Learn to practice proactive—not reactive— grant-seeking

I recently received a telephone call from a school district on the West Coast asking for help writing a grant proposal. I’m a grant-writing consultant, so that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Well, there’s a little more to the story.

I received the call at 5 p.m. EST on a Monday and the proposal was due that Friday, less than five days’ notice. Plus, the application had to include some important pieces of information from a report that an outside consultant had spent the past year working on. When the district called me, officials still were waiting for the report. The staff member who called me was frustrated and sounded defeated, and understandably so.

I’m using this example to highlight the importance of preparing far enough in advance and leaving adequate time to put together a proposal. I know this has been mentioned before, but it seems there are still an awful lot of folks out there who operate in the last-minute mode, trying their very best to put a proposal together as those last minutes are ticking away on the clock!

First, I would like to appeal directly to school districts’ administrative staffs. If there isn’t a system in place in your district to disseminate information about grant opportunities to the appropriate staff people within a day of the receipt of this information, please consider putting such a structure in place. In many cases, your staff will need every second that is available to polish a project idea and to construct a well-written proposal.

How many of you read the “Grant Deadlines” section that usually is located right beneath this article every month? For many of these grants, only two months’ notice (or less) before the deadline is not enough time to collect all the information and work out all the details needed to submit a comprehensive proposal. However, even if you don’t have time to apply for the current funding cycle, you can use this information to prepare for future competitions under the same program.

When you see a new grant program, do you check to see if the funder will fund the types of projects you’d like to implement in your district? If so, do you get in touch with the funder or check the web site right away to find out more about the program and what is required in a proposal? Most people who see an impending deadline will become discouraged and let this opportunity pass. If no follow-up steps are taken immediately, in all likelihood this information is forgotten. However, you can turn this into a proactive situation by taking a few simple steps.

If the description of the grant program seems to fit some projects that your district would like to implement, do the research as soon as you see the information. (Better yet, do the research as soon as you identify some project ideas!) Contact the funder and ask for the request for proposal (RFP) or giving guidelines, or find out if this information is posted on a web site. Ask if there is a mailing list you can join to receive more information.

When you get the information about applying, review it and make a reasonably quick decision about whether it is worthwhile to apply for the upcoming competition. Realistically examine what material must be included and ask if this material is available. Do you meet the funder’s eligibility requirements? What kind of time do staff members have to work on the grant?

A decision must be made that is not influenced too much by the amount of the grant award, because a poorly conceived project that is translated into a hastily written proposal is not likely to be funded, anyway. If you decide not to pursue a grant opportunity this year, note when the competition was announced and whether a new one is expected next year. Make a list of all the items you’ll need and start collecting them now. Design a simple database to include information about funders for easy future reference. Keep copies of funders’ RFPs and guidelines on hand, so you can get a jump on the competition for next year.

Using these steps to achieve proactive grant-seeking should help reduce the stress of proposal writing and lead to better applications that contain well-developed projects. Always strive to avoid the last-minute proposal whenever possible!

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How to handle offensive student web sites created outside of school

Even if you aren’t old enough to remember Wally Cox as “Mr. Peepers” on the small black-and-white tube, or you somehow missed the antics of John Travolta as Vinny Barbarino on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” you are likely to have gotten a few laughs or tears from TV sitcoms or dramas set in the classroom.

While many of the scenarios are based on real situations, in many cases TV writers either have no clue as to what really happens in school, or they intentionally distort or exaggerate reality for effect. A recent example of the sublime approach to prime-time classroom soap opera is the Fox Network show “Boston Public.” Putting aside the sheer goofiness of the over-the-top caricatures of faculty, staff, and students, there is one aspect of the show that reflects one of the more serious and frustrating issues facing eSchoolers—student web pages.

Among the ongoing flow of interesting and though-provoking eMails from readers who are out on the eSchool front lines, I received this question from Paul F. Rosenbaum, head of Upper School and associate headmaster of the Viewpoint School in Calabasas, Calif. He wrote that one of the dilemmas he faces concerns student web pages. “Of course, our student newspaper is reviewed by the faculty editor, and the school web page is reviewed by the faculty webmaster. But what about student web pages that mention the school?”

