Online Education News

COURSE OFFERS TECHNIQUES TO SPUR STUDENT LEARNING

Curriculum Associates has added a new free, online professional development course with techniques that trigger students’ desire to learn, available at www.curriculumassociates.com/codies. Developed by a retired special-education administrator, “Motivating Students to Learn” consists of three lessons: an explanation of the theory behind motivation; an outline of five areas or practices that enhance motivation; and teacher-tested games, activities, and lesson plans designed to increase motivation. The lessons include text and audio instruction, downloadable examples, handouts and checklists, reading assignments, and lesson reviews that enable teachers to assess their current skills and understanding of the lesson. “Motivating Students to Learn” is the fourth in a series of free eTraining courses that provide schools with timely, practical strategies to help meet today’s classroom challenges.

VIRTUAL PUBLIC SCHOOL HONORED

The Florida Virtual School (FLVS; www.flvs.net), the first statewide public virtual school established in the US, has received the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA; www.usdla.org) 21st Century Best Practices Award for its role in promoting and growing online learning, as well as for its entrepreneurial, innovative approach to virtual education. FLVS math teacher Nathan Putney was honored with the association’s Gold Award for Exemplary Online Teaching. For a full list of winners from USDLA’s 2005 Distance Learning Awards, visit www.usdla.org/html/events/dlAwards.htm.

Bridging the 'Knowledge Divide’ With a $100 Laptop

The board of directors of One Laptop Per Child (www.laptop.media.mit.edu)—a nonprofit group created by faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to design, manufacture, and distribute inexpensive, hand-crankable laptops for children around the world—has chosen Quanta Computer Inc. (www.quantatw.com/e_default.asp) of Taiwan as the design manufacturer for OLPC’s $100 Laptop Initiative. Quanta has agreed to devote significant engineering resources from its Quanta Research Institute in the first half of 2006 in order to bring the product to market by year’s end. Initially, from 5 million to 15 million units will be sold to the governments of seven different countries (China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand), to then be handed out for free to children in those nations. An additional allocation of computers will be distributed to developer communities in a number of other countries.
The company will also simultaneously explore a commercial version of the laptop. The machines will be rugged, Linux-based, and so energy-efficient that hand-cranking alone can generate enough power for operation, while mesh networking will give many systems Internet access from one connection. “Quanta would like to contribute its industry-leading laptop technologies to the future success of the project,” says Quanta founder and Chairman Barry Lam, “in hope of affording children worldwide with opportunities not only to close the ‘digital divide,’ but also to bridge the ‘knowledge divide.’”

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2006 issue of THE Journal.

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