Grant Opportunites


Education is Crucial

Crucial Technology, a division of Micron, has announced that it will donate up to $100,000 worth of server memory upgrades to Idaho public schools through the Education is Crucial program. The program is intended to help Idaho schools increase the performance level in their existing computer systems. Idaho schools received $87,000 in memory upgrades last year through the Education is Crucial program, now in its second year. Applications are being handled by the Idaho Department of Education. Schools need only complete an online survey to apply, with memory upgrading to be administered on a needs-first basis.

(800) 239-0337


First for Education Grants

Carolina First Corp. has 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, P.O. Box 1029, Greenville, SC 29602.

(864) 255-4780

Learning to Win

Cloudscape, a leader in database management solutions, is offering its Cloudscape 100% Pure Java database to schools at no charge through the new Learning to Win program. Learning to Win is designed to encourage students to learn the Java programming language and experiment with building applications in Java. Cloudscape says it is the first company to offer free Java SQL databases for schools to use as educational resources.

(888) 595-2821

Schools Online Internet Access

Schools without classroom internet access are eligible to apply for Schools Online equipment grants. The Schools Online grant program offers schools simple, cost-effective internet access, together with local support and training in its use. Participating schools are asked to designate a committed person to manage the equipment and participate in training. Schools are also asked to provide either a telephone line along with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) account for dial-up access, or a network connection to the world wide web. Schools Online has helped more than 5,000 classrooms get internet access in just over two years. Schools Online is supported by corporate, educational, and individual partners.

(408) 501-0770

$93 million from U.S. Department of Education

To help create high-quality after-school programs, $93 million to 176 communities nationwide under the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. The grants will enable schools to stay open longer in order to provide a safe haven for children. Programs include technology education and other supervised activities. The department received 2,000 applications requesting $900 million in funding under this grant competition. In response to the high demand for funding, President Clinton has requested in his 2000 budget proposal a $600 million allocation for next year’s competition.

$3.3 million in computer equipment from Gtech Corp.

For its new After School Advantage program, $3.3 million worth of computers, software, and volunteer hours over the next three years to schools and community centers in states where the lottery operator has a presence. Selected schools will receive an average of $20,000 in equipment and volunteer hours under the program. Gtech will work with each site to design and develop a fully operational computer center for after-school use. The program is initially being rolled out in California, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas and will later spread to all other states in which Gtech operates.

$265,000 in equipment and services from Sprint PCS

For its new “Stay-in-Touch” pilot program, $265,000 worth of phones and air-time to seven Chicago high schools. The Stay-in-Touch program, being piloted in selected Chicago public schools, aims to foster improved communication between teachers and parents and to bolster high school student attendance. The program will provide Sprint PCS phones with free air-time to all 9th and 10th grade homeroom teachers in the participating schools. The idea is that the teachers would be able to contact the parents of students who are not in class.

$150,000 from Citigroup Foundation

To fund the installation of Classroom Inc. career simulation software, $150,000 to 125 schools in South Dakota. Combined with funds from the South Dakota Department of Education and the South Dakota Community Foundation, the grant will include the installation of Classroom Inc. as well as computer training for teachers. Classroom Inc. software simulates “real-life” workplace experiences in a number of career categories, including banking and economics, the environment, healthcare, the hospitality industry, civics, and publishing. Students work in teams under the guidance of teachers, using the software to build and run a business over the course of a semester or full school year.


$128,000 from MediaOne

For its COOL Awards for Outstanding Educators, $128,000 split among 16 winning teams of teachers and administrators from around the country. The COOL program, or Community Outreach and Online Learning initiative, is designed to encourage educators to work as teams to develop innovative classroom applications for video and internet technologies. Each winning team, composed of three teachers and one administrator, received a cash grant of $8,000, plus four computers, internet training, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where an awards ceremony was held. Teams were judged based on creativity, leadership, participation, and outcomes.

$60,000 from LSI Logic Corp.