Although it is unlikely that many students will post content on their web pages that is as offensive and shocking as the animated horrors published by the unbridled young webmistress on “Boston Public,” it is always tempting for students to use their personal web space to poke fun at administrators, criticize teachers, or sensationalize school-related problems.

For those schools that allow students to create a personal web space on the school’s web site, there is little problem. The pages can be monitored and edited (OK, censored) by school officials or teachers. Certainly, the parameters of proper web page content are part of your school’s acceptable-use policy (AUP). But when kids use their home computers and internet service providers (most of which offer some web space as part of the web connection fee) to rattle your school’s cage, taking disciplinary action can get a bit tricky.

Suspensions and expulsions are drastic measures that can buy you a one-way ticket to court and a sizeable legal bill for defending against the almost certain First Amendment challenge. Far more effective (and a whole lot cheaper) is immediate and non-confrontational contact with the parents, most of whom do not monitor their cherubs’ web shenanigans. If that does not work, communicate with the ISP (internet service provider) that hosts the student’s web page. All ISPs have their own AUPs, and most do not condone obscenities or libelous material.

You might want to add some wording to the part of your school’s AUP that applies the same standards of web-behavior to a student’s personal web pages. The student and the student’s parents who sign the AUP agreement for using the school’s web facilities then would be asked to agree that they will adhere to the same standards of appropriate content for personal web pages or postings that can be accessed from the school’s computers. While the First Amendment may restrict your ability to control private web site content, if the student and parent agree to the restrictions in the AUP “contract,” it may be easier to defend withdrawing school web privileges for student misuse of personal web pages.

Make sure you don’t try to over-control private student web pages. If you get too sensitive about satire or criticism on student web sites, you are less likely to prevail with either parents or ISPs. Sometimes, you are better off just to grin and bear it—and be thankful it wasn’t anonymously spray-painted in foot-high letters on the school driveway.

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Apple acquires SIS firm PowerSchool in $62 million deal

In what industry analysts say is a “startling” move that confirms the company’s rededication to education, Apple Computer announced March 14 that it would acquire privately held PowerSchool Inc., a leading provider of web-based student information systems (SIS) for the K-12 market.

“Apple has a legacy of helping teachers teach and students learn. We are now expanding that mission to include helping schools run more effectively,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, in a company statement.

Like other web-based systems—such as Chancery Software’s Open District, NCS Pearson’s SchoolCONNECTxp, and Administrative Assistants Ltd.’s eSIS—PowerSchool’s eponymous software gives teachers and administrators the ability to manage student records via the internet and gives parents real-time access to their children’s grades and other information.

Voted the third-best SIS in a recent eSchool News Readers’ Choice Awards poll, PowerSchool reportedly is used by some 2,000 schools nationwide.

“By acquiring PowerSchool and welcoming its talented employees to Apple, we instantly become the leading provider of web-based student information systems nationwide,” said Jobs.

PowerSchool’s competitors disputed that notion.

“We have an installed base that is 10 times the size of PowerSchool,” said Rick Moignard, president and CEO of Chancery Software. “Obviously, I think Chancery has a very strong market position. We give our customers a first-rate product, and we’re extremely well-placed in this market.”

Though an Apple spokeswoman would not discuss the acquisition, a company press release suggests why Apple made the move: “Apple’s focus on administrative leadership is a major commitment. We recognize school leaders need access to reliable data in order to make informed decisions, which will lead to improved student performance. … Administrative leadership also means ensuring that all district stakeholders—students, teachers, parents, and administrators—have access to the tools and information necessary for their work.”

Some industry experts think the deal proves that Apple, once the undisputed leader in America’s schools, may be trying to regain its position atop the education market.

“The education segment is clearly very important for Apple, and it’s an area in which they are coming under pressure, particularly from Intel-based competitors,” said Charles Smulders, principal analyst the Gartner Group market research firm Dataquest. “They need to find ways to distinguish themselves.”

An industry expert who wished to remain anonymous put it another way: “It’s startling. This is far beyond the scope of what Apple’s ever done before, and I’ve always been very impressed with PowerSchool’s product.”

Apple has attempted to breathe new life into its education division recently, particularly with the rehiring of Cheryl Vedoe. A former vice president of Apple’s education division, Vedoe rejoined the company in November in the newly created position of vice president of Education Marketing and Solutions, reporting directly to Jobs.

