Make sure your distance-ed programs comply with copyright law

Last November, President Bush signed into law the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act, redefining the terms by which accredited, nonprofit educational institutions throughout the United States “may use copyright protected materials in distance education—including on web sites and by other digital means—without permission from the copyright owner and without payment of royalties,” according to this web site. In response to the legislation, the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy has published a white paper that explains the new law and what it requires of distance-education programs. As with all copyright law, each institution must assess its own needs and values before developing its own interpretations and policies, the site says. This paper provides the necessary guidance and background information to do so.

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Partners Index

Acer America Corp., a subsidiary of the Acer Group with U.S. headquarters in San Jose, Calif., offers a broad spectrum of IT products and services. Visit Acer’s web site: http://www.acer.com (800) 733-2237 See Acer’s ad between pages 24 and 25

Adobe Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., is a leading producer of illustration and design software. Visit Adobe’s web site: http://www.adobe.com (800) 834-3396 See the ad for Adobe on page 10

America Online, based in Dulles, Va., offers schools a safe and easy internet content program at no cost. Visit the AOL@School web site: http://www.school.aol.com (888) 648-4023 See the ad for AOL@School on page 23

CDI Computers, 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 21

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 ERIC’s ad on page 25

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 ad on pages 2 and 3

Grolier Online, headquartered in Danbury, Conn., and now part of Scholastic Library Publishing, provides schools with a wide array of online reference and research materials, from Encyclopedia Americana to the New Book of Popular Science. Visit the Grolier Online web site: http://go.grolier.com (888) 326-6546 See Grolier’s ad on page 24 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

Hi Resolution Systems Ltd., of Columbia, Ill., has been creating and marketing software solutions for Macintosh operating systems since 1989. Visit the Hi Resolution Systems web site: http://www.hi-resolution.com (800) 455-0888 See the Hi Resolution Systems ad on page 5 IBM Corp., headquartered in Armonk, N.Y, provides powerful tools that help enrich educational programs. Visit the IBM web site: http://www.ibm.com/shop/edu/g174 (866) 426-0524 See IBM’s ad on page 47

inResonance, of Northampton, Mass., specializes in database solutions, training, and educational applications of Palm handheld computers. Visit the inResonance web site: http://www.inresonance.com (413) 587-0236 See the ad for inResonance on page 17

Jackson Software, of Glencoe, Ill., is a leading provider of student information software solutions for teachers and schools. Visit the Jackson Software web site: http://www.jacksoncorp.com (800) 850-1777 See the ad for Jackson Software on page 28

Macromedia Inc., of San Francisco, provides industry-leading software that empowers internet developers and designers. Visit the Macromedia web site: http://www.macromedia.com (800) 470-7211 See Macromedia’s ad on page 12

Margi Systems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., is a leading provider of multimedia products for mobile systems. Visit Margi’s web site: http://www.margi.com (888) OK-MARGI See Margi’s ad on page 19

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 11

MiLAN Technology, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is a leading provider of physical-layer networking products and a pioneer in the field of media conversion. Visit MiLAN’s web site: http://www.milan.com (800) 466-4526 See the ad for MiLAN Technology on page 7

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 33

NetSupport Inc., of Cumming, Ga., is a member of the PCI Group of companies, developers of a range of award-winning remote control and IT training products. Visit NetSupport’s web site: http://www.netsupport-inc.com (888) 665-0808 See NetSupport’s ad on page 8

Oracle Corp., with world headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif., is a global leader in business-to- business software and services, including internet- enabled database, tools, and application products, along with related consulting, education, and support services. Visit Oracle’s web site: http://www.oracle.com (800) 529-0165 See Oracle’s ad on page 22

Palm Inc., of Milpitas, Calif., is a leading provider of handheld computers for education and other applications. Visit Palm’s web site: http://www.palm.com (800) 881-7256 See Palm’s ads on pages 14 and 20

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

Penn State World Campus, from Penn State University, offers anytime, anywhere learning through online continuing education and professional development programs designed around the hectic schedules of today’s busy professionals. Visit the Penn State World Campus web site: http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu (800) 252-3592 See the ad for Penn State World Campus on page 29

