Kraus Curriculum Development Library

The Kraus Curriculum Development Library (KCDL) is a popular resource for educators, is now available as a fully searchable online database. This new edition of KCDL, known as “kcdlonline,” enables users to search almost 4,500 curriculum records electronically. Via the internet, educators can search for specific curriculum documents by keyword, subject, educational content, grade level, or geographic location.

“Our decision to switch KCDL from microfiche to a web service was based on the near-unanimous response to a customer service survey last year,” said Evie Mittleman, KCDL manager.

Kcdlonline is designed to help administrators and teachers easily gather content and material. It also shows how different school districts develop academic skills and content across subject areas and from grade to grade, by featuring documents collected from school districts throughout the English-speaking world. School districts can subscribe to the electronic service for $800 per year.

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Boxlight CD-455m Projector

At 6.7 pounds and 1,300 lumens, Boxlight Corp.1s digital-ready CD-455m projector is a lower-cost alternative for educators seeking a good, lightweight projector. Despite the projector’s streamlined design and laptop-sized footprint, it offers 1,300 lumens of brightness to conquer most challenging lighting environments, including fully-lit rooms and daylight conditions.

The CD-455m delivers clear, crisp images straight from the computer with true 800 x 600 SVGA resolution (or compressed 1024 x 768 XGA). A standard DVI (Digital Video Interactive) computer connection ensures that the projector will be compatible with the next generation of digital laptop computers. The DVI connection can connect to both an existing analog laptop and to the digital. The DVI cables include a hot-pluggable USB mouse connection to allow teachers to present from anywhere in the room. It also offers a PS/2 mouse connection.

The CD-455m’s manual zoom/focus assures a quick and easy setup, and a remote control and soft carrying bag complete the package of convenient features. This model, popular in the education market, retails for $2,597.

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Technology training CD-ROM

Technology Learning Solutions Inc. of Cordova, Tenn., has developed a CD-ROM, called “Solution One: Internet Integration,” designed to walk teachers through the process of integrating technology into the curriculum. Using the WebQuest technique presented through illustrated characters, this interactive and entertaining CD-ROM takes the intimidation out of learning technology for teachers.

“This product has been a year and a half in the making,” said Joel Ashner, president of Technology Learning Solutions. “The presentation is fun, exciting, and easy to follow. Teachers will enjoy taking the training, and their students will reap the benefits from it.” Once the Solution One: Internet Integration training is complete, teachers will have completed an internet-based lesson plan they can use in their classroom and they will know how to do it again and again.

The CD-ROM comes with an “Implementation Guide and Workshop” for school administrators responsible for integrating technology into numerous schools. Using a “train the trainer” approach, the guide and workshop aim to help administrators establish a detailed plan of action and a clear path to success. ItÕs not enough just to provide training, Ashner said; administrators must help ensure that essential conditions are created for training to be successful.

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eSniff internet monitoring technology

eSniff Inc., of Englewood, Colo., has unveiled a new patent-pending monitoring technology, eSniff 1100, which reviews all internet traffic and reports suspected violations of a schoolÕs internet policy to a designated individual.

Unlike many blocking and filtering solutions that inhibit legitimate learning opportunities, eSniff sits passively on a computer network and does not restrict student access to the internet, according to the company. Instead, it uses advanced linguistic analysis to analyze all network traffic-including internet, intranet, eMail, chat, FTP, telnet, and print jobs-to identify, isolate, and store activities deemed inappropriate according to the schoolÕs acceptable-use policy.

eSniff acts like a “smart” surveillance camera that only turns on when someone engages in inappropriate network activity, such as viewing pornography or engaging in racist dialogue in eMail. If a user does go outside of the schoolÕs electronic boundaries, eSniff alerts the designated official and saves a copy of the inappropriate request so the official can determine if a violation was actually committed. While eSniff doesnÕt prevent students from going anywhere online, students and staff know that if they go outside the boundaries, their actions will be recorded and reported, holding them accountable to the consequences of the school’s internet policy.

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Canon Presentation Products Initiative

Leading optics manufacturer Canon USA aims to enhance communication in schools with the Canon Presentation Products Initiative, a program that lets educators buy-from one source-any combination of Canon’s extensive product line. Options include digital video camcorders, digital document cameras, remote-controlled cameras, a new presentation assistant sheet scanner, and Canon’s LCD projectors, as well as unique streaming video products and wireless presentation tools.

With Canon’s presentation tools, a teacher could make a presentation come alive by incorporating digital shots taken with a digital still, video, or document camera. The program includes popular Canon products like the LV-Series projectors, the VB101 Network Camera Server, and the PR-200 Presentation Assistant, which can scan and display paper documents, overhead transparencies, and more without connecting to a PC (simply connect it to a digital projector). It also features the DZ-3600U Digital Document Camera, a high-resolution digital imaging system-1,900 pixels by 1,424 pixels-that can capture an entire eight-and-a-half-inch by 11-inch document, legible to 8 pt. type, and display and transmit intricate details that are virtually invisible to the naked eye. This device lets users quickly integrate critical material-like a letter, detailed drawing, or small 3-D object-into any presentation.