Two other recent Apple hires may ring a bell in the ed-tech community.

David Dwyer, formerly of Apple Education and Computer Curriculum Corp., recently was hired as Apple’s director of education technology.

Apple also hired David Byer, former executive director of the Congressional Web-based Education Commission, a high-profile bipartisan group charged with reporting on the uses of technology in K-12 schools. Byer was hired as a senior manager of education strategy relations.

Signs that Apple was losing its market share in education began to surface in 1999, when rival Dell Computer cited figures from Dataquest indicating it had surpassed Apple as the No. 1 supplier of computers to schools, despite the iMac’s popularity.

Apple will acquire PowerSchool for $62 million in stock. PowerSchool, located in Folsom, Calif., currently has 160 employees.

Links:

Apple Computer
http://www.apple.com

PowerSchool Inc.
http://www.powerschool.com

Chancery Software
http://www.chancery.com

NCS Pearson
http://www.ncs.com

Administrative Assistants Ltd.
http://www.admassist.com

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Tech funding, accountability key in ESEA renewal

As Congress begins debate on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which shapes the federal government’s investment in education, school officials are getting an early glimpse of what might be in store for their technology programs.

Block grants seem like a foregone conclusion, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support President George W. Bush’s plan to consolidate funding. Of more concern to educators, however, are proposed accountability measures that would tie federal dollars to proven technology solutions and best practices.

The Senate has introduced a bill that would request $1 billion for educational technology under a subpart of Title II, called “State and Local Programs for Technology in the Classroom.”

Developed by the Health, Education, and Labor Committee as a compromise between Republican and Democratic leaders, the bill would consolidate funding into a single block grant that states would administer to school districts on a competitive basis, as Bush advocates.

Although the money could be spent on a variety of technologies, the Senate bill would attach several stipulations.

For example, states and school districts would have to submit detailed technology plans to be eligible for funding; school districts would have to spend at least 30 percent of their funds on professional development; and districts would have to propose initiatives that have been proven by scientific research to increase student achievement.

Also, school districts would have to evaluate how their instructional technology programs have increased student achievement and submit the results in a yearly progress report. If, after three years, a school district does not show measurable improvements, the district would not receive funding in subsequent years.

In addition, the Senate bill would retain the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) program as a separate subpart of Title II. Under this program, colleges would be eligible for $150 million to pay for programs that prepare pre-service teachers to integrate technology into their curricula.

Finally, the bill would provide $5 million to fund the Eisenhower Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education, which compiles and disseminates information about math, science, and technology programs. It also would direct Education Secretary Rod Paige to write a long-range National Education Technology Plan within 12 months of the bill becoming law.

Overall, education lobbyists and school technology directors say they are satisfied with the committee’s version of the bill. Many educators say they liked that the Senate bill reflects the need for national leadership on key ed-tech issues, such as professional development.

The need for teacher training is real, said Steve Cameron, educational technology director for St. Louis Public Schools. “If you don’t have pilots, don’t waste money on planes,” he said.

But observers expressed concern about the bill’s accountability measures. Many school leaders pointed out that it’s hard to measure the direct impact of technology on education.

“While numerous studies have correlated student improvement with investments in instructional technology, it is very difficult to tightly connect cause and effect,” said Dick Barkey, executive director of technology at Adams Twelve Five Star Schools in Colorado.

Observers expect a showdown between members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, where legislators there have proposed a bill that more closely follows the president’s plan. —C.B.

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FCC affirms support for distance-education spectrum

Educators worried about proposals before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that could force their schools to give up a portion of the Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) spectrum—the wireless spectrum that currently supports distance learning in thousands of communities nationwide—got some good news March 30, when the FCC released a report indicating its strong support for ITFS.

The report, titled “Spectrum Study of the 2500 to 2690 MHz Band: The Potential for Accommodating Third-Generation Mobile Systems,” reviews the feasibility of repurposing the 2.5 GHz spectrum, which currently supports ITFS, to accommodate commercial wireless messaging services and other so-called “third-generation,” or 3G, technologies.

As the demand for mobile data services continues to grow, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that 160 megahertz (MHz) of additional spectrum will be needed to meet the projected requirements of these 3G technologies by 2010.

To accommodate this demand, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on Jan. 5, seeking comment on several possible solutions. The notice proposed using any, or all, of five frequency bands currently used for other applications to support emerging 3G technologies.