To purchase computer equipment, software, and other materials, $60,000 to Milpitas High School in California. Proceeds from LSI Logic’s annual 10K run and 5K walk will help the high school put state-of-the-art technologies in its new math and science building, set to open in the fall. In its 9-year history, the LSI Logic Classic Run has raised nearly $400,000 for the Milpitas Unified School District. More than 600 people participated in this year’s event.

$25,000 from Lucent Technologies

To help launch a technology academy, $25,000 to Dieruff High School in Allentown, Pa. The academy, which could open for the 2000-01 school year, would prepare students for careers in new technologies. It would be the fifth specialized academy in the Allentown School District, with others focusing on industries such as the arts, healthcare, science, and fitness. Dieruff’s plans also include a mentorship program with Lucent.

$10,000 from KPMG

For the support of improvements in technology education, $10,000 to the Fairfax (Va.) Public Schools Education Foundation. Projects might include expansion of computer labs, software purchases, and the development of specialized technology courses. KPMG, an accounting, tax, and consulting firm, said it will make the donation annually.


Newslines–Columbine investigators probing school eMail, computer files

Investigators of the Columbine High School shooting case in Littleton, Colo., are scanning eMail messages and computer files of students who knew gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to determine if any of them aided or knew of their plot.

Many of the students have voluntarily turned over their home computers to Jefferson County sheriff’s officials, Lt. John Kiekbusch said. Search warrants have been issued to America Online and other internet service providers, he said, and some school district computers also are being searched.

The investigation has focused on about 12 students who claim to be members of the “Trench Coat Mafia,” the clique to which Klebold and Harris belonged. Detectives are trying to find out if anyone visited Harris’ page on the internet, where he wrote about bomb-building and committing mass murder.

They also are looking for eMails that might have been sent to or from the teenage gunmen in the days before the April 20 attack that killed 13 and injured 21 before Klebold and Harris committed suicide.


Georgia’s satellite TV plan slow to catch on in schools

In the four years since Georgia first established a satellite TV learning network, the state has spent millions of dollars putting the technology into its schools. But according to a University of Georgia study, more than a third of the state’s teachers say they never use it.

“We’ve got a lot of evangelizing still to do,” said Janie Smith, assistant director of PeachStar Education Services, the division of Georgia Public Broadcasting responsible for the network.

According to the study, 37 percent of the state’s K-12 teachers said they never use the PeachStar network in their classrooms, and another 20 percent reported they rarely do. Meanwhile, nearly 82 percent said they weren’t encouraged to participate in PeachStar training.

The state has spent $18 million on satellites and televisions to link its 2,200 public schools, colleges, and regional libraries to PeachStar. More money is added annually by the Legislature to produce and buy programs for the network. But most teachers who don’t use PeachStar said they already had too many demands on their classroom time.

PeachStar Education Services was created by former Gov. Zell Miller in 1995 with money from the state lottery. The network offers more than 3,500 educational programs to Georgia’s schools.


Maryland tech scholarships fall well below projections

State officials had expected about 2,000 Maryland high school seniors would qualify for a new scholarship for science and technology majors who agree to stay in Maryland after graduation, but the number ended up to be about 700. The result is that just $1.9 million of the $5.1 million set aside for the 1999-2000 school year will be handed out this year.

Patricia Florestano, the state’s secretary of higher education, said about 1,600 students applied for the scholarships that pay $3,000 a year toward tuition costs. But more than half were ineligible because they did not maintain a “B” average or better while in high school.

As of May, 690 scholarships had been approved, but a few more might be awarded, Florestano said. She said the state scholarship agency will try to determine why more students did not apply and what can be done next year to increase the number.

The pool of applicants might have fallen short of expectations in part because of the difficulty of science and technology majors, and in part because applicants have to pay back the money unless they work one year in Maryland for each year they get a scholarship, she added.

The science and technology scholarship was proposed by Gov. Parris Glendening last year in an effort to boost the state’s technology work force, and the first awards were made this spring.


