Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

Animal Magnetism: Jeff CorwinExpected to Be Big Draw at FETC

The popular TV conservationist highlights a diverse programas the annual Florida conference convenes next month.

Jeff Corwin ONE OF THE MOST anticipated annual ed techevents, the Florida Educational TechnologyConference (FETC), will welcomeeducators to the Orange County ConventionCenter in Orlando, FL, Jan. 22-25, 2008.

The conference program is designed so educators have an opportunity to learn how to integrate different technologies across curricula while being exposed to the industry's most current hardware, software, and best practices.

A highlight of this year's event promises to be the presence of keynote speaker Jeff Corwin, Emmy Award-winning host on the cable television network Animal Planet. He's delivering a session titled, "Go Wild: Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin Talks About Environmental Education in the Age of Technology."

Best known as the star of The Jeff Corwin Experience, one of Animal Planet's most popular shows, and the Discovery Kids series Jeff Corwin Unleashed, Corwin lectures on wildlife, ecology, and conservation to audiences across the United States. Corwin even established an interactive museum and environmental education center called the EcoZone in Norwell, MA, the town where he spent his childhood.

In 1993, Corwin addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations about the need to conserve neotropical rainforests. By the following year, Corwin had served as expedition naturalist for The Jason Project, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society that provides multimedia science curricula for middle schoolers around the world. Corwin's general session will be followed by the opening of the show floor.

FETC 2008 will offer more than 200 concurrent sessions, allowing educators to learn best practices, and ticketed professional development workshops for in-depth instruction on software, tools, and programs. Also on display will be the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System's Hands-On Technology Lab, plus the latest products from the more than 450 technology companies lining the exhibit hall.

In addition, during the conference, tours of Ocoee Middle School in Orange County, FL, will be conducted. Through the actions of the state Legislature and the help of Orange County Public Schools, Ocoee Middle School underwent renovations that transformed it into a model of technology integration in the state. For more information, please e-mail calents@ocps.net. Platinum sponsors of FETC 2008 include Pearson, Discovery Education, Promethean, and Harcourt Education. Media sponsors include T.H.E. Journal and eSchool News.

SIXTH-GRADERS RATE PRODUCTS

SOMETIMES KIDS ARE thebest predictors of stocks aboutto take off, based simply on theirproduct preferences. So it's notmuch of a leap to imagine studentscould be valuable consumerwatchdogs. One group ofstudents in Jonesboro, AR, istaking on such a challenge byreviewing products and reportingtheir findings online.

Students in Millard Cover's sixth-grade reading class at the Fox Meadow Intermediate Center began their project by testing the WeatherX Flashlight Radio and posting their assessments here. To prepare to test a product, the students read news releases, advertising, packaging, and manuals to determine how the item should perform.

Now the kids are selecting several products to review for holiday recommendations, and they will honor their favorites with the Sly Fox award.

"It is cool to see how precise and honest the kids want to be about the products," Cover says. "They...feel a great deal of responsibility to be fair and accurate."

Vendors may donate products for review through the website. After testing, the products will be returned or, with permission, raf- fled off to students.

The next phase of the project will have the students analyze scholarship applications from high school seniors in the district and decide which two entrants will win $500 cash prizes to be put toward college tuition.

:: Industry News

ROBOTICS SITE CHARGES UPSCIENCE STUDIES.

In Brief Hoping to awakenstudents to the power of applied sciencein the way that televised roboticscompetitions are able to do, InnovationFirst, a producerof educational and competitiverobotics products, and Autodesk, a maker of 2-Dand 3-D design software for manufacturing,building, and media, have joinedforces. The result of their collaborationis RobotEvents.com, an online resourcethat enables users to find and registerfor robotics and technology competitions—such as the Botball EducationRobotics Program, the BEST (BoostingEngineering, Science, and Technology)robotics competition, and the FIRST(For Inspiration and Recognition ofScience and Technology) Lego League.

The site features information on conferences, camps, and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators. Also available for educators interested in implementing robotics programs are curricula such as the NASA Robotics Alliance Project and other resources.

Other highlights include robotics blogs and online forums, plus the latest designs in a variety of robot galleries.

CITRIX BOOSTS TECH INITIATIVE.

In support of Chattanooga, TN's, "Connecting the Dots With Technology" program, application delivery infrastructure company Citrix is contributing the Citrix Presentation Server to the initiative, which aims to provide community access to expanding technology. The partnership among Chattanooga's Education, Arts and Culture, Parks and Recreation, and Information Services departments, in addition to several local and national IT companies, supplies area recreation centers with new computers, high-speed internet access, and software compatible with Hamilton County's Department of Education curriculum. The addition of the Citrix Presentation Server gives the centers fast, secure, flexible access toapplications and the internet.

:: People

ABLENET PROMOTES WING.

Adam Wing

Adam Wing

AbleNet, a provider ofassistive technology products as wellas curriculum,skills development,andtechnology forspecial educationstudents,has promotedAdam Wing tosenior directorof internationalbusiness. Inhis new role, Wing will be responsiblefor continuing to support and expandthe company's international presence.Wing also sits on the board of directorsfor the Alliance for TechnologyAccess, a 20-year-oldnonprofit dedicated to technologyaccess, and will serve as board presidentin 2008.

Lee Whitmore

Lee Whitmore

SIBELIUS HIRES WHITMORE. Musictechnology company Sibelius has hired educator,musician, technologist,and authorLee Whitmore asdirector of salesand education technology.Whitmoreregularly deliverskeynotes and presentationson theintegration oflearning technologiesin music instruction at conferencesand on campuses throughout the UnitedStates. He is also an officer of the TechnologyInstitute for Music Educators.

:: Awards

NOMINATIONS FOR CHARP AWARDNOW BEING ACCEPTED. T.H.E.Journal and the International Societyfor Technology in Education (ISTE) have kicked off theirfifth annual award program in honor ofthe late Sylvia Charp and her groundbreakingcontributions to the educationtechnology community.

The winning district will be honored at the annual National Educational Computing Conference next June in San Antonio, TX, and presented with a $2,000 check to go toward registration, travel, and housing at the conference for two district representatives. The winner will also be recognized in both T.H.E. Journal and Learning and Leading With Technology.

Charp nominations must include:

  1. Nominee information, including the district's name, ISTE member number (if applicable), and URL (optional if applicable); and the address, phone number, and e-mail address of the district's contact person.
  2. The submitter's contact information (if the submitter is different from the nominee).
  3. A letter from the superintendent and/or school board president supporting the application.

Nomination attachments must include:

  1. A description of the innovative technology program, including the extent to which the district has met or plans to meet the essential conditions for implementing ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students, and a one-paragraph description of the technology planning process, including a list of people involved.
  2. A description of the effectiveness of the technology program, including evidence of its impact on student achievement. Please e-mail submissions to charpaward@thejournal.com. Nominations will be accepted until March 14, 2008, and winners will be notifed by April 21, 2008.

This article originally appeared in the 12/01/2007 issue of THE Journal.

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