7, 2008. Winners will be announced in January 2008.  The creator of the top vote-getting video will win a MacBook and his or her school will receive a digital video camera.  Second and third runner ups win video iPods.

Source: World Book. Inc., www.worldbook.com

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Learning.com Expands into Core Curriculum Subjects with Launch of Aha!Math

Learning.com has announced the debut of Aha!Math, an interactive supplemental math curriculum for grades K-5. Learning.com designed Aha!Math to help teachers improve students’ foundational math skills and achieve that “Aha!” moment when they grasp complex math concepts.

As educators have focused increased attention on reading and on accountability issues, they have had less time to devote to teaching math, according to the announcement. Research also shows they often feel unprepared to teach the subject. As a result, students often struggle to master fundamental math skills, as well as to develop their higher-level problem solving abilities and conceptual knowledge in math.

Aha!Math is intended to address these issues. With content that incorporates multisensory experiences and real-world challenges, Aha!Math supports teachers in helping students develop a strong understanding of mathematical concepts through problem-solving activities, like building geodesic domes using their knowledge of math facts and shapes. The research-based curriculum provides opportunities for students to hone their skills and the game-based learning encourages repeated practice while reinforcing new skills that students can leverage for success in school and in the future, the announcement states.

Aha!Math includes instructional modules, interactive lessons, teacher-led activities, educational games, and online quizzes to incorporate into their math curriculum. Onscreen digital coaches lead students through engaging activities. Teachers decide how and when to incorporate Aha!Math into their curriculum. Aha!Math also provides teachers with models for teaching challenging math concepts and helps them integrate more math instruction throughout the day.

Aha!Math is built on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum Focal Points and is aligned with state math standards.

 Learning.com is offering Aha!Math at an introductory price of $8 per student per year until October 31. After this date, the product will be $12 per student per year with volume discounts available.

For more information about Learning.com and Aha!Math, visit www.learning.com. Sample curriculum can also be viewed on the Learning.com Web site.

Source: Learning.com, www.learning.com

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