Partners Index

Administrative Assistants Ltd., of Ontario, is a developer of quality administrative software solutions for schools. Visit AAL’s web site: http://www.admassist.com (800) 668-8486 See AAL’s ad on page 12

Bigchalk, of New York City, is an education destination delivering all the components required supporting the learning community. Visit bigchalk’s web site: http://www.bigchalk.com (800) 860-9228 See the bigchalk ad on page 7

Book Systems Inc., of Huntsville, Ala., provides high-quality, innovative solutions for library management, including affordable library automation software that lets you tap into the internet. Visit the Book Systems web site: http://www.booksys.com (800) 219-6571 See the ad for Book Systems on page 18

CDI, of Markham, Ontario, remarkets high-quality refurbished computers and instructional technology equipment across North America, with the goal of increasing student-to-computer ratios while stretching school technology budgets. Visit CDI’s web site: http://www.cdihomeroom.com (888) 226-5727 See CDI’s ad on page 14

ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), of Springfield, Va., is the document delivery component of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). Visit EDRS’s web site: http://www.edrs.com (800) 443-3742 See EDRS’s ad on page 17

Films for the Humanities and Sciences, of Princeton, N.J., is a leading supplier of educational media to schools, colleges, and libraries. Visit the Films for the Humanities and Sciences web site: http://www.films.com (800) 257-5126 See the ad for Films for the Humanities and Sciences on page 32

Follett Software Corp., of River Grove, Ill., is a leader in library automation and management tools for K-12 education. Visit the Follett Software web site: http://www.fsc.follett.com (800) 621-4345 See the ad for Follett Software on page 47

Gateway Inc., of San Diego, is a Fortune 250 company focusing on building lifelong relationships with businesses, schools, and consumers through complete technology personalization. Visit the Gateway web site: http://www.gateway.com (800) GATEWAY See the Gateway ads on pages 2 and 3

The George Lucas Educational Foundation, of San Rafael, Calif., is a nonprofit organization that documents and disseminates stories about exemplary practices in K-12 public education. Visit the GLEF web site: http://www.glef.org (415) 507-0399 See the GLEF ad on page 8

Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, Calif., is a leading manufacturer of all the essential components of technology infrastructure—servers, storage, management software, imaging and printing, personal computers, and personal access devices. Visit the HP web site: http://www.hp.com (800) 752-0900 See HP’s ad on page 9

LeapFrog SchoolHouse, of Emeryville, Calif., publishes award-winning preK-8 curriculum and assessment content specifically designed for the classroom. Visit the LeapFrog SchoolHouse web site: http://www.leapfrogschoolhouse.com (800) 883-7430 See the ad for LeapFrog SchoolHouse on page 10

McGraw Hill Digital Learning, of Columbus, Ohio, provides research-based, standards-aligned technology solutions that improve student performance and teacher productivity. Visit McGraw Hill Digital Learning’s web site: http://www.mhdigitallearning.com (614) 430-4226 See McGraw Hill Digital Learning’s ad on page 19

Meridian Creative Group, of Erie, Pa., provides math software for every student. Visit the Meridian Creative Group web site: http://www.meridiancg.com (800) 530-2355 See Meridian’s ad on page 30

N2H2 Inc., of Seattle, is an internet access management company specializing in fast and scalable filtering solutions. Visit N2H2’s web site: http://www.n2h2.com (800) 971-2622 See N2H2’s ad on page 5

Pearson Education Technologies, of Tucson, Ariz., is a leading provider of educational software and learning solutions to K-12 schools and adult learners. Visit the Pearson Education Technologies web site: http://www.pearsonedtech.com (888) 627-LEARN See the ad for Pearson Education Technologies on the back cover

Safari Technologies, of Lawton, Mich., designs, manufactures, and sells video-on- demand, IP-based multimedia networking software and hardware products for education. Visit the Safari Technologies web site: http://www.safaripathways.com (800) 782-7230 See the ad for Safari Technologies on page 31

Scantron Corp., of Tustin, Calif., provides schools with advanced survey software, turnkey systems and services, and products for the collection, management, and interpretation of data. Visit the Scantron web site: http://www.scantron.com (800) 722-6876 See the ad for Scantron on page 33

Telemate.Net Software, of Atlanta, is a division of Verso Technologies Inc. and the creator of leading web filtering and reporting products. Visit the Telemate.Net web site: http://www.telemate.net (770) 936-3700 See the ads for Telemate.Net on pages 23, 25, and 28