Newslines–School vision testing company questioned

An Alabama company criticized for its methods by some medical experts is making millions as the official vision tester for younger schoolchildren in Florida. Now Florida health officials are objecting to the arrangement as well.

Vision Research Inc., which uses a NASA-developed technology called photorefraction, has received $4.4 million since 1997 for vision screening in each of Florida’s 67 school districts without submitting a bid. State budget language is so specific that it excludes Vision Research’s competitors, officials said.

Using a special camera that takes color pictures of the eye, the company’s technology can pick up problems that standard eye charts cannot, according to Vision Research. But a number of local school boards have reported problems with the company, ranging from the disputed accuracy of its eye exam results to its alleged failure to promptly meet scheduling needs.

In Georgia–where Vision Research also conducts some vision tests in schools–lack of competition for the state contract put the company at the center of a controversy earlier this year. As a result, Georgia state officials are planning to solicit bids for the vision screening service next year.

In Florida, school officials in Hillsborough and several other counties have refused to spend the money approved by the state Legislature, balking at letting Vision Research conduct the eye tests. State Department of Health officials, meanwhile, have said the screenings are unnecessarily duplicating cheaper, existing vision testing services.


Kentucky mulls technology standards for teachers

Kentucky lawmakers could soon decide whether to make technology standards part of teacher evaluations. The state Education Professional Standards Board has approved a set of skills teachers would be required to demonstrate under the proposal, which has been passed on to the Kentucky legislature.

Under the plan, teachers would have to show they can connect and install computers, use scanners and other equipment for multimedia presentations, and use computers and the internet for interactive learning. Teachers also would be expected to use computers to design tests and lessons and to show students how to use computers for self-instruction.

The standards would have to be met by new teachers before they earn their degrees and would be made part of the evaluation criteria for existing teachers. Officials don’t expect the standards to be in place before the year 2000.

Not all were pleased with the board’s unanimous actions. Some teachers complained that making the standards part of evaluations when they don’t yet have modern equipment in their classrooms might be asking too much.

Meanwhile, the state Education Department has stepped up its funding for technology training by as much as $100 per teacher. The department said it also will look to make its annual school technology conference more useful for teachers who need to build their skills.

tags spotlights school sports and technology

School administrators, coaches, and athletic directors can take advantage of a new internet resource to help them manage and report their local school sports information. Called InstaSports, the free service is designed to help schools promote their teams and athletes, improve communication with their communities, save time for coaches and ADs, and contribute to student achievement.

Launched earlier this year by AWS Inc. (formerly Automated Weather Source), a Maryland company best known for its internet-based weather monitoring service, InstaSports includes coverage of virtually all scholastic sports, from football, basketball, and field hockey to gymnastics, wrestling, volleyball, and lacrosse.

InstaSports uses an online database to compile comprehensive individual and team statistics from schools across the country. After each game, the coach or team manager uses a password-protected template to record individual and team results. The InstaSports service requires no special software to use–just a computer with access to the web.

Each participating school creates a page on the Insta-Sports web site, which can be linked to the school’s own web site. A school’s InstaSports page contains links to individual team pages, which in turn can be linked to pages containing individual players’ statistics.

Pull-down menus and fill-in-the-blank templates prompt users through the input of final game scores and statistics. As data are entered into the InstaSports database, seasonal statistics are computed and updated automatically in real time for everyone to see–from parents and neighbors to local reporters and college recruiters.

“It’s so simple to use and to add teams,” said Ralph Henning, athletic director for Badger High School in Lake Geneva, Wis. “And it crunches the numbers very well.”

Badger High School used the service to record the results of every varsity sport it offered this spring, Henning said. The school’s home page contains a link to its InstaSports site.

“A lot of people in the community know about it,” he said. “Kids can go online and see the scores that night. We’re not a big enough community to have a local TV station covering the games, and our newspaper is a weekly. This gives us a way to communicate better with the community.”