One of the frequency bands in question, 2500 MHz to 2690 MHz, is shared by ITFS, a distance-learning technology that has provided educational services to students and teachers since the 1960s, and the Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS), a fixed wireless broadband service provided by a commercial entity.

“There are between 2,000 and 3,000 [ITFS] license-holders, and of those, about 750 are K-12 schools,” said Mary Conk, a legislative analyst for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). But even ITFS license-holders that aren’t K-12 schools provide distance-learning applications that reach thousands of communities, Conk noted.

The FCC has assured educators they would not lose access to this spectrum entirely. Instead, some school districts that hold licenses in the portion of the spectrum now reserved for ITFS could be moved to another band to make room for commercial 3G technologies.

But, if that were to happen, some communities could lose their educational services altogether, while others could face new equipment costs, disruption or curtailment of service, lower quality of service, or signal interference, according to Wireless Education Broadband (WEB) NOW, a campaign to preserve the portion of the wireless spectrum devoted to education.

The FCC’s March 30 report agrees with that assertion. The report states that both urban and rural communities and school districts of all sizes use the ITFS system. Any educational entity participating in this system would be adversely affected by changes made by repurposing its spectrum, the report says.

According to the report, adding 3G systems to the education spectrum could cause extensive interference along airwaves in the most populated areas of the country. Also, the addition of the wireless systems would raise significant technical and economic difficulties for current licensees.

The price tag to relocate current ITFS license holders to make room for 3G technologies would be prohibitive, reaching upwards of $19 billion over a 10-year period, the study concludes.

Educators currently using ITFS were encouraged by the FCC’s report.

“It is absolutely critical to our mission that we retain this spectrum as we move into the digital age,” said Carol Woolbright, network director for Greenbush Interactive Distance Learning Network, which delivers distance education to 1,300 students in Eastern Kansas.

AASA officials said the report is a step in the right direction, but the fight isn’t over yet. “The FCC report was a studied, analytical view of this issue that put us in a good position, but it did not make any determinations about the future of ITFS,” said Bruce Hunter, director of public policy.

AASA’s opponents—primarily telecommunications companies seeking additional spectrum—struck back right away, but Hunter said that’s to be expected.

“They … reiterated that they don’t think we are using our [airwave] space well. But it’s not fair to blast schools for not using broadband across the board yet. We are just getting to the digital age, and we want to plan for the future,” said Hunter.

“We have long-term plans for distance learning, and we can’t move ahead into the future if we continue to have our access threatened,” said Ray Cruz, instructional television specialist for Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Miami-Dade uses its spectrum to broadcast two cable channels serving about 340 schools, more than 360,000 K-12 students, and more than 140,000 adult learners daily, with 10,000 hours of programming per year.

The FCC plans to make a decision by July and would auction off licenses for the bands in 2002. Other frequencies under consideration for reallocation include airwaves currently used by the Department of Defense.

Links:

Federal Communications Commission
http://www.fcc.gov

American Association of School Administrators
http://www.aasa.org

WEB NOW
http://www.itfs.org/webnow

Greenbush Interactive Distance Learning Network
http://www.greenbush.org

Miami-Dade Public Schools
http://dcps.dade.k12.fl.us

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Schools use technology to map their curricula

As states clamp down on what students should know and be able to do after each grade level, school districts across the country are tapping a new tool afforded by technology to avoid reruns and gaps in lessons during students’ 13-year public school education. The tool: curriculum maps.

Curriculum maps help school districts know if students are learning the same skills and concepts year after year. They also get teachers talking about what curriculum they actually teach—or, in some cases, don’t teach.

“In an elementary school, you could find [that] in second, third, and fourth grades, [teachers] are doing a unit on dinosaurs,” said Linda Antonowich, assistant superintendent for curriculum and staff development at Pennsylvania’s West Chester Area School District. “That’s not exactly bad [if the concepts taught are different], but you have to go back and find out what, exactly, is being taught.”

West Chester has created and deployed its own curriculum-mapping program. At any time, the district’s teachers—roughly 850 of them—will be able to look in a district computer folder to review the lessons taught by fellow educators.

