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.
Ballet, hip-hop and computers wouldn't normally find themselves in the same sentence, let alone an educational program.
But those are just some of the elements that will be in the mix at an arts and technology charter school scheduled to open later this month at a Clearwater church.
Serving children in kindergarten through third grade, the Life Force Arts & Technology Academy will infuse ballet, hip-hop, modern dance, singing, theater and computers into a traditional educational curriculum.
"The twist here is we're going to be using performing arts and technology as a way of communicating with kids,'' said Maurice Mickens, chairman of the school. "The goal is for kids to work one grade above their level within a year.''
Continue reading at www.tampabay.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.”
Continue reading at www.nytimes.com.
Being able to read and write multiple forms of media and integrate them into a meaningful whole is the new hallmark of literacy.
It is no coincidence that the words letter and literacy look alike. When the concept of a literate person arose centuries ago, it referred to those few who were considered educated, precisely because they "knew the letters."1 To this day, the prevailing definition of a literate person is still someone who has the ability to read, write, and understand words.
Yet the word literacy rarely appears by itself anymore. Public narrative embraces a number of specialty literacies, including math literacy, research literacy, and even citizenship literacy, to name a few. Understanding the evolving nature of literacy is important because it enables us to understand the emerging nature of illiteracy as well. After all, regardless of the literacy under consideration, the illiterate get left out.
At the epicenter of the evolving nature of literacy is digital literacy, the term du jour used to describe the skills, expectations, and perspectives involved in living in a technological society. How has digital literacy evolved in the 25 years since digital tools began appearing in classrooms? And how can we make it more responsive to our present needs?
Continue reading about the publication, including the eight new media guidelines for teachers, here at www.ascd.org.
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.
Live from Antarctica! It's an eighth-grade science class on global warming for a group of Harlem students whose teacher is doing research on the frozen continent.
Students at Promise Academy participated in a videoconference Tuesday with science teacher Shakira Petit, who was bundled in a hooded parka, boots and gloves for her talk on icebergs and rising sea levels.
"Would it be easy for a kid to live in Antarctica?" one student asked.
No, Petit said. "There are no children here. It's all scientists."
Petit is spending two months in Antarctica in a program sponsored by the New York-based nonprofit Global Nomads Group, which arranged the video hookup for the Harlem charter school that aims to prepare youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds for top colleges. Other schools on the hookup were in Newark, Del.; Davie, Fla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Douglass, Kan.
Stamping her feet for warmth in the minus 7-degree weather, Petit pointed out various features of Antarctica's McMurdo Station like supply buildings, trucks with big snow tires and a cross in memory of explorer Robert F. Scott.
Among the questions students asked: "What causes shapes and colors in an iceberg?" "How do you judge the age of the ice?" and "How thick is the ice you're standing on?"
Petit co-taught the class with Kirsty Tinto, a graduate student from New Zealand. The women are part of a group of researchers seeking to further scientific knowledge of global warming by studying sediments deposited in Antarctica some 34 million years ago when there were dramatic global climate changes.
Continue reading at www.foxnews.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.
Eyes roll when Rabbi Hayim Herring tells his fellow clergy that they should spend an hour a day on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Listeners at his seminars exchange smirks when he says blogging should be considered mandatory. They look aghast when he recommends posting short video clips from their sermons on YouTube.
It's a lot better than the reaction he used to get.
"They used to look at me as if I'd just said a four-letter word," said Herring, the former senior rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park and now the executive director of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal). But in its seven years, the organization has seen more converts to what many call one of the dirtiest words in religion: marketing.
Across the country, religious congregations have turned more to marketing to keep the members they have and attract others to their emptying pews. The trend is accelerating as the Internet and its explosion of social networking sites add entirely new ways to connect on spiritual issues.
But the growing emphasis on new salesmanship tools alarms others who say the onslaught undermines the idea that spirituality should be a respite from the constant clamor of commercialism.
Continue reading at www.startribune.com.
Twitter actually can be a helpful study tool, some students and educators say
Sammy Garey, a recent graduate of Burlingame High School in Burlingame, Calif., is a devoted user of Twitter. She's used the website with her classmates for online book discussions for her AP English class, in which they post and share feedback, analysis, and questions about novels such as Crime and Punishment. Garey also turns to the website to check breaking news and feed her interest in science by following the tweets of specialized Twitter accounts such as MedUpdates and DrugInfo.
Twitter, the Web service that lets people post and share messages of 140 characters or fewer, is enjoying a popularity surge in general. But on the education front in particular, some forward-thinking college professors are embracing it and finding ways to include it in courses, and teachers at the K-12 level are also experimenting with the social networking website. Using Twitter in a classroom setting can bring challenges, but some educators and students think it's a tool that can boost the learning process.
Continue reading at www.usnews.com.
MacKenzie Leake has finished "Pride and Prejudice" and is preparing for "Wuthering Heights," Nos. 1 and 2 on the summer reading list for juniors at St. Mary's Episcopal School.
This week, she'll be posting her reflections in a wiki, a private Web site created by her teacher to hold all the photos, video clips and observations starting to pour in.
Georgian England and Heathcliff, meet Web 2.0.
For hundreds of students in Shelby County, it means no more summer reading reports due the first week of school.
No quizzes, no worksheets, no timed essay tests. The only paper is the pages in the books themselves, and with Kindle digital books, even that's optional.
Instead, they are posting in blogs, combing newspapers and YouTube for modern examples of the timeless conflicts, or shooting their own videos. The Web sites are not only free but offer access around the globe, important if you go to a remote summer camp, for instance.
"Because I knew I was going to post, I paid more attention and highlighted some things in the book, which I usually don't do," said Rebecca McAlexander, a sophomore at White Station High School, posting to nicenet.org on "How to Read Literature like a Professor."
Continue reading here.