It also saves Henning and his coaches valuable time. The school’s coaches used to spend a great deal of time figuring out their players’ batting averages, free throw percentages, and other statistics, Henning said. The coaches would post this information in the locker room for their players. Now, calculating the players’ statistics can be done automatically online, he said.

Visitors to the site can view team schedules, box scores from each game, team and individual statistics by game or by season, and national rankings of student athletes, by sport.

The InstaSports database contains information on every school in the country, explained AWS President Robert Marshall, so it already includes basic information about the location of each school’s competitors. This information is used to offer additional features such as directions to games and weather conditions at game time.

Other applications

Through a broadcast partnership program with local TV stations to be launched this fall, the InstaSports service also promises to boost the visibility of participating schools’ athletic programs, Marshall said.

AWS will market exclusive rights to InstaSports’ proprietary sports information to TV stations across the country. For a fee, broadcasters will be able to use the company’s special display software to create full-screen displays and on-air ticker tapes of local school sports results from the InstaSports database.

“This will allow TV stations to reach out to their communities with local information customized for their audience,” Marshall said. “It will also increase exposure for schools that use the InstaSports service.”

Another InstaSports program to be launched this fall, called “Sports Reporters,” will let student journalists log into the InstaSports web site and post their write-ups of the games online. In the future, AWS plans to add content covering topics like health and sports medicine to the site as well.

The InstaSports service is free to schools. The company makes its money through broadcast partnerships and advertising on the InstaSports web site, Marshall said.


Badger High School


Management Software Showcase

Compass K-12

As schools become networked to transfer data between administrative offices and classrooms, many are finding that setting up an intranet–a private, internet-based network–is the best way to offer a secure, consistent, and integrated environment in which to collaborate and communicate information school-wide.

Vista Associates, of Wayland, Mass., offers a simple but powerful tool to set up and administer a school intranet. Called Compass K-12, the product has templates for creating web pages, importing class and student information, and setting end-user privileges.

Compass K-12 is organized into four areas: My Space, Courses, Campus, and Public. “My Space” provides a private area for each user, including a personal home page that can include images and web links; a private storage area for digital documents and files; and automatic eMail notification about new postings in user-selected areas of the intranet.

“Courses” provides a single place for information on course content and activities, including class directories, syllabi, and related information. Assignments can be submitted, graded, and tracked online, and a voting function that automatically tallies results can be used for class surveys or quizzes. Faculty can address eMail to students enrolled in a particular course with a single keystroke.

The “Campus” section is intended to share non course-related information with the rest of the school. School-wide announcements appear instantly in the announcements area, while a calendar section shows events organized by day or month. A discussion section lets students and faculty participate in and start topical discussions, and an online newspaper template lets you publish your school newspaper online as well.

The “Public” section lets you publish and easily update school information to the world wide web for parents and other community members to see without having to learn HTML programming. You can choose Campus data from the calendar or announcements areas to publish with one keystroke, and exemplary student work can be showcased in a Gallery area.

Compass K-12 can be customized to reflect the look and feel of each school. A system of security privileges allows for a secure, structured means for the entire school community to work and learn together. Users can access Compass K-12 with a standard browser and a password.

Compass K-12 runs on Windows NT servers. Pricing is $5 per user per year, but if bought by large school districts, pricing can go down as far as $2 per user per year. This price includes consulting and assistance from Vista Associates.

(508) 653-2490


The latest generation of school administrative software is using the power of the web to give parents real-time access to grades and attendance. One of the best new products in this area is a web-based school management system called PowerSchool, from the Sacramento, Calif., company of the same name.

PowerSchool lets you track student transcripts, report cards, attendance, discipline, and more. With PowerSchool, students can keep up to date on their progress; parents can access current data in real time, 24 hours a day; teachers can record grades and attendance easily and efficiently; and district administrators can have immediate, centralized access to any student’s records, as well as school- and district-wide reports.