United Learning, of Evanston, Ill., is a leading provider of streaming media and video content for supplemental classroom instruction. Visit the United Learning web site: http://www.unitedlearning.com (800) 323-9084 See the ad for United Learning on page 11

World Book Inc., of Chicago, is an industry leader in the production of award-winning encyclopedias, reference sources, and multimedia products for the home and schools. Visit World Book’s web site: http://www.worldbook.com (800) 967-5325 See World Book’s ad on page 13

tags

Bush’s 2004 budget calls for $145M in ed-tech cuts

Five technology-specific programs totaling $144.5 million are among the 45 education programs scheduled for termination in President Bush’s 2004 budget request, which he sent to Congress Feb. 3.

Bush’s 2004 budget called for an overall increase of $2.4 billion in U.S. Department of Education (ED) funding, but at press time schools and colleges still were awaiting current-year funding as Congress continued to wrangle over the 2003 budget.

The president’s FY 2004 budget would cut several technology-specific programs such as Community Technology Centers ($32.5 million), Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology ($62.5 million), Ready to Teach ($12 million), Regional Technology in Education Consortia ($10 million), and Star Schools ($27.5 million).

These programs also were slated for the ax in Bush’s 2003 budget request.

Overall, the president’s $2.23 trillion budget for the 2004 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, provides $53 billion for ED—the “largest dollar increase for any domestic agency,” according to Education Secretary Rod Paige.

“But we also are proposing to spend our education dollars more wisely. In these times of tight budgets and accountability, we can no longer continue to fund programs that simply are not helping students achieve,” Paige said during a briefing with reporters.

Along with the proposed cuts, the president’s 2004 budget requests a $1 billion increase for Title I, $1 billion more for programs funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and a $1.9 billion increase for Pell Grants to help low-income students afford a college education.

“These three increases [constitute] about one-third of the new domestic discretionary dollars the president is seeking for his entire domestic agenda. No other domestic agency has three programs receiving such monumental increases,” Paige said.

When the $1.5 billion in cuts are factored in, the department’s overall budget would increase by $2.4 billion. Still, critics say this amount falls short of what is needed to meet the stringent demands of Bush’s signature education reform law, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

“There are so many requirements and demands for states that $1 billion [more] for Title I isn’t going to cut it,” said Jordan Cross, manager of advocacy for the Coucil of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Responding to these concerns, Paige said increased funding doesn’t seem to be the way to improve student achievement. Instead, he said, reform, flexibility, and local control are the solution.

Paige said previous administrations have tried to “fund [their] way out of these problems for many, many years” and yet achievement has remained flat. “We think the president’s funding request is adequate, in fact, sufficient to achieve the goals of [NCLB],” he said.

“This is about change, and sometimes the color of change isn’t always green,” added William D. Hansen, deputy secretary of education, who serves as ED’s chief operating officer and the principal adviser to Paige on programs, policies, management, and budget matters.

Paige touted the fact that all states had submitted their accountability plans by the Jan. 31 deadline as proof that NCLB can work. “Here and there you hear a little chattering, but state leaders are working hard to accomplish the goals of [NCLB],” he said.

Trudi Rishikof, a spokeswoman for the CCSSO, said the fact that all states submitted their accountability plans on time doesn’t mean they have enough resources to make the new law work. “You can’t say it’s a sign that [NCLB] is a success, but it’s a sign that states are committed to the law,” she said.

Ed-tech funding

Funding for the Education Technology State Grants program, which is now the primary source of federal funding for school technology, would remain $700.5 million under the president’s proposal—the same as in 2002 and 2003.

But if Bush’s other proposed cuts are enacted in either 2003 or 2004, funding for educational technology actually would decrease by $145 million, or 17 percent.

Bush administration officials contend the increased flexibility of NCLB means school districts can take funds earmarked for other purposes and apply them toward technology, if local school leaders so choose. The administration also says many NCLB programs can be applied toward school technology programs or purchases, even if they don’t target technology in particular.

Technology funds, on the other hand, also may be applied to other programs.

Here’s a summary of other key provisions in Bush’s 2004 education budget:

  • Title I: Bush is requesting $12.4 billion for Title I programs in 2004, which is $1 billion—or 9 percent—more than his 2003 request. Yet Democrats say this amount falls short of what NCLB actually authorizes for Title I in 2004 by some $6 billion.

  • Reading First and Early Reading First: For Reading First, Bush is asking for $1.05 billion, which is $50 million more than his 2003 request. For Early Reading First, he is requesting $100 million, an increase of $25 million.

