Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

And the Charp Award Goes to...

This year's honoree is a once low-performing New York district that reformed itself through a fresh instructional vision founded on technology use.

In BriefT.H.E. Journal and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) have chosen Glen Cove School District in New York as the 2009 winner of the Sylvia Charp Award for district innovation in technology. The district was chosen for the remarkable transformation it has undergone over the past four years.

In 2005, Glen Cove was on the New York State Education Department's Schools Under Registration Review list for poor performance, and had eight-year-old computers, no infrastructure, 300 trouble tickets across its six buildings, and virtually no teachers using technology. "It was time for a collaborative, but complete, overhaul," the district stated on its Charp Award application. Glen Cove began that overhaul by forming a new leadership team that held fast to an instructional vision based on teaching for understanding, differentiation, and constructivism/ inquiry. Key to the vision is the belief that technology brings everything together.

Also essential to the district's reformation has been its one-size-does-not-fit-all strategy for integrating technology. Technology is distributed according to how well it suits the curriculum and the interests of the students and teachers, and shared among classrooms when appropriate. In Glen Cove schools you'll now find MIDI synthesizers, worldwide video conferencing, a TV studio, and a radio station, in addition to the usual projectors, computers, interactive whiteboards, and cameras. All new teachers go through a three-year professional development program, with the third year devoted to integrating technologies that align with the district's pedagogical strategies and philosophies.

Glen Cove's approach to technology integration is more structured than that of many other districts, distinguished by the close attention it gives to teacher readiness, administrative support, and the appropriateness of the tool for the assigned task. The results speak for themselves: In the four years since the district overhauled its instructional practices, attendance, assessment scores, and college acceptances have all gone up, while suspensions have come down. Graduation rates have risen from 75 percent to 88 percent. And over the past three years, math assessment scores in grades 3 through 8 have increased by double digits, topped by 31 percent increases in grades 7 and 8. The district has also begun a long-term study in which it will track students for five years after graduation to determine the effectiveness of its instructional program.

As the Charp Award Winner, Glen Cove School District was awarded $2,000 to be put toward registration, travel, and housing for two of its representatives to attend the National Education Computing Conference in June, where the district will receive the honor.

Green Spot

LUTRON CHALLENGES STUDENTS TO DREAM IN GREEN

Lutron Electronics' Greenovation energy education program has announced the start of its 2009 Bright Green Dream School Sustainability Challenge. Lutron is inviting K-12 students to take a critical eye to their school environments and dream up more energy-efficient, sustainable classrooms. The students should present their classroom energy solutions in a digital format of their choosing and upload them here by Sept. 25.

Contest judges will choose five finalists to be announced on Sept. 30. The public will vote for the grand-prize winner, who will be revealed at the 2009 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held in Phoenix Nov. 11-13. The grand-prize-winner's school will receive a sustainable classroom upgrade valued at $15,000, and the four runners-up will each win for their schools a Greenovation classroom lighting upgrade, including installation.

Lutron was inspired to create the contest by South Middle School in Illinois' Arlington Heights School District #25, where students came together to design a program to reduce their school's energy use and improve their learning environment through an energy-efficient lighting upgrade.

See the contest website for more details, including the judging criteria and submission guidelines.

:: Awards & Contests

2009 EXPLORAVISION WINNERS ANNOUNCED. The ExploraVision Awards program, a yearly K-12 science and technology competition sponsored by Toshiba and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA, has announced its 2009 winners. This year, 4,388 teams entered projects reflecting their ideas for new technologies that could improve the environment and our lives. Out of those entries, one first-place award and one second-place award were given in each of the four grade categories. The firstplace teams and projects are:

  • K-3: Westwood Basics Plus Elementary School in Irvine, CA, with Project CTRIC Pathways, a system that would provide wireless power for electric vehicles.
  • 4-6: Guy B. Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill, NC, with Enerbahn, a solar energy technology that would generate electricity from asphalt warmed by the sun.
  • 7-9: West Salem High School in Salem, OR, with Smart Paint, a decorative safety coating that would be able to sense fires, warn of black ice, increase fuel efficiency, and prevent pressuretank explosions.
  • 10-12: University Laboratory High School in Urbana, IL, with sHDL-Enabled Atheroma Reverse Transport Technology, a treatment idea for coronary heart disease that would be cost-effective and easily administered.

For more details, including this year's second-place winners and information on how to enter the contest in 2010, visit here.

SIIA PRESENTS NEW ED TECH AWARD. The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA recently presented its first Education Technology Impact Award to Ellen Bialo, co-founder and president of Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD. SIIA chose Bialo for the honor for her pioneering spirit, mentorship, and 25 years of contributions to the education technology industry in the areas of software research and analysis, instructional design consulting, and materials development. Bialo continues to make a large impact in the ed tech community through IESD and her participation in education organizations such as the Consortium for School Networking and SIIA.

:: Industry News

In BriefWEEKLY READER GOES DIGITAL. Weekly Reader, a publisher of supplemental literacy education materials for students in preK through grade 12, has launched two new online resources, the company's first digital offerings. Now subscribers to Weekly Reader magazine can access WR Digital Editions, an enhanced, interactive version of the printed publication that includes features such as embedded video and audio clips, a pop-up dictionary, slide shows, and animated learning activities. In addition to WR Digital Editions, Weekly Reader has launched Read's Great Authors, an online resource that is now available to subscribers of the company's Read magazine. Read's Great Authors gives students the opportunity to learn about literature in an interactive digital format by completing web-based activities that involve the works of classic authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, and Mark Twain. For more information on both of these products, visit the Weekly Reader website.

EPSON ANNOUNCES PROJECTOR RECYCLING AND UPGRADE PROGRAM. Epson America is encouraging schools to swap out their old Epson projectors for more featurerich and environmentally friendly models through its Brighter Futures Graduation Program. Until Aug. 31, K-12 schools and districts that own older Epson projector models can turn them in for free recycling and replace them with new Epson projectors at discounted prices. All new Epson projectors are equipped with lamps that last longer and use less energy than the older projector lamps and offer a number of new features, including microphone inputs and networking capabilities. Schools should contact their Epson dealers for price quotes.

ECHALK OPENS REGIONAL CENTER IN AUSTIN. A provider of online networks for K-12 learning communities, eChalk has opened its first US-based regional center in Austin, TX. The facility will focus primarily on in-depth client service and support. The company, which has worked with Texas educators for nearly a decade through programs such as the state's Technology Immersion Project, hopes this move will further strengthen its connection to the Texas educator community.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2009 issue of THE Journal.

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