Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

Contest Winners ‘Amazed’by New Classroom Projectors

Their shared experiences demonstrate the many usesand benefits of the cutting-edge tool.

In Brief

IN FEBRUARY’S IN BRIEF, we named the winners of T.H.E. Journal’s projector contest, which awarded a Canon REALiS X600 multimedia projector to each of three teachers based on their plans for using the technology. Here’s what the winners have to say about theirexperiences thus far with their new device.

:: Matt Sly, a physics teacher at Urbana High School (IL): “I was amazed by the projector right out of the box. Its automatic adjustment features make it extremely easy to set up and use.

“The picture it created was so sharp, it allowed me to project onto a whiteboard instead of a screen, so I could add notes to pictures. In my class on optics, students used pictures I projected to draw ray diagrams in order to locate images formed by lenses and mirrors. I was able to quickly give students a palette, and when problems arose, we could see as a class how to fix them.

“The projector’s clarity has also made using simulation websites better. While the animation/ graphics were large enough for students to see with our old projector, the text was not. But with this projector, students using a site for modeling waves could not only see clear pictures of waves, they could also see the text and values that corresponded to the images.

“I also used the color adjustment and sixaxis color adjustment features to demonstrate the properties of color addition. By removing and adding colors, students could see how we arrive at the colors we see.”

:: Diane Knowles, a third-grade teacher at Eastside Elementary School (TN): “When we use our Canon projector, the students are thrilled to focus on the images or website displayed. They’re so much more excited and attentive than when I stand in front of them with a marker and whiteboard.

“If I don’t have access to a fossil or an insect trapped in amber that we are learning about, I can pull up photos on the computer, and students can view huge images of them, then learn more about them—and about research and computer navigation—as we do further exploration of online resources.”

:: Vickie Ahearn, an art teacher at Massapequa High School (NY): “The projector emits very little heat and is almost silent. The bright image allows me to use it without turning the lights off.

“In textile class, I used the projector to show individual fibers of fabric, warp and weft of weavings, and the difference between knit and woven fabrics. Students used it to demonstrate weaving techniques and how they were able to accomplish certain effects.

“In fashion design class, students presented their designs. By magnifying parts of each drawing, they were able to explain how they created detail in their renderings. Every pencil line could be seen in the finest detail.”

CHARP HONOREEGETS TICKET TO NECC

THE WINNER of the 2007 Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology is Calcasieu Parish School System. A panel of judges selected CPSS, the fifth-largest district in Louisiana with more than 32,000 students, for its comprehensive K-12 technologyprogram.

Highlights of the program include the planning process, which involves community and business partners, and the range of professional development opportunities provided to teachers and administrators. Other elements meet the district’s objectives to strengthen leadership, improve teacher training, support eLearning and virtual schools, and provide improved access and technology usage.

Now in its fourth year, the Charp award was co-created by T.H.E. Journal and the International Society for Technology in Education to honor the late Sylvia Charp, T.H.E.’s founding editor-in-chief.

Criteria for the award include consistent district effectiveness; use of ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards or a local or statewide derivative of those standards; effective and innovative implementation of technology; and a commitment to share technology information with other districts.

CPSS will receive this year’s award at the National Educational Computing Conference in Atlanta in June. The $2,000 prize goes toward NECC registration, travel, and housing for two representatives from CPSS.

:: Industry News

ONLINE LANGUAGE ARTS COURSE INTRODUCED. A new online language arts course has been launched by e-Learning for Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides free online educational games for children ages 5 to 12, and Proton- Media, a developer of communications and courseware solutions. About Printed Books is the newest of more than 80 courses availableon the e-Learning for Kids website.

The course uses interactive illustration and animation to teach the basic components of a printed book. It teaches children how to gather information from front and back covers, how to read words from left to right and top to bottom, and how words are combinedto make sentences.

Other course subjects offered on the foundation’s site include math, English language, science, computer skills, and health and life skills. A CD of thecourses is available for educators.