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: Funding for this program would be cut from $1 billion to $600 million under Bush’s proposal.

“The president proposed no new funding for teacher training programs, yet NCLB calls for a high-quality teacher for every classroom,” the National Association of Secondary School Principals said in a statement. “The budget cuts $400 million from before and after-school programs for high-poverty urban and rural communities, yet NCLB calls for using such programs to stimulate student achievement.”

Other programs slated for the ax include Arts in Education ($30 million), Dropout Prevention Programs ($10 million), Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Math and Science Education ($5 million), Elementary and Secondary School Counseling ($32.5 million), Rural Education ($162.5 million), Smaller Learning Communities ($142.2 million), and Tech-Prep Education State Grants ($108 million).

See these related links:

FY 2004 Education Budget Summary and background
http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/Budget04/04summary/index.html

President Bush’s Complete Budget Request for FY 2004
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2004

Council of Chief State School Officers
http://www.ccsso.org

National Association of Secondary School Principals
http://www.nassp.org

tags

Viewpoint: Overcoming the ‘achievement paradox’

Technology has a rich history for serving as a catalyst to revolutionize industries and change organizations. It challenges institutions to rethink old assumptions while exploring new ideas, innovations, and solutions. While this change eventually takes place, it does so only after a period in which questions raised by the technological innovations are addressed.

For instance, in the early 1980s Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow noted, “We can see computers everywhere [in business] except in the productivity statistics.” Despite the promises of technology advocates and the large amounts of capital that industries were pouring into computers and information technology (IT), many economists were not seeing a payoff in productivity. This phenomenon became known as the “productivity paradox.”

One explanation for this paradox was that many companies were automating their old ways of doing business and, as a result, only achieved small improvements in their efficiency. Productivity did not increase, because business processes were not reengineered to accommodate the new benefits and opportunities offered by technology. What businesses learned was that for technology to improve their productivity, they needed to rethink the way they did business as a result of technology-enabled processes.

The same holds true in education. The education community is going through its own unique “achievement paradox”: Despite their significant investment in technology, schools have struggled to show the meaningful academic improvement promised by technology advocates.

As with business, one reason for the lack of significant improvement is that school districts simply are automating traditional instructional processes instead of inventing new methods of delivering instruction. For example, teachers are using computer presentation tools in place of a blackboard. A student may use a computer that cycles through spelling words instead of paper flashcards. Instead of typing classes, students attend keyboarding classes. In each case, the instructional process has not fundamentally changed. Twenty-first century technology is simply placed on top of old instructional methodologies.

How are businesses breaking out of the productivity paradox? A recent report from the University of California at Irvine’s Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations, entitled “The Productivity Paradox: Is it Resolved? Is There a New One? What Does It All Mean for Managers?,” provided several suggestions:

  • The No. 1 priority for managers should be restructuring their organizations and implementing effective management practices. In such environments, IT investments are likely to be most productive.
  • Aligning IT investments with business strategy is critical to success.
  • Managers should promote education and learn about the organizational practices that enhance the returns from IT investments and decrease the likelihood of failed investments.
  • Organizations must develop internal methods to measure returns on IT projects and to learn from their successes and failures in order to reduce risk and improve performance in the future.

Again, there are lessons here for the education community:

Rethink instructional processes and educational structures.

Technology is only as effective as the instructional process it accompanies. Instructional practices must be redesigned based on what research tells us is the best way children learn various facts and skills, and these processes must reflect what technology allows students to do that otherwise would be impossible.

Technology is also challenging us to rethink how we organize and structure education as a whole. The charter school movement is providing a number of experiments using different public school settings, instructional methodologies, and organizational structures to break out of the traditional educational mold. Not surprisingly, many charter schools are being designed around the opportunities and flexibilities afforded by technology. Through its Small High School initiative, for example, the Gates Foundation is exploring examples of how an education system can be reconceptualized and transformed.

Align technology with educational challenges, goals, and instructional strategies.

The integration of technology into the curriculum is still far more often claimed than experienced in America’s classrooms. For technology to support instruction and learning, it first must be aligned with specific educational goals and instructional strategies. The first step of any technology project must be to identify the educational outcome technology is intended to provide. What challenge is technology supposed to help overcome? What is it that you want your students to be able to do or achieve as a result of using a specific piece of technology? How will the use of technology support instruction?

Invest in professional development.