As teachers use the cross-platform gradebook to keep grades and take attendance, this information is communicated electronically to the PowerSchool system, where authorized users have access to it. Parents can find out how their children are doing on a continual basis by using the internet or PowerSchool’s automated telephone system. The software can also send electronic progress reports to parents via eMail on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.

A virtually unlimited number of student fields can be added to the software’s demographics file. Because the system is based on web technology and browser access, every PowerSchool screen is an HTML document that can be modified or customized easily using any common web page editor. And because the system is accessed through a web browser, it supports all major computing platforms for all users equally.

PowerSchool is available for a base price per school of $4,000 to $8,000, depending on the number of schools or students in the district.

(800) 399-2828

Web Lessons

Schools using the internet in the classroom face the challenge of keeping students safe from harmful or distracting web sites, while focusing them on relevant material chosen by the teacher. Novell Inc., of Provo, Utah, has introduced a software application designed to do just that. Called Web Lessons, it lets teachers manage the vast resources of the internet by helping them prepare and deliver tailored lessons using specific information from the web.

Web Lessons is Novell’s first product targeted specifically for the education market. A cross-platform, Java-based application, Web Lessons relies upon Novell’s NDS directory technology and BorderManager security management suite to set up user profiles for each lesson and block access to irrelevant web sites.

Through a point-and-click, web-based interface, teachers can develop internet lessons that incorporate specific web pages or sites, while denying access to all other sites except the ones they choose. Teachers can even designate which students have access to what lessons, so they can easily create a variety of lessons designed for different students.

When students log on to the school’s network and choose the appropriate lesson, a main menu shows the lesson goal and provides a list of concepts and related web links for each concept. Students are just a click away from exploring the best the web has to offer, while being kept focused on the lesson at hand.

Web Lessons runs on Novell’s NetWare network operating system and supports teacher workstations with Windows 95 or Mac OS 8.0 or higher. The software is priced at $595 per 500-user, single-server license, or it can be purchased via a School License Agreement of 50 cents per student per year. Novell is offering a special promotional price of $495 per 500-user, single-server license until July 15.

(888) 321-4272

BAIR Filtering System

Another new product designed to manage students’ use of the internet relies on artificial intelligence to block inappropriate sites. The Basic Artificial Intelligence Routine (BAIR) Filtering System, from an Elmira, N.Y., company called Exotrope Inc., is the only filtering solution that can “learn” with each evaluation of a web site, according to its makers.

The BAIR Filtering System consists of a web browser in conjunction with proprietary software that uses artificial intelligence to instantly recognize, evaluate, and block inappropriate content, Exotrope said. When a web page is requested, the software determines whether images or text contained on the site should appear on the computer screen, based on the filtering level–Standard or Ultra–pre-set by the system administrator.

The BAIR System’s artificial intelligence sets it apart from other internet filters, Exotrope said, which place web sites behind firewalls, monitor students’ surfing habits, or otherwise rely on human interaction to prevent access to sites deemed inappropriate. With its proprietary filter, BAIR can even block new pornography sites, “clean” sites that have been hacked into and defiled, and pornographic sites disguised under unassuming names or categories, according to its makers.

The software can be installed on a school district’s network for distribution to all workstations. Initially, the software supports only PC platforms, but a Macintosh version will be available later this summer. For schools, the monthly licensing fee is 10 cents per workstation per day.

(887) 411-2247


One effective way to keep students from either maliciously or inadvertently installing unwanted files, accessing restricted files, or changing system settings is to deploy public access and control software. CybraryN, from the New York company Computers by Design, provides system administrators with state-of-the-art tools to reduce maintenance of Windows-based PCs while controlling students’ access to them.

CybraryN includes multiple time control features that let you switch access to machines on and off, as needed. You can apply the controls to specific users or applications only or to the entire system, and you can set them according to start and end times of the school day or individual lab session. You can also set the controls to shut off access to a computer after a pre-determined time of inactivity has elapsed.