The West Chester technology department created a standard curriculum map form, saved on the district’s server, for each teacher to fill out. Each form contains areas for teachers to record the skills and content they teach and the assessment tools they use. At the top of the form, teachers fill in their name, school, and subject area. After teachers fill out the forms electronically, they resave them on the server.

Teachers, administrators, and an outside consultant say the maps are integral to creating a curriculum with smooth, sensible transitions for students.

Sixth-grade math teacher John Hogan said the maps also help streamline the district’s education between school buildings.

“It’s going to be a big help in coordinating our curriculum with the elementary and the high school,” said Hogan, who teaches at Fugett Middle School. “In our situation, we get children from four different elementary schools. Some schools have gone further with their math curriculum than others.”

America’s classrooms function like a smattering of one-room schoolhouses, said Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, an international education consultant speaking to teachers from two of the district’s 10 elementary schools. Any one student will have as many as 75 teachers in his or her 13-year primary and secondary school career—and these teachers often aren’t on the same page, even within the same district.

“One of the dilemmas is the isolation of the classroom teachers,” said Hayes-Jacobs, who has taught high school, junior high, and elementary school children in three states. “If you think there’s gaps between grade levels, there are grand canyons between buildings.”

Curriculum mapping isn’t actually new, said Hayes-Jacobs, an adjunct professor at the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Columbia University Teachers College. However, the maps weren’t effective when they depended on paper-and-pencil blueprints of classroom lessons. “Technology is central to this work,” she said, as it enables teachers to create an organic document that all staff members can access.

Hayes-Jacobs, also president of Curriculum Designers Inc., is known for developing the concept of curriculum mapping, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

West Chester teachers use a computerized form in which they write, by month, their curriculum content, the skills children are to acquire, and an assessment of the lessons. For now, the assessment columns are blank.

Now that every teacher has access to computers, the curriculum-mapping process will be easier, Antonowich said. “Five years ago, most of the maps would have to be done by hand.”

The present goal is to get the middle and elementary schools’ curricula aligned; after that, the high school teachers will get busy filling in their maps, Antonowich said.

The West Chester district is searching for software capable of sorting through the data in the maps, looking for lesson overlaps. That could be particularly useful, since more and more teachers are collaborating on cross-disciplinary projects.

The Curriculum Designers web site (see link below) contains a list of software programs and other resources that facilitate computer- and network-based curriculum mapping, Hayes-Jacobs said.

Links:

West Chester Area School District
http://www.wcasd.k12.pa.us

Curriculum Designers Inc.
http://www.curriculumdesigners.com

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Security hole threatens schools using Internet Explorer

Software giant Microsoft Corp. is encouraging school districts and other customers to install a patch for a newly discovered security hole in several versions of its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.

The company warned its customers that IE has a flaw that could allow attackers to run programs on another user’s computer. The glitch reportedly causes IE to open specially coded attachments in eMail messages automatically, Microsoft said March 29.

Attackers potentially could attach a program or a virus to an eMail message, which then would cause problems to a victim’s computer files.

“Such a program would be capable of taking any action that the user himself could take on his machine-including adding, changing, or deleting data, communicating with web sites, or reformatting the hard drive,” explained a Microsoft security official.

For attackers to make use of the flaw, they’d simply have to persuade the victim to click on a web site they controlled or open an eMail message they had sent.

According to Marc Liebman, superintendent of the Marysville Joint Unified School District in California, the hole could have a number of serious consequences for schools.

“These include the loss of access to confidential employee and—more important—student records; neutralizing our screening programs for inappropriate internet sites; and getting into attendance and grading programs and making changes,” he said.

A patch to fix the problem has been developed and can be downloaded at no cost from Microsoft’s web site. Internet Explorer versions 5.01 and 5.5 that do not have IE 5.01 Service Pack 2 are affected.

Scott Culp, Microsoft’s security program manager, said the flaw exists only with a few out of several hundred Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIMEs), which are used to encode files as eMail attachments.

According to the company’s security update, a MIME is “a widely used internet standard for encoding binary files as eMail attachments. When an eMail contains a binary attachment, it must specify what type of file the attachment is, so the mail program can interpret it correctly.”

In the case of this vulnerability, IE does not correctly handle certain types of fairly unusual MIME types, Microsoft officials said. If an attacker created an eMail message containing an executable attachment and specified that it was one of these MIME types, IE would execute the attachment rather than prompting the user.

