Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

Seeing the 'Green' Light

A new essay competition asks secondary students to describe how schools can best use technology to preserve the environment.

In BriefWITH TECHNOLOGY and the environment increasingly at the forefront of global discussion, PC Mall Gov is giving middle and high school students an opportunity to examine how one can be used to make a positive impact on the other. Partnering with T.H.E. Journal, Hewlett- Packard, and InFocus, PC Mall Gov is accepting student entries for its Green Light Contest. Students in grades 5 to 12 must submit an application along with an essay of 1,000 words or less that describes a potential program to help students and teachers use technology to protect the environment. The essays must also reflect on the overall impact the technology program could have on the school and surrounding community. The programs presented in the essays will be scored by a panel of judges from the education technology field based on their potential environmental impact, originality, implementation capabilities, and potential for replication. The four highest-scoring essays will be published on From those four essays, the judges will choose two firstprize winners-- one from grades 5 through 8 and another from grades 9 through 12-- to each receive an environmentally friendly HP laptop. One of the two first-prize winners will be named the grand-prize winner and receive a 30-seat "green" computer lab for his or her school. The lab will include HP thin clients with a server, software, and networking equipment, as well as laptops, a printer, and an InFocus projector. The winners will also be recognized during the 2009 Florida Educational Technology Conference, which will be held Jan. 21-24 in Orlando, FL. "We are excited and pleased to offer this contest to students across the country," says Alan Bechara, president of PC Mall Gov. "Our partnership with HP and InFocus enables us to encourage students to think about how technology and environmental awareness come together in our schools and classrooms, and how we can responsibly use these tools not only to advance learning but also to protect the environment. There is no better group than our tech-savvy students to think about, and address, these issues." "It is our hope that through this contest we will foster lifelong interest in environmental stewardship through the use of technology," adds PC Mall Gov Vice President of Business Development Sharon Ennis. Entries are due Dec. 1, and each school may only submit three essays per grade level. If you would like more information about the Green Light Contest, including submission criteria and applications, visit here. The website also includes free contest posters for your school, tips for helping the environment, and links to environmental websites that may provide information and inspiration to entrants. Send questions about the contest here.


THE STATE EDUCATIONAL Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recently released a report titled "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics," which addresses the need to provide all children with rigorous instruction in the four STEM subjects. The report includes examples of schools that have successfully implemented STEM education into their curriculum, and uses these examples to offer suggestions for effective instruction. Key recommendations include exposing students to STEM careers, and providing ongoing STEM professional development and preservice teacher training. SETDA also places a special emphasis on building societal support for STEM education. "The negative connotation of the 'computer geek,' 'brainiac scientist,' and 'mathlete' needs to be turned on its head," said SETDA Executive Director Mary Ann Wolf in a statement. "Parents, teachers, and community leaders must promote the possibilities of STEM careers instead of relegating these choices to 'other kids' who are really good at math or science." The report is the second released as part of SETDA's Vision 20/20 Action Plan series, an initiative that aims to outline steps that policymakers and school districts can take so that the class of 2020 will have all of the skills needed to compete in a global economy. Visit here to download the report.

:: Industry News

SPECTRUM K12 HOSTS RTI WEBINAR SERIES. Spectrum K12 School Solutions is hosting the "Architecting Success: Manage RtI and Student Achievement" Exceed/Response to Intervention webinar series for K-12 educators who want to improve student achievement through personalized instruction for all students. The interactive sessions will review research from leading national organizations, demonstrate tools for integrating data, and illustrate progress monitoring through the use of visual displays. The first of the free, one-hour webinars, titled "RtI-- Process or Program?" will be held at 3 p.m. EDT on Oct. 9. For more details and to register, visit here.

STR LOANS MICROSCOPE KITS TO SCHOOLS. School Technology Resources has launched a program to provide free loaner microscope kits to science teachers, including free shipping of the kits to and from anywhere in the US. The loan program coincides with the introduction of the company's Scope on a Rope (SOAR), a handheld video microscope with interchangeable magnifying lenses, and an output for connection to a computer, projector, TV, or LCD display. The new SOAR kits include the microscope, an XYZ stage/stand, and a teacher resource CD with more than 100 K-12 lesson plans. To find out more about the program and sign up for a loan, teachers can visit here.

TEACHSCAPE OFFERS FREE PD MODULES. By joining the Module of the Month Club, teachers can explore the online professional development resources found in the Teachscape XL web-based PD platform. After signing up for the club on, teachers will have access to a free online course module each month, to use for their own learning or to share with teachers they're coaching. Up coming course topics include English language development, overcoming dyslexia, and evidence-based practices for teaching reading.

:: Awards and Contests

CLASSROOM MAKEOVER VIDEO CONTEST LAUNCHES. AVerMedia has teamed up with eInstruction to bring the second annual Interactive Classroom Makeover Video Contest to K-12 schools. Participating classes must produce a short music video parodying a song of their choice while demonstrating how different types of technology can be used to enhance instruction. A panel of judges will choose one winning class from each of the K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade categories. The three grand-prize winners will receive cash, products, and services from various education technology companies totaling about $75,000, which they will use to give their classrooms a technology makeover. Submissions are being accepted until Oct. 24. Visit for more information and complete contest details.

UPDATE: VERNIER/NSTA AWARD DEADLINE EXTENDED. Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association have extended the submission deadline for the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards to Nov. 30. The awards, which comprise $1,000 in cash, $1,000 in Vernier equipment, and $1,000 toward expenses for attending NSTA's 2009 National Convention, will be given to seven of the most resourceful science teachers in the country. For more information, visit here.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2008 issue of THE Journal.