With newly integrated support for both Windows NT and Novell NetWare, CybraryN provides customizable security levels for any number of user groups. Each desktop can be individually configured or grouped into specialty configurations. The software also tracks and monitors computer usage, and it can produce statistical reports on who has been using what applications.

At press time, a site license of CybraryN was available starting at $199.95.

(800) 843-8696




Best new instructional resources on the internet

“Find Out Why” should appeal to inquiring minds

Produced by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with Time for Kids, “Find Out Why” is intended to help students discover the science behind news stories and events in their daily lives. As NSF director Rita Colwell explains, “Exploration and discovery lie at the heart of good science–and good education. Children are natural explorers, and these materials are designed to help nurture and channel their curiosity about the world around them” by asking–and encouraging students to seek answers to–questions such as “Why do rainbows happen?” and “Why does a baseball bat have a sweet spot where every home run slugger wants to hit the ball?” Each month’s questions include activities to help students discover the answers, as well as a “cool science book of the month” to invite further exploration of the topic.

Increase your knowledge with this “Fun Guide to Origami”

Created by four Vidor, Texas, fifth graders, this impressive site on the art of origami took top honors at this year’s ThinkQuest Junior web site building competition. The site gives the history of origami, including a superb hypertext markup (HTML) timeline; a discussion of origami’s uses and benefits, such as math problem-solving and therapy; origami terms, symbols, and tips; and step-by-step instructions for making a crane, jumping frog, butterfly, and more. The ThinkQuest Junior competition recognizes outstanding web designers in grades 4-6 with cash and awards totaling more than $250,000. After visiting the grand prize winner, be sure to check out the other winning ThinkQuest Junior sites as well.

This site lets students create “The Sound of Chaos”

Your students might already have studied fractals and the math that drives them–but do they know what fractals sound like? That’s the idea behind this site from the Discovery Channel Online. Here, students can learn how ground-breaking musicians are using the mathematical principals behind fractals to create haunting melodies of “fractal music,” using nothing more than a desktop computer and a mathematical equation called the Mandelbrot set. Students can listen to snippets of fractal music using the Real Audio plug-in, and they can even create their own fractal music using their web browser to control an online computer music program.

Try these ideas for using the web to collect and analyze math data

“Math WebQuests” was created by Wake Forest University’s Leah P. McCoy for a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics meeting in April. It contains an overview of

WebQuests–web-based projects that incorporate cooperative learning, data collection and analysis, and real-world problem solving–as well as sample WebQuests that can be used in math classes and a tutorial on how to create your own web projects. Sample math WebQuests include “Thrill Rides,” in which students in grades 6-12 use the internet to study roller coasters at 10 major U.S. amusement parks and recommend the three most thrilling rides; and “Best Weather,” in which students in grades 4-8 use data from weather sites to recommend the city with the best overall weather.

Take a virtual field trip to Bolivia–and learn about international relief efforts

This site takes students on a virtual field trip though the lofty mountains and steamy valleys of Bolivia as they follow the efforts of CARE, one of the world’s largest international relief organizations. Daily journal entries and photos from CARE guides introduce students to the physical topography and cultural history of the region. As students learn about the land and its people, they also learn how CARE’s development work in Bolivia is making a difference in many people’s lives–from helping farmers harvest coffee in the dense lowlands to helping women start their own businesses through CARE’s small loans program. Links to other web resources encourage students to explore the country further on their own.

“Get the Facts on Savings and Investing”: Knowledge you can take to the bank

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Assistance has created this site to promote financial literacy among students. An online quiz called “Test Your Money Smarts,” available in PDF or HTML format, is a fun way for students to learn the difference between stocks, bonds, and other investments, and an interactive “Savings Calculator” demonstrates the power of compounded earnings. For teachers, there’s a six-unit curriculum on the “Basics of Savings and Investing,” complete with learning activities and other resources–plus information on how teachers can get experts on investing to visit their classes and share their knowledge first-hand, and links to other sites with financial information for students.