Rediker Software Inc., of Hampden, Mass., is a leading provider of school administrative software for educators and administrators worldwide. Visit the Rediker Software web site: http://www.rediker.com (800) 213-9860 See the ad for Rediker Software on page 26

Sagebrush Corp., of Minneapolis, is a fast-growing leader in serving K-12 library media specialists in their efforts to provide access to information, stimulate interest in reading, and improve student performance. Visit the Sagebrush web site: http://www.sagebrushcorp.com (800) 328-2923 See the Sagebrush ad on page 27

ZT Group International, with offices in New York City and New Jersey, is a leading supplier of computer systems, network services, storage solutions, notebook computers, and peripherals to schools and businesses. Visit the ZT Group web site: http://www.ztgroup.com (866) 984-7687 See the ad for ZT Group on page 39

Correction: The information we published about EnGenius in the Partners section of our April 2003 issue was incorrect. The listing should have read:

EnGenius Technologies, of Costa Mesa, Calif., provides long-range voice and data technologies for homes, schools, and businesses. Visit the EnGenius Technologies web site: http://www.engeniustech.com (888) 735-7888

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eSN Special Feature: Spotlight on Security

As educators nationwide remain alert for possible terrorist activity as a result of the war in Iraq, the federal government is offering new resources to help ensure the safety of students.

The national heads of education and homeland security have announced a new web site and $30 million to help school officials prepare for emergencies such as natural disasters, violent crimes, and terrorist acts. And a national facility perhaps best known for designing security systems to protect the Pentagon’s arsenal of nuclear weapons is offering its expertise to schools as well.

$30 million emergency-planning program

The emergency-planning web site, an addition to U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) site, is intended to serve as one-stop shop for information and federal guidance on handling crises.

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced the site—and a $30 million grant program to accompany it— March 7 at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md.

“The midst of a crisis is not the time to start figuring out who ought to do what. At that moment, everyone involved—from top to bottom—should know the drill and know each other,” Paige said.

Many schools already had emergency plans before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States—but in the wake of the attacks, school safety experts have urged schools to revisit their plans to account for new threats such as chemical or biological weapons. The federal No Child Left Behind Act also requires schools to have comprehensive crisis response plans in place.

“The tide of events since September 11, 2001 demands that schools be better prepared. We’re here to help—to provide more information and resources and to highlight programs we know work,” Paige said.

The site includes links to online resources, as well as examples of emergency-response plans from the Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va., school systems and North Carolina public schools.

School districts could begin applying this spring for their share of the additional $30 million available to help them improve their emergency plans. Schools can use the funds to train staff, parents, and students how to respond to a crisis; coordinate their response with local fire and police stations; purchase necessary security equipment; and match up with organizations responsible for disaster recovery issues.

Besides working with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies on school preparedness, ED has consulted experts from around the country to develop a model emergency response and crisis management plan, which will be released later this year.

ED’s message to schools:

  • If you don’t have a crisis plan that was created in partnership with public safety, police, fire, health, mental health, and local emergency-preparedness agencies, consult with these agencies to develop one. Make sure it addresses crises such as fires, school shootings, and accidents, as well as biological, radiological, chemical, and other terrorist activities.
  • If you do have a crisis plan, review it. Ensure that it addresses issues related to terrorism, such as biological, radiological, and chemical attacks.
  • Train, practice, and drill.

Free advice on security technologies

Educators also can get free advice from Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. Department of Energy facility near Albuquerque, N.M., on evaluating and implementing the latest technologies to safeguard their schools.

Sandia was a nuclear weapons security facility during the Cold War. Since then, it has turned its attention toward education and now operates a School Security Technology Center to help schools implement high-tech security systems.

“Our primary focus in the past has been to do technology demonstration projects,” said Gordon Smith, manager of Sandia’s public safety technologies department.

For example, Sandia researchers have installed tamper-resistant video recording systems in schools to provide them with real-time monitoring capabilities. They’ve also installed hand geometry units—which measure the length, width, and height of fingers—to authorize the release of students to parents or guardians. The caregiver would insert his or her hand into the device to be measured and key in a personal identification number.

