With their headphones and iPod Touch machines on, Beatrice Azanza's 20 third grade students were geared up for an afternoon of reading and math.
Textbooks haven't gone away in her class, but high-tech gadgets like the iPod Touch are making Azanza's teaching life at Oswalt Academy a little easier.
After a lesson on addition and subtraction, Azanza's students can get on the iPod Touch, launch the Basic Math application, and test how quickly they can solve a set of problems. The fun, Azanza said, is endless.
"The students are really excited to use them," Azanza said. "You can just see their brains working. They are very motivated."
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First-grader Thomas Tsangaropoulos stands before a laptop during his Spanish class at Lake Parsippany School, smiles broadly into its tiny webcam and waves.
"Hola," he says to the image of a young girl appearing on the computer and on a large screen in the front of the Parsippany classroom. "Me llamo Thomas."
Across town, first-grader Mariah Colon peers into a laptop at Troy Hills School and waves.
"Hola. Buenos días," she says.
Remember when technology in schools meant computer labs and internet connections? New Jersey teachers and students are slowly but increasingly using the tools of Web 2.0 — the so-called second generation of the web that includes creative, collaborative, shared content.
Students are writing on wiki pages, blogging about their classroom activities, recording audio files for band practice, videoconferencing with people around the globe and chatting online about literature.
For a generation that has embraced a joystick and a mouse since they were toddlers, these technologies can help them learn how to be creative, how to communicate and how to work together, said Lisa Thumann, a senior specialist in technology education at Rutgers University’s Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education.
Continue reading at www.nj.com.
Students at a Baltimore County high school this fall will explore the area surrounding Mount St. Helens in a vehicle that can morph from an aircraft to a car to a boat to learn about how the environment has changed since the volcano’s 1980 eruption.
But they’ll do it all without ever leaving their Chesapeake High School classroom–they will be using a three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environment developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) with the university’s Center for Technology Education.
A coalition that also included Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the University of Baltimore is deploying the environment, which was modeled after a state-of-the-art, 3-D visualization facility at APL that was used for projects by the Department of Defense and NASA. The Virtual Learning Environment is the first of its kind in the nation, said Baltimore County Superintendent Joe Hairston.
David Peloff, program director of emerging technologies at Johns Hopkins’ Center for Technology in Education, said the Virtual Learning Environment grew out of a recently completed federal grant that allowed researchers to look at the ways gaming and simulation technology could be used to help children learn.
"There’s not a lot of research that says this directly improves student achievement. We have a hunch that it does," he said. "But we do know that it improves student involvement. And it [improves] teacher involvement, as well."
Continue reading at www.eschoolnews.com.
Middle and high school students spent a little more than four weeks this summer at McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C., developing the programming and modeling for a prototype of an educational computer game called Immune Attack 3.0.
Last year the students used the free educational game to learn, by aiming to make science fun and engaging for students. This year, they’re putting their programming and modeling skills to the test to help the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) update the game.
“Lots of schools are using games to teach their students,” said Rick Kelsey, director of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at McKinley. “But this year we’re taking it a step further. The new version of the game will be played by students all over the country.”
Continue reading at www.eschoolnews.com.
At Empire High School in Vail, Ariz., students use computers provided by the school to get their lessons, do their homework and hear podcasts of their teachers’ science lectures.
Down the road, at Cienega High School, students who own laptops can register for “digital sections” of several English, history and science classes.
And throughout the district, a Beyond Textbooks initiative encourages teachers to create — and share — lessons that incorporate their own PowerPoint presentations, along with videos and research materials they find by sifting through reliable Internet sites.
Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.
“Kids are wired differently these days,” said Sheryl R. Abshire, chief technology officer for the Calcasieu Parish school system in Lake Charles, La. “They’re digitally nimble. They multitask, transpose and extrapolate. And they think of knowledge as infinite.
“They don’t engage with textbooks that are finite, linear and rote,” Dr. Abshire continued. “Teachers need digital resources to find those documents, those blogs, those wikis that get them beyond the plain vanilla curriculum in the textbooks.”
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At Goshen Local schools, students this fall will use iPod Touch devices to access the Internet.
They'll set up Wiki Web pages, much like Wikipedia, to share class projects and research.
They'll learn from interactive white boards instead of chalk boards.
Goshen, a rural-suburban district of 2,700 students in Clermont County, is like dozens of other Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky districts trying to create tech-savvy classrooms in a recession.
Despite budgets so tight some teaching jobs go unfilled, public and private schools are finding ways to fund technology upgrades.
Educators say it's mandatory. Teachers and students have to be well-versed in high tech.
"We have to prepare them for ... the tools they'll use in college and in the workplace," said Darrell Edwards, a Goshen principal.
Continue reading at www.news.cincinnati.com.
One student is putting on lipstick in class while another has headphones on. A third student talks to his friend sitting next to him.
The teacher’s challenge: Try to engage these teenagers.
When the teacher suggests that the students do a worksheet, a girl puts her head on the desk.
So begins a computer program designed to prepare teachers for the modern youngster and help stem the flight of educators from the nation’s classrooms.
Fewer than half of first-time teachers remain in the field for more than three years, said Tandra Tyler-Wood, associate professor of educational psychology at the University of North Texas. And the rate is even lower for special-education teachers.
So UNT researchers are studying the simSchool program with a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Future teachers play what amounts to a game where they must respond to simulated classroom situations and students with a range of characteristics. The results look promising.
Continue reading here.
A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion: “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
The report examined the comparative research on online versus traditional classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008. Some of it was in K-12 settings, but most of the comparative studies were done in colleges and adult continuing-education programs of various kinds, from medical training to the military.
Over the 12-year span, the report found 99 studies in which there were quantitative comparisons of online and classroom performance for the same courses. The analysis for the Department of Education found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.
“The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing — it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction,” said Barbara Means, the study’s lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International.
Continue reading at www.nytimes.com.
Smart Technologies aims to change how kids learn.
Children who marched into their grade school classrooms this autumn found the usual assortment of crayons, glue sticks and light-up globes. Thousands found something else: large interactive screens affixed to a classroom wall, known in playground lingo as "Smart boards."
When attached to the Internet, these boards are a portal to the digital world. Students can manipulate what's on the screen with a finger or a stylus. Changes get saved to a laptop computer and then printed or sent home via e-mail. Teachers like the boards. They're cool and digital--but if you want to use them like a blackboard, you can do that, too.
Sales of wall screens, which cost between $700 to $4,500, have zoomed from 170,000 units in 2004 to 700,000 worldwide this year, mostly to schools. Almost a third of k--12 classes in the U.S.--and three-quarters of the schools in the U.K.--now have one. "This is the first tool that's transforming our classrooms and showing how they're different from the past hundred years," says Diane A. Garber, principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Burlingame, Calif.
Continue reading at www.Forbes.com.