Businesses learned that simply equipping employees with state-of-the-art computers and software systems did nothing to produce results without ample training in how to use these tools. Educators also must receive professional development before they can use available technology tools effectively in their instruction. This professional development should reflect the lessons learned from evaluation and should be an ongoing effort, not a one-time event at the beginning of the year.

Invest in rigorous evaluations.

Most technologies are piloted before they are deployed throughout a district. These pilot programs must include rigorous evaluations to help gauge the effectiveness of the technology solution and also inform teaching practice. Every successful or failed technology implementation has lessons that can help guide future projects. Use this information to justify future expenditures, guide implementation, influence professional development, and inform future decisions regarding technology’s role in supporting student achievement.

It is important to underscore that these principles are found throughout President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Within the legislation are programs to invest in more professional development for teachers; rigorous, scientifically based research to inform educational practice; expansion of new models of education through charter schools and virtual schools; and alignment of technology to educational goals, by allowing technology to be used as part of any of the law’s other educational programs. Through these focused efforts, we can break out of the achievement paradox that has plagued not only educational technology, but education in general.

Over time, the infusion of technology forces institutions to engage in systemic reform. Corporations are reinventing themselves around the flexibility and new opportunities afforded by technology. School districts and classrooms will have to change as well. Instructional and administrative processes need to be reengineered to accommodate the efficiencies and improvements offered by the internet, curriculum software, and distance learning. Only then will true improvements be made that will lead to cost savings, time efficiencies, better informed decisions, more options for students, richer learning environments, improved instruction, and—most importantly—increased student achievement. The question no longer is how to use technology to do the same thing better. Now, the question is how to use technology to transform educational practices to reach new goals—as a catalyst for change and as a tool in creating, implementing, managing, and communicating a new concept of teaching and learning and a system that supports it.

The goal of NCLB and America’s education system is to help every child reach his or her full potential. When we help children reach their potential, America, too, will reach its full potential. Technology is one of many tools available to help us accomplish that goal.

John Bailey is the director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology.

tags

Product Spotlight

Get reading resources from A to Z with this new Kaplan program

To help schools meet the literacy demands of the No Child Left Behind Act, Kaplan Inc.’s K12 Learning Services division and Canadian software firm AutoSkill International have teamed up to launch Kaplan Reading Empowerment, a software-based literacy intervention program for K-12 schools.

Kaplan Reading Empowerment is an individualized, self-paced program tailored to students’ needs. More than just a piece of software, the program also provides teachers with the training and support they need to integrate the program into their daily instruction and monitor student progress effectively.

Kaplan K12 educators collaborate with district and school staff to define goals and develop a broad reading intervention plan using AutoSkill’s Academy of Reading software. The software identifies specific learning requirements of individual students and creates customized courses of study. Through the software’s database-driven management functions, teachers are able to oversee and track student progress. Throughout the program, Kaplan K12 provides a wide range of implementation services, including project management, professional development workshops, ongoing progress reporting, and follow-up meetings to review student results.

Prices for the program range from about $15,000 to $28,000, depending on the number of students and schools that are using it. (888) 527-5268 http://www.kaplank12.com

Take control of internet use with this network monitoring software

Instead of merely blocking access to inappropriate web sites, a new network management tool from Security Software Systems Inc. of Illinois, called Policy Central, monitors internet use according to a school’s acceptable use policy (AUP).

Policy Central displays your school’s AUP before students and employees can access specified applications. After accepting the terms of the policy, should a user violate these terms, Policy Central will take a screen capture of the individual’s inappropriate computer use. It also will log the violation by user, date, time, and application.

School network administrators can monitor students’ computer use for pornographic or sexually explicit content right out of the box with Policy Central’s built-in library of keywords. The software also allows you to customize which words and phrases are inappropriate with a user-definable library, and it helps you analyze the effectiveness of your AUP with a variety of reports.

Rather than “snooping” on all user activity, Policy Central will only monitor and report those activities that violate your AUP, according to the company. Because students and employees are aware of your AUP, the software places the responsibility squarely on their shoulders if they choose to violate this policy. (888) 835-7278 http://www.securitysoft.com

Project Macintosh content to a TV screen with this plug-and-play device

FOCUS Enhancements Inc., which specializes in video production and conversion technology, has created a a desktop-to-video output solution designed specifically for Apple’s iMac and eMac computers.

iTView Mac allows computer content from an iMac or eMac machine—such as DVD movies, the internet, or classroom presentations—to be displayed on any TV monitor so the whole class can see. “We created the iTView Mac to provide Mac users with the best TV-out image possible,” said Jason Overhulse, consumer product manager for FOCUS Enhancements.

iTView Mac automatically detects computer resolutions up to 1,024 pixels by 768 pixels and synchronizes them with television, resulting in a high-quality, flicker-free image. It also lets users record directly from their iMac or eMac to a VCR. The device’s software interface allows users to control image adjustments such as size, pan, position, zoom, sharpness, brightness, and color.