Canon offers special package discounts and education pricing on products purchased through its Presentation Products Initiative. For more information, contact the company.

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InFocus LP530 Digital Projector

InFocus Corp.’s LP530 digital projector is an extremely bright projector that weighs 5.7 pounds and delivers up to 2,000 lumens-more lumens per pound than any other projector on the market, according to the company.

The LP530, powered by Digital Light Processing technology from Texas Instruments, has XGA (1,024-pixel by 768-pixel) resolution. It ships standard with computer, video, and audio inputs for multimedia presentations generated from multiple sources. Users can choose either 2,000- or 1,600-lumen settings to adjust to different ambient light conditions.

An advanced connectivity module, which easily attaches to the back of the base LP530 unit, provides additional options for conference room connectivity and multimedia functionality. Because of its extreme functionality and versatility with or without the module, the LP530 can serve as a shared resource in a school or a lightweight personal unit.

The LP530 has a sleek, modular design and comes with its own soft carrying case. The projector’s estimated retail price is $4,999. It comes with a two-year standard product warranty and one year of the company’s ProXchange service, which provides a replacement projector of equal or greater quality the next day (in most cases) if your problem cannot be resolved by technical support.

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Reading assessment tool from Scholastic

Scholastic’s new web-based reading assessment program, iReach, is designed to help students in grades two to eight build reading comprehension, vocabulary skills, and prepare for standardized tests.

iReach identifies reading weaknesses using critically-acclaimed books and standards-based assessments. Students read full-length books based on their grade level, then take multiple-choice tests that evaluate 39 comprehension and vocabulary skills. Teachers get immediate feedback, as well as lessons that target each studentÕs needs.

“Teachers are feeling the growing pressures of accountability due to increased emphasis on national and state testing,” said Harry Barfoot, vice president and general manager of Scholastic Educational Publishing. “They need tools to identify those students who need to be helped by targeted reading lesson plans.”

The iReach management reports let school administrators, teachers, and parents know how students are doing on 39 reading and vocabulary skills. The reports can be used to indicate how students will do on standardized reading tests. iReach is based on skills from five major standardized tests, as well as every statewide assessment, Scholastic said. Because iReach is accessed online, students can use it in the classroom, in the library media center, or at home.

A 12-month subscription costs $99 for a teacher license for up to 40 students, $349 for a school site license for 200 students, and $79 for 50 student site license extensions.

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PC Tune-Up Software

Instead of spending hours re-installing software on a problem PC, spend minutes each week preventing problems with System Mechanic Mobile Tool Kit from Iolo Technologies, a Pasdena, Calif.-based company. Like an auto mechanic, System Mechanic performs maintenance functions that keep computers running longer. The software consists of 15 different utilities designed to enhance the stability, performance, and overall reliability of a PC.

“System Mechanic can speed up your internet connection by up to 300 percent, clean up your system registry, remove unnecessary files, fix and remove broken Windows shortcuts, and streamline your overall system maintenance,” said Francis Johnson, a spokesman for Iolo Technologies. “There’s nothing worse than a PC that’s slow, unstable, and full of useless junk files.”

System Mechanic Mobile Tool Kit runs directly from a CD-ROM, so it must be physically transported for use on each machine. Users simply insert the disc into each machine, perform the maintenance required, and remove the CD afterward. “It’s a computer-independent license, so one CD can be used to portably maintain any number of machines,” Johnson said.

System Mechanic Mobile Tool Kit costs $299.95 and works on Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and NT 4.0 machines.

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Ongoing Grants

ClassLink Grants

Sponsored by cell phone manufacturer Nokia and a consortium of cell phone service providers (organized by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association), this program gives cell phones and free calling time to classroom instructors. The program is designed to create additional in-class learning opportunities by enabling students to call subject matter experts during school time and to provide instructors with emergency access to telephones to ensure their safety and the safety of their students. To date, more than 28,000 cell phones and 12 million hours of free phone time have been donated. Among the innovative uses of the system has been a project in a private school in Florida that allows each teacher to place his or her homework assignment on wireless voice mail daily, so that parents can call in and confirm their children’s homework assignments. Grants are made by individual local wireless providers; to find out if your provider is participating in the program, go to the ClassLink web site.

http://63.74.120.38/wirelessfoundation/03class/index.htm

Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants

The Dirksen Congressional Center is offering $40,000 for projects that create lesson plans and/or student activities on Congress, government, and civics. Projects that use multimedia applications are preferred, especially as they facilitate identification of additional resources for teaching the historical basis for legislative and regulatory rules. Teachers of students in grades 4 through 12 can apply for the grants; institutions cannot. The grant administrators emphasize that they are seeking “practical classroom applications” in the lesson plans and use of technology. Applicants should begin by sending a short letter or eMail message that outlines their project; promising candidates will be asked to submit more-detailed information. Proposals may be submitted any time during the year.

