T.H.E. SmartClassroom :: December 7, 2006

Viewpoint

Getting Beyond Break/Fix

As long as the help desk is thought of only as a problem solver, it will never play as full a role in educational objectives as it could.

Years ago, the manager of the support group for a technology manufacturer was on the verge of submitting his resignation out of sheer frustration. All of his pleas for better tools and more people had fallen on deaf ears. Finally, in desperation, he burst uninvited into the office of the senior VP of sales. The senior executive was surprised at the intrusion, but even more so at the question put to him: “Would an improved company reputation for support quality help you to sell more product?”

Fifteen minutes later, the VP and the support manager walked out of the company president’s office with a signed $250,000 requisition for a new phone system. Granted, an academic body is very different from a technology maker, but nonetheless the action taken by the support manager and the results it bore relate distinctly to the challenges facing support staff in K-12 schools and districts. By casting tech support as more than merely a problem solver but also a force in marketing and an influence on the bottom line, the manager created a shift in how the administrators viewed the help desk team. The same issue confronts tech support teams in K-12: a need to expand the vision of what the help desk does from merely break/fix (“stuff breaks, we fix it”) to something more integrated into a school’s wellbeing — something based on a well-conceived strategy...

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Ed Tech News

Australia, US Ed Tech Organizations Agree to Share Digital Leadership Knowledge

Australian-based education.au limited and US-based Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to share research and knowledge about powerful uses of education technology in learning environments...

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New Maryland Science Assessment to be Created, Delivered by Pearson Educational Measurement

Pearson Educational Measurement, the largest comprehensive provider of state and national educational assessment solutions, has been awarded...

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Google Enrolls Teachers in Online Software Crusade

Google, a company synonymous with searching the Internet, hopes to define far more of the world’s computing experience with a helping hand from schoolchildren...

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Products & Services

Codian Unveils Powerful HD Videoconferencing Infrastructure Platform

Codian Ltd., a leading manufacturer of videoconferencing infrastructure products, recently unveiled the MCU 4500 series...

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Perceptive Software Enhances Document Management Suite

Perceptive Software has released ImageNow 6.0 Sunflower...

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Case Study

Handhelds are Making for a Whole New Kind of Science Lesson

Kellie Doubek doesn’t mince words: Full-size computers don’t belong in the field. “You can get a handheld to do the same thing for a fraction of the cost,” says Doubek, an educational consultant who advises Midwestern schools on implementing technology.

Out west, at Seaside High School, right outside Monterey, CA, students in grades 9-12 are proving Doubek right. Seaside students are using handheld devices and wireless probes to measure temperature, stream flow, pH, and other factors at Seaside State Beach, as well as in Yosemite National Park. The study was made possible through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Palm-based devices with wireless probes are tremendous student motivators, according to teacher Pam Miller, who also serves as science department chair at Seaside. “We’re able to get much more meaningful data, and we’re better able to share access to the data.” The sophistication of the data-gathering devices makes a real difference, she says. “Kids like to feel like they’re doing real science, and this is real science.”...

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Web Notes

Facts On File Opens a Portal to the Past

The Facts On File News Services is providing a new way for researchers and students to enrich their understanding of the most contentious issues of the past. Recently released, Issues & Controversies in American History is a searchable, interlinked online subscription database written, researched, and delivered especially for students and educators. Concise, balanced original articles, primary source documents, diaries, speeches, and interviews help bring history to life. This database, perfect for grades seven and up, builds a deeper understanding of how key historical events have shaped our nation by taking students into the minds of key players, and into the center of the battles they fought.

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Math Site Utilizes Puzzles to Make Learning Fun

Research has long shown that combining math with technology aids in the learning process. So when the Internet first started spreading in popularity about a decade ago, David Rock, a lifelong math teacher who is now dean of Columbus State University’s College of Education, found a way to combine technology with learning—and make it fun. Along with a colleague, Rock created some online math contests. Not just equations, but brainteasers and real-life scenarios for different age levels. Now Rock is collecting all the math contests he’s done over the years into one mega online math contest site. This new, improved site features the original puzzles that brought Rock online recognition, as well as the Problem of the Week, Algebra in Action, Middle School Madness, and Elementary Brain Teaser.

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Events Calendar

THE Journal Opportunities

Share Your Best Practices

T.H.E. Journal is currently looking for the following types of articles for future issues and for our eNewsletter, T.H.E. SmartClassroom:

  • School Perspectives - discuss a specific topic, trend, or concern about education technology.
  • Case Studies – have you implemented technology and learned a lot from the experience? If so, share your efforts about what worked -- and what didn't.

If you have a potential article, or questions about the above topics, please e-mail editorial@thejournal.com

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