DEVRY OFFERS MASTER'S IN ED TECH. DeVry University recently announced its new Master of Science in Educational Technology program. The curriculum is designed for K-12 educators and other instructors to help them understand the best waysto use technology in the classroom.

Classes will cover learning theory, instructional design, and other teaching principles for using educational software, online programs, computer-based learning,and multimedia systems.

Students in the program, now only available online, will have to complete 12to 15 courses to receive the degree.

KAPLAN EXPANDS WITH ACQUISITION. Education service provider Kaplan has purchased The Sagemont Virtual School, which has been operating as the University of Miami Online High School, and the onlinecourse developer Virtual Sage.

The acquisition will result in Kaplan’s integrating the online high school’s academic offerings, which let students earn diplomas remotely. The courses target both full-time students completing high school and part-time students taking individual courses forcollege preparation.

Virtual Sage has developed roughly 200 high school courses implemented by online high school programs across the United States and is developing collegelevelcourses as well.

Sagemont Virtual founder Richard Goldman will offer his assistance as a consultant, and the management teams of Sagemont Vritual and Virtual Sage willstay in place.

MICROSOFT INVESTS IN STUDENTS. Microsoft has announced that it will be making over computer labs in 34 individual schools. The winning schools were selected during Microsoft’s Ultimate Windows Vista Celebration Sweepstakes and will each receive $25,000 in equipment. The prizes include a choice of 20 laptop systems with a storage cart or 20 desktop systems with flat-screen monitors, each of which comes equipped withWindows Vista Ultimate.

The winners include both public and private institutions, spanning 25 states and ranging in size from 233 students to nearly 3,000. The schools were chosen at random during a drawing in February.

:: Partnerships

SCANTRON AND ENI PARTNER TOPROVIDE ASSESSMENT SOLUTIONS. Scantron has reached an agreement with Evans Newton Inc., a developer of state-specific assessments, to develop new solutions for assessment and standards-based instruction.

Through the partnership, K-12 school districts will be able to implement ENI’s assessments through the Scantron Achievement Series, a web-based platform for administering and producing standards-based tests and reports.

In addition to this, ENI will expand its offerings to include both the Scantron Achievement Series and the Scantron Performance Series. The Performance Series is a web-based, computer-adaptive diagnostic testing system used to measure student placement and progress. Both companies will offer the two systems in conjunction with ENI’s professional development workshops, in order to support key areas of No Child Left Behind accountability, with topics such as test creation, data analysis, standards-based teaching, and instructional leadership.

COMPANIES SUPPORT SMART PHONE INITIATIVE. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has launched Project K-Nect to provide smart phones and service free of charge to at-risk students to help improve their performance in school. The project will incorporate security technologies from Ace-Comm in the phones.

Project K-Nect will target approximately 250 at-risk secondary school students to focus on increasing their math skills. Ninth-graders in several North Carolina public schools will receive smart phones that they can use to access supplemental math content aligned with their teachers’ lesson plans and course objectives. Using the phones, students will also be able to communicate and collaborate with each other and access tutors to help them master math skills.

The wireless technologies used in the program will incorporate Ace-Comm’s Parent Patrol to alleviate concerns about the safety of students who are using mobile phones. Parent Patrol is a policy enforcement tool that lets administrators or other authorized individuals personalize phone use for students, including voice, messaging, video, and data, with managed access. Parents and educators can determine what time of day the students can use the phones, what web content should be blocked, which features of the headset should be disabled, and what sorts of services (such as text messaging) should be disallowed.

The expense of the smart phones and service will be covered by a $1 million grant from Qualcomm as part of its Wireless Reach initiative, which provides 3G wireless technology to underserved communities.

:: People

WG APPOINTS NEW SENIOR VP. Wireless Generation has named Cynthia Rogan, an education industry executive and strategist, as its senior vice president of marketing. In this newly created position, Rogan will lead brand management and communicationsactivities.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2007 issue of THE Journal.

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