Contact: Frank H. Mackaman, executive director, (309) 347-7113 or fmackaman@pekin.net

http://www.pekin.net/dirksen/micheledgrants.html

Teach America!

Launching its new Teach America! program with a major media splash through President Clinton’s “New Markets for the Digital Economy” tour, the Gateway Foundation has promised to provide free technology training to 75,000 educators in public and private schools. Successful applicants will receive one year of free access to an online database containing more than 400 technology training courses, which run the gamut from word processing to web site design to spreadsheets to computer-aided drafting. Applicants can be individual teachers or school district media representatives. Applicants must file a short note indicating their reasons for wanting access to the online training program and their plans for using their knowledge in the classroom.

Contact: gateway.foundation@gateway.com

http://www.gateway.com/teachamerica

Toshiba America Foundation Grants

The Toshiba America Foundation awards grants for programs and activities that improve classroom teaching and learning of science, mathematics, and technology for middle and high school students. Public and private schools, local educational agencies, and youth organizations across the United States may apply. Projects should provide direct benefits to students and should include teacher-led classroom-based experiences. The Small Grants Program awards grants of up to $5,000 monthly throughout the year. The Large Grants Program awards grants of more than $5,000 in March and September (with deadlines of Feb. 1 and Aug. 1, respectively). The total annual grants budget is approximately $550,000.

Contact: (212) 588-0820 or foundation@tai.toshiba.com

http://www.toshiba.com/about/taf.html

Regional Grants

Bell Atlantic Foundation Grants

The Bell Atlantic Foundation reviews unsolicited proposals from the 13 Northeastern states served by Bell Atlantic on a continuous calendar-year basis, from January through November. Last year, the organization received about 28,000 requests. Technology integration is the foundation’s priority and integration with education has been one of the areas it has consistently supported. Examples of previously funded technology projects, which can be found on its web site, include supporting a maritime library’s creation of online courses for middle school students and a program to provide rehabilitated computers to disadvantaged children. The foundation recommends that you apply for its grants online; guidelines are available on its web site.

Contact: (800) 360-7955

http://www.bellatlanticfoundation.com

First for Education Grants

Last year, Carolina First Corp. established the Carolina First for Education Foundation with a $12.6 million endowment. The foundation will provide education and community-based grants to teachers and public schools in South Carolina for projects that will help bring the state to the educational forefront, including grants for technology initiatives such as purchasing computers. All grants will be awarded based on evaluation of a written application. For an application form, write to the Carolina First For Education Foundation, PO Box 1029, Greenville, SC 29602.

Contact: Bruce Thomas, (803) 750-2706

Intel Foundation Grants

Intel offers a wide range of support for many technology- and science-related initiatives. On a national level, Intel funds programs that advance math, science, or technology education, promote science careers among women and underrepresented minorities, or increase public understanding of technology and its impact. National grants are made either to national projects or local projects that serve as pilots for national programs. They are cash-only grants (no equipment or volunteer support). Community grants are viewed with the same priorities and subject to the same rules as national grants, but they are limited to communities where Intel has a major facility: Chandler, Ariz.; Folsom and Santa Clara, Calif.; Rio Rancho, N.M.; Hillsboro, Ore.; Fort Worth, Texas; and DuPont, Wash. Intel’s Public Affairs Department also considers requests for equipment and support of Intel volunteers in the communities where the company has operations. An example of this type of activity is the Management Review Committee staffed by Intel managers and administrators in the Chandler Unified, Tempe Union, and Kyrene School Districts in Arizona, which meets monthly to maximize the value of all Intel-supported programs in the area. Applications for these programs can be found on Intel’s web site.

http://www.intel.com/intel/community/grants.htm

Sprint Foundation Grants

The Sprint Foundation supports educational projects that foster school reform with new technologies and communications media and through fresh approaches to the enhancement of teachers’ skills. Although Sprint does not have an application form, the foundation recommends that applicants identify how their projects support Sprint’s objectives: innovation and the use of technology in the classroom; enhanced education for minorities and/or the disadvantaged; and increased employee and public support of education. Because these grants are supported by employee contributions matched by foundation funds, grants are available for projects in areas with a significant employee presence, primarily Kansas City, Mo.; Atlanta; Dallas; and Sacramento, Calif. Two examples of grant recipients for 1998 are the National Technical Institute for the Deaf to implement videoconferencing in a variety of educational applications, and the Kansas City Art Institute to begin creation of a forward-looking, campus-wide technology initiative. Schools and other education-related nonprofit agencies can apply for grants totaling about $500,000 per year. Call to talk to a program officer first or check out Sprint’s web site for application guidelines.

Contact: (913) 624-3343

http://www.sprint.com/sprint/overview/ commun.html

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