“It’s not as unique as a fingerprint, but it’s a technology that’s been around for a long time. It’s pretty robust and easy to use,” Smith said.

Sandia researchers also investigated the use of temporary visitor badges. Schools often have difficulty collecting all the visitor badges they hand out, so to address the problem researchers tested time-sensitive badges. The word “void” would be written in a special ink that would appear after a period of time, so the badges couldn’t be used repeatedly.

The center recently limited its research and demonstration projects and has shifted into more of an advisory role for schools. “We’ve decided not to do any new demonstration projects because we’ve already proven that the technology works—unless something major comes along and we need to see how it works,” Smith said. “Now we need to help schools that want to install security technologies.”

School leaders can turn to Sandia for unbiased, research-based advice on what pitfalls to avoid, how to negotiate contracts with vendors, and the impact that technologies such as metal detectors have on the school environment. Sandia provides information, analysis, and marketplace surveys on various topics—including hair analysis kits used for drug testing, metal detectors, improving exits, locking hardware, and policies and procedures.

The facility also is in the process of creating the second volume of its guide book “The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools.” The second volume, which will be released next year, will address drug and alcohol alert detection, deterring false alarms, intrusion detection sensors and alarms, and communication.

Educators are invited to contact Sandia for advice on what to include in requests for proposals, how various security technologies work, and how much equipment is needed. Schools leaders who have identified funding for their projects but still need specific advice can eMail Gordon Smith at gjsmith@sandia.gov or security specialist Mary Green at mgreen@sandia.gov.

See these related links:

U.S. Department of Education
http://www.ed.gov

ED’s Emergency Planning web site
http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan

U.S. Department of Homeland Security http://www.dhs.gov Ready Campaign
http://www.ready.gov

Sandia National Laboratories
http://www.sandia.gov

“The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools”
http://www.ncjrs.org/school/home.html

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Use data to help you craft winning proposals

The No Child Left Behind Act and its requirements are forcing educators nationwide to apply the concept of data-driven decision making in their schools. After reading the January 2003 issue of the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse’s ENC Focus, I came away with a better understanding of this concept in general and a clearer picture of how it could help district proposal writers demonstrate a clear and convincing need for their grant projects.

The needs assessment section of a grant proposal is usually worth a significant number of points in the scoring process. This is the section of your proposal in which you make the case for why your proposed project is necessary. Successful needs assessment sections contain documentation to support your claims (as opposed to saying, “My superintendent has identified the need…”), and this documentation generally consists of data that have been collected and analyzed. These data can take many forms, such as standardized test scores on national tests (probably the most popular choice at the moment), course assessments, district assessments, classroom assessments, graduation rates, number of students in the free and reduced-price lunch program, attendance rates, dropout rates, and so on.

Why do proposal writers have such a difficult time writing the needs assessment section of their grant proposals? According to the article “Data for Decisions are Just a Click Away,” author Cynthia Lim states, “A survey of the literature suggests that educators do not routinely use data because of several factors: lack of access to data; lack of technical expertise in manipulating data; lack of analytical training; and lack of training in developing an action plan after examining data (Choppin, 2002; Cromey, 2000; Mason 2002; Khanna, et al., 1999).” My guess is that most proposal writers do not have data easily available to them or that they, too, do not know how to analyze the data that are present in a meaningful way to support the need for projects being considered.

Ask questions such as: How well prepared are our elementary school students for middle school math? What content strands do our students struggle with? Are we preparing our elementary school students with the building blocks they will need for high school English? Where are there gaps in learning, and what needs to be improved in our curriculum? By using the data that are available about your students from multiple measures and finding the answers to these questions, you should be able to use this information to design projects that will address the specific needs you are facing in your school or district.

Supporters of data-driven decision making say one of the main benefits to this approach is that using data in an effective way leads to a better understanding of student learning, which in turn leads to better planning for improved student achievement. It makes sense that the improved use of data will enable you to have a clearer sense of your needs, and as a result you’ll be better prepared to create projects that address these needs—projects that will have a significant impact on student achievement. This should result in stronger proposals that are more likely to be funded—the ultimate goal of any proposal writer.

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