Research and management resources for the K-12 decision


“Lightspan PageOne” provides an all-in-one teaching resource

Developed by the Lightspan Partnership in cooperation with Yahoo!, this site gives teachers their own starting point on the internet, where they can create a personalized and password-protected web site for students and their parents at no charge. With easy-to-use templates,

PageOne provides teachers with the tools to create their own “classroom clubs” that draw from the best online resources available and other information unique to their curriculum and daily activities. Features include “Lightspan Learning Search,” an annotated catalog of more than 15,000 curriculum-relevant sites, indexed by grade level and subject area, to help teachers quickly find sites that bolster the lessons they’re teaching; a “Class Resource Page,” where teachers can organize and display relevant links found in the Learning Search for students to access from a home or school computer; a “Class Album” to let teachers show off their students’ work online; and “References and Resources,” an online reference guide that can be customized with teachers’ favorite resources or used with the links provided, which include a dictionary, thesaurus, online encyclopedia, and other homework resources.

“ExplorAsource” matches learning needs with available resources

This free web service from MediaSeek Technologies promises to make the job of teachers, curriculum directors, and technology coordnators a whole lot easier.

ExplorAsource instantly identifies learning resources–including books, web sites, software, audio, and video tapes–that match the curriculum topics, grade levels, and state or national standards that you indicate. The site is linked to a database of resources from more than 120 well-known publishers of educational materials, including Classroom Connect, Jostens Learning, Knowledge Adventure, PBS Online, Scholastic, and The Learning Company. You simply type in a grade level, subject area, and topic, and the search engine returns a list of available resources, with links to the publishers so you can follow up to get purchasing information. You can also select a standards statement and see what educational resources address it, and you can further refine your search by media type or publisher.

An online guide to protecting students from harassment

The Litteton, Colo., tragedy and the Supreme Court ruling in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education have combined to heighten awareness of the role schools must play in keeping their students safe from harassment. “Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime: A Guide for Schools,” published by the Office of Civil Rights in conjunction with the National Association of Attorneys General, provides step-by-step, practical guidance to help schools respond to–and prevent–violence or harassment against students because of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other difference. Advice includes how to develop a written anti-harassment policy for your district; how to identify and respond to incidents of harassment; and how to create a school climate that supports racial, cultural, and other forms of diversity.

Advice for using “Ask-an-Expert” services

The Virtual Reference Desk, a project of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology and the National Library of Education, has launched a “Learning Center” designed to help K-12 students, parents, and educators use Ask-an-Expert (or AskA) services to find information and answers to questions about school subjects, research topics, career choices, and more. The site includes advice for using AskA services effectively, including tips for locating services and formulating questions; guidelines for teachers to help students use AskA services within the information problem-solving process; and an “AskA Locator” containing links to hundreds of AskA services. The services are grouped by 14 subjects, ranging from science and math to health and careers.

Measure your schools’ progress by the “Nation’s Report Card”

In April, the National Center for Education Statistics launched a new web site for its National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s only ongoing national and state-level assessment of student achievement. Each subject area assessed by NAEP now has its own section, where you can find assessment frameworks, guidelines, reports, and data, as well as current and upcoming assessment activities. A “Sample Questions Tool” shows the relationship between individual sample test questions, student responses, scoring guides, and performance data, while new “audience areas” are designed to help visitors quickly locate the exact data they’re looking for. A special area for state and local administrators, for example, offers customized information, such as funding opportunities for administrators and reports that show the kinds of school resources associated with higher levels of student performance.


Special internet events you won’t want to miss

Challenge students to develop a blueprint for tomorrow

Fall 1999 – Spring 2000

“The Mars Millennium Project” is a national interdisciplinary initiative that challenges students, teachers, and community groups to imagine and create the first community for 100 earthlings on Mars in the year 2030. Working in teams with educators, community leaders, and professionals from all fields, participating K-12 students across the country will be encouraged to think about what makes their own communities work–and what doesn’t–as they create a living environment from the ground up. Guiding the project are the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endownment for the Arts, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. For information on how to participate, call (310) 274-8787, extension 150, or visit the project’s web site.