The suggested retail price of iTView Mac is $139. (408) 866-8300 http://www.focusinfo.com

This CD-burning package is one hot item

From making your own DVD movies, to editing photos, to creating a video library, the Total Burn Platinum Suite from Broderbund Software—a division of Cambridge, Mass.-based Riverdeep Inc.—makes burning CDs and DVDs easy.

The suite consists of five software programs that focus on creating multimedia elements and burning them to CDs and DVDs. For CD or DVD burning, the suite includes NTI CD-Maker 5.5, which handles burning data, music, video, and photos. An application called MovieShop allows you to edit videos by adding transitions, special effects, music, or titles. For photo editing, the suite includes the Print Shop Photo Workshop, which features more than 1,500 project templates for creating albums, calendars, cards, and more. The remaining two components, Print Shop Label Creator and MediaShop, help you organize the discs and media you’ve created for easy access.

The suggested retail price for the Total Burn Platinum Suite is $99.99. (800) 223-6925 http://www.broderbund.com

Taking pictures of microscope slides is a snap with this digital camera

The M*Eye digital camera, from Ken-A-Vision, is a digital camera that can be used on or off a microscope. Students can use the device to document their experiment in progress or to capture the intricate details of microscopic slides to use in their science reports.

The camera can hold between 20 and 220 photos at a time and connects to a computer through a USB port. It can take pictures ranging from basic, JPEG-sized images to photo-quality, 1.3-megapixel images.

For $549, the M*Eye comes with a 28-millimeter microscope adapter, a USB cable, a CD ROM with software for sharing and editing photos, a carrying case, and four AAA batteries. When connected to a computer, the camera uses power from the computer. Optional accessories include a 34-millimeter eyepiece adapter, a USB-integrated flexible stand for hands-free operation, and a USB extension cable. (800) 501-7366 http://www.ken-a-vision.com

QuickMind launches a new instructional web portal

Sunburst Technology and QuickMind Inc., a new ed-tech firm with offices in the United States and Russia, has developed a subscription-based web portal that offers schools a wealth of standards-based content for K-12 instruction, as well as interactive software tools for generating projects that teachers and students can access at school or home.

Called QuickMind.net, the product features curriculum materials, interactive homework assignments, project templates, lesson plans, reference materials, and online professional development activities, all accessible through a password-protected web site.

Using the Project Generators tool, teachers easily can create activities and lesson plans with their own content or choose from hundreds of existing ones. This tool also helps teachers create tests, quizzes, work sheets, web projects, multimedia presentations, word searches, or crossword puzzles in a few simple steps. As students complete their assignments, their scores and time on task is recorded and automatically reported to the teacher.

The site’s Reference Center contains pre-screened web resources, such as the World Book Encyclopedia, maps, and news sites, that can be integrated into lessons. In addition, QuickMind.net provides an online word processor and presentation software (complete with thousands of curriculum-related clip art pieces, fonts, and templates), as well as animated, interactive lessons—available in English and Spanish—that reinforce key math, language arts, and science concepts. During these interactive lessons, teachers can monitor their students’ progress in real time and send instant messages, even if the student is logged on from home.

QuickMind.net is available through an annual subscription that allows teachers and students to access the site from school or home computers as much as they want. Licenses are based on a classroom, school building, or district. A license for one to three classrooms costs $1,200 per year, and an entire building license costs $5,500. (800) 624-2962 http://www.quickmind.net

tags

Browse the “National Science Digital Library”

More than 100 teams of educators nationwide are working with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop what they hope will be the nation’s most comprehensive digital library for the sciences. The National Science Digital Library is an ongoing initiative spearheaded by NSF to create a fully online resource dedicated to the teaching of technology, science, engineering, and mathematics skills. The growing library contains supplemental materials geared to support lessons across the K-12 spectrum and gives educators a central location where they can find reliable content for use in their classrooms. What’s more, through a tool called CreateStudio, educators who visit the library can assemble resources related to their lessons into movies, simulations, and digital presentations to be used in the classroom as interactive student exercises. Currently, several colleges and universities are working on more than 100 projects to improve the library, including adding new portals, incorporating other digital libraries, increasing the accessibility of information, and building new interactive learning environments. Each project is funded for two years, and NSF plans to continue building this resource for as long as funding continues.