Attackers would not be able to harm users who set their computer not to allow files to be downloaded from web pages.

Marysville’s technology director, Rick Corl, issued a directive to school officials recommending that they install the patch in district computers and provided direction on how to handle any problems until the patch was installed.

So far, no district computers have reported problems related to the IE hole, Corl said.

Microsoft’s Culp said the problem is a typical software error, and it was discovered before any viruses could be spread.

“That’s the best situation we can hope for, short of perfect software,” he said, adding that Microsoft is working to install checks for the glitch on virus scanners.

Juan Carlos Cuartango, a security researcher for the Spanish company Kriptopolis.com, notified Microsoft of the flaw. The programmer had found previous security gaps in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Chris Rouland, director of the Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems’ X-Force, called the glitch a “theoretical vulnerability.”

“This is an example of the fact we see individuals and hackers are always looking for flaws and bugs,” he said, adding that users who don’t use antivirus software are at the highest risk.

And that goes for schools, too.

According to Liebman, not enough districts have policies and dedicated technology employees to deal with security issues like this one. But there are several things that schools can do to protect themselves, he said.

“Schools need to articulate policies and procedures that define appropriate and inappropriate use … and hire tech staff who truly understand security issues,” he said. “They also need to … regularly monitor and update safety procedures, software, and practices.”

Links:

Microsoft Security
http://www.microsoft.com/security

Download locations for this patch
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/download/critical/Q290108/default.asp

Marysville Joint Unified School District
http://www.mjusd.k12.ca.us

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Interactive reading instruction from MindPlay

Version 3.0 of MindPlay’s My Reading Coach, an educational tool that provides interactive reading instruction, puts more emphasis on administrator and teacher management tools to help ensure better student performance in phonics, spelling, and reading comprehension skills.

Not only does the My Reading Coach system evaluate a student’s reading ability; it also provides lessons that adapt to each student’s individual needs. Every mistake is instantly corrected with clear feedback tailored to the error, according to MindPlay.

The program’s 47 lessons offer a variety of learning modalities and customized navigation paths. The software’s management system tracks student progress, so teachers can see how students are doing and what mistakes they’re making. For motivation, students get a certificate after each review test and can view their performance reports.

Featuring artificial intelligence and interactive audio/video, My Reading Coach was developed in part by Jim Larrabee, phonics and reading teacher for 25 years and author of the book Phonics Fusion.


(800) 221-7911
http://www.mindplay.com

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3-D animations provide visual aids for students

Users of bigchalk.com’s bigchalk Library now have access to more than 3,000 three-dimensional animations from Working Stock, a provider of nontraditional visual stock content and a division of Knight Ridder Tribune Information Services. These animations, which will be updated daily, aim to help students better understand how a device or process works and help them visualize complex concepts.

“Visual aids are so critical to student comprehension. Animations, such as these, can often make abstract subjects clear and easy to understand,” said Sue Collins, senior vice president and general manager of bigchalk.com.

The 3-D animations cover a full range of topics, including health, space exploration, history, technology, weather, environment, nature, transportation, and earth sciences. For example, an animation on Doppler radar enables teachers to show how radio waves are used to gather information about storms. Each animation includes on-screen text and voice-over narration to explain the visual.

The bigchalk Library also offers access to more than 1,000 magazines and newspapers, as well as TV and radio transcripts, books and reference collections, photographs, images, and maps.


(800) 860-9228
http://www.bigchalk.com

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BoxerMath.com adds assignment manager

BoxerMath.com, a web-based learning environment for teaching high school mathematics, has added a web interface called the Assignment Manager to its Ledger student management system, which monitors student performance and progress.

With Assignment Manager, teachers can create custom math assignments for a student or group of students, based on their test results, state standards, correlation to a textbook, or BoxerMath.com activities. The teacher can specify whether an assignment should add extra activities if the student appears to need more practice. Also, teachers can specify the order in which the lessons are done.

“The real benefit of the Assignment Manager,” says Seth Oldham, Boxer Learning vice president of product development, “is that it focuses student activity, permitting teachers to provide more one-on-one instruction.” Current BoxerMath.com customers will have access to the Assignment Manager at no extra cost.


(800) 736-2824
http://www.boxerlearning.com

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