Best Practices-Technology: Baker Elementary tests a network computing model

Baker Elementary School in San Jose, Calif., is getting the skinny on thin-client computing. The school recently installed a thin-client technology lab that it says could save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs in the long run.

Baker, a California Distinguished school, is recognized as a leader in the integration of technology into the curriculum. The school has been cited for its innovation by the Santa Clara Office of Education and the California School Library Association.

Located in the school’s media center, the new thin-client computer lab provides teachers and students with the genuine look and feel of personal computers, but with the added efficiency, security, and durability of a thin-client solution.

The system runs Windows-based software and contains a host of educational software packages that teachers can use in the curriculum.

But instead of installing 30 complete desktop systems, Baker has been fitted with WinTerm thin-client systems from Wyse Technology. The system connects monitors, keyboards, and small processing units in the classroom to network servers at a central location.

The software applications reside on the school’s network file servers. From the technology lab, students and teachers tap into the servers for their application needs.

“We are fortunate to have such an effective solution for our media center. With thin clients, our students can now spend more time learning,” said Baker Elementary School Principal Bitsey Stark. “We are honored to be at the forefront of schools using technology to enhance education.”

Baker Elementary was selected by National Semiconductor to serve as a pilot site for a thin-client technology lab.

National Semiconductor, which manufactures computer chips for thin-client systems, and several other companies chipped in to see the new lab through.

The donation, which is valued at $175,000, provided Baker Elementary with a complete solution. The donation included free testing, installation, and maintenance, as well as training for teachers and staff members.

National Semiconductor provided three Dell servers, 30 color monitors, staff training, and ongoing maintenance fees; Wyse Technology provided 30 of its 3350SE WinTerm thin-client systems; Computer Networks Inc. installed the equipment and provided technical assistance, training, and software testing; Citrix Systems Inc. donated its Metaframe server-client software package; and Microsoft threw in its Windows NT Terminal Server Edition and Office 97 software packages.

At Baker Elementary, the fact that thin-clients have shown to be easier to maintain has been a boon.

“We did some research and found that the teachers weren’t using the media lab to its full potential because they didn’t have time to troubleshoot the computers, or get them all up-and-running on the same applications for all the students,” Stark said. “Now it’s simple. Teachers turn them on and they just work.”

The Windows-based thin-client terminals being provided by Wyse Technology run applications from central servers. The desktop modules have no moving parts such as fans or hard disk drives, which often break down and require maintenance.

A new Gartner Group study on thin-client solutions found that they typically require 80 percent less management than traditional PCs. In one example, a mortgage bank reported that after switching to a thin-client solution, its annual cost of managing a personal computer fell from $4,458 to $550.

National Semiconductor says PCs can fail up to five times more often than thin-clients. The company says the mean time between failures (MTBF) for PCs is 20,000 to 40,000 hours–and even more for higher-end computers–compared to a 300,000-hour MTFB for thin-clients.

Upgrading is made easier, too. By handling all applications at the server, the Winterm Windows-based terminals in the Baker media lab can be simultaneously upgraded when a new version of a software application is released.

And because they have no local storage capability, there is a much smaller threat of introducing a virus or otherwise corrupting the system.

Baker Elementary is part of the Moreland School District in the Silicon Valley. The school caters to 470 students in grades K-5.

In addition to its new thin-client media lab, the school boasts of having Macintosh computers in all classrooms, each linked to the internet and districtwide intranet. Laser printers in each classroom allow students to publish poems, reports, stories, and books.

Baker was the first school in its district to implement “CU-SeeMe” videoconferencing technology, and students correspond regularly with Key Pals and others around the world.

Baker Elementary School

Citrix Systems Inc.

Computer Networks

Microsoft K-12 Education Programs

National Semiconductor

Wyse Technology