tags

“Illuminations” uses Java applets to shed light on difficult math concepts

Created by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), “Illuminations” aims to revitalize mathematics instruction for students by providing a wealth of online resources spanning the entire math curriculum. Based on the NCTM’s own standards, the site offers five key tools for better math instruction. i-Math Investigations provides an array of interactive, multimedia classroom activities and instructional supplements. There also is a comprehensive library of math-related web resources—including more than 1,000 carefully reviewed online mathematics sites—as well as a section devoted to classroom-ready lesson plans submitted by expert teachers and a Java applets section where educators will find interactive tools designed to illustrate new concepts and formulas. Finally, the “Inquiry on Practice” section is ideal for teachers searching for ways to improve their teaching repertoire. According to the site, the inquiry file contains video vignettes, research reports, and articles designed “to encourage thinking and discussion about how to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics for all students.” All content on the site is conveniently organized by grade level.

tags

There’s no debating the value of this site for history teachers

The 1960 presidential debates between former presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon marked the first time television played a decisive role in the outcome of a national political contest—but it would not be the last. Now, students have an opportunity to go back in time and witness the most historic and influential presidential debates of the television era. Sponsored in part by the History Channel, “The History of Televised Presidential Debates” provides a timeline of every televised presidential debate since 1960. Special features let students watch a documentary about the Kennedy-Nixon contest, read political commentary about the debate, and even watch the debate itself. Students also can look at essays on the use of television in politics, view archived interviews with media professionals, check out television viewing and voting statistics, and even read a 1959 article written by Kennedy about the role television plays in running a national campaign. Plus, teachers have access to several curriculum resources, including sample lesson plans, activities, a glossary of terms, and more.

tags

Tap into this CoSN toolkit for “Promoting Online Safety”

The Consortium for School Networking has released new resources to help guide school leaders when they talk to parents and other community members about online safety issues. Sponsored by the BellSouth Foundation, the AOL Time Warner Foundation, Microsoft Corp., and Sprint Corp., the “Promoting Online Safety” toolkit was created with the understanding that schools need to be proactive in communicating with parents and other community members about their online safety strategies—and parents need to understand the steps they can take to make sure their children use their home computer in a safe and appropriate manner. The toolkit components include a handbook, called “Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership,” designed to help school leaders develop the message they want to convey to parents and community members, based on their local circumstances; a 10-minute video that highlights the experiences of two school districts, one in Pennsylvania and one in Kansas, as they worked through questions surrounding the best ways to protect students when they go online; and a presentation to help school leaders explain to parents and community leaders the steps their schools are taking to protect children online. School leaders can download the handbook and presentation at no charge from the project’s web site.

tags

Consult this brand-new resource to effect “Systemwide Change”

The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) has launched a new interactive feature on its web site addressing “Systemwide Change.” In the coming months, the foundation will explore in-depth examples of how educational innovations have been brought to scale at the district or—in some cases—the state level. The first case study, which debuted on the site Jan. 27, examines the successful reform efforts in Union City, N.J. According to GLEF, this once-underperforming urban district has become a model for reform, thanks to a focus on literacy and a strong belief in its students’ abilities to excel. GLEF’s coverage of this story includes an article entitled “A Remarkable Transformation,” which highlights the main elements of the district’s reform efforts, as well as a 10-minute web documentary on Union City’s turnaround and short video interviews with leaders in the reform effort.

tags

Peruse this Houghton Mifflin site for NCLB news and information

To mark the one-year anniversary of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), educational publisher Houghton Mifflin has unveiled a new web site dedicated to helping schools achieve the reforms set in motion by the Bush administration’s sweeping federal legislation. With a focus on improved reading achievement, the site provides resources that students, parents, and educators can use in efforts to improve reading performance in schools. For instance, in the “National News” section, educators and parents can read articles and reports from the nation’s leading journalists about the impact NCLB is having nationwide. Another section, appropriately entitled “Expert Insight,” gives stakeholders an opportunity to view research papers and other reports filed by top reading experts about how best to improve literacy instruction in schools. Selected articles cover all sorts of important and often controversial issues, from achievement and assessment to the need for teacher training and additional funding. The site also contains a number of useful links to resources that aim to spell out the requirements of NCLB more clearly, as well as tips on how to write effective grant proposals and access to a weekly newsletter.

tags