AVerVision Lesson Plan Contest

AVerMedia Technologies has announced the launch of the AVerVision Lesson Plan Contest for North American K-12 and Higher-Ed classrooms. Teachers and educators are asked to submit a lesson plan relating to one of six subjects including a document camera as the primary technology or demonstration device. Subject categories include: Mathematics, Science, English/Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Art/Music, and Other. The lesson plan itself should relate to one lesson or demonstration topic, in only one subject. A document camera must be the primary demonstration device or piece of technology used to conduct the lesson. Lesson plans submitted will not only be entered into the contest, but will be made available on the AVerMedia web site as a resource for other educators to find fun and effective ways of using document camera technology in their classroom.

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Design Squad Trash to Treasure Contest

Design Squad, PBS’s popular engineering and design competition show, and Intel have joined forces with By Kids For Kids (BKFK) to give kids the opportunity to do just that. Hosted by BKFK, the nationwide Trash to Treasure competition will launch on April 1, 2008 (to coincide with the television series’ season two premiere on PBS) and will run through June 30, 2008. The grand prize-winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize provided by the Intel Foundation and a trip to the development lab at Continuum, an international design and innovation consultancy, to build a prototype of his or her Trash to Treasure design. The Design Squad Trash to Treasure contest will challenge kids of all ages to take everyday discarded or recycled material and re-engineer it into functional products. The products can move things or people (mobility), protect the environment (environmental), or be something kids can play with inside or out (play).

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Bill would let schools scan thumbprints

Until a couple of years ago, Iowa schoolchildren could use a fingerprint to pay for their hot lunch.

Thumbprint scanners were just becoming popular in Iowa for lunch lines, library checkout and bus boarding.

State lawmakers outlawed the devices for school use in 2005 amid concerns about legal issues, privacy and information hacking.

Today, there’s a push to again allow fingerprint-scanning equipment in schools.

“This technology is really perfectly safe,” said Jeff Berger of the state Department of Education, which proposed Senate Study Bill 3010. “The encryption process is not hackable and the actual fingerprint isn’t stored, it is converted into a logarithm that is stored.”

The encrypted information can’t be reconverted back into an actual fingerprint, he said.

That’s true, said Ali Pabrai, the chief executive officer of Ecfirst.com, a West Des Moines-based biometrics consulting company.

“There’s been some misconceptions in the industry: What if that fingerprint is stolen from the system?” Pabrai said Friday. “What’s stored is not the actual fingerprint but certain data points.”

Click here for the full story

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Comparing American students with those in China and India

Two million minutes is the estimated time that students spend in high school. It is also the title of a new documentary film that suggests American students squander too much of that time. While their peers in China and India study longer hours to sharpen their math and science skills, top students from one of the best high schools in the U.S. are playing video games and watching Grey’s Anatomy during a group study session, at least in clips seen in the documentary.

The film, produced by Memphis venture capitalist Robert Compton and promoted by the ED in ’08 political organization, is the latest attempt at igniting a national debate about the need to put more emphasis on math and science education if the United States is to remain competitive in a global economy. But supporters of the film acknowledge they face an uphill climb to make education a central issue in the presidential race.

Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination follows six students through their senior year of high school in the United States, India, and China. Brittany Brechbuhl is a 17-year-old who’s in the top 3 percent of her graduating class at Carmel High School in Indiana. She aspires to become a doctor but also wants to join a sorority and “party.” Neil Ahrendt, 18, is another talented Carmel student who is the senior class president and former quarterback of the football team. These American teenagers’ attitudes toward academics differ sharply from those of their peers in India and China, who seem more motivated and focused. Take, for example, 17-year-old Apoorva Uppala, who attends Saturday tutoring sessions to prepare for her university entrance exams. She wants to become an engineer, which she calls “the safest” profession in India. In Shanghai, Jin Ruizhang, 17, preps for international math tournaments. He is already the top math student at his school and hopes to get into a prestigious university offering an advanced math program.

Click here for the full U.S. News & World Report story

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Technology in the Works 2008

This competition promotes excellence in short-term, quasi-experimental evaluation studies examining the impact of assistive and learning technologies to improve educational outcomes for all students. The competition calls for "quick turnaround" collaborative research efforts that inform the development of innovative assistive and learning technologies for students with special needs. The mission of the competition is to encourage researchers and developers to work collaboratively to study a particular K-12 intervention or technology over a short period of time and provide a current "snapshot" of its effectiveness. Study findings have the potential to guide future research and development activities, as well as investments in effective technology solutions in serving students with special needs. Letters of intent must be received on March 3, 2008, and the proposal must be received by April 2, 2008. Award recipients must secure matching funds of at least $15,000 to be eligible. Funds may be used to support an expansion of an already existing research project.

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The Bezos Scholars Program

The Bezos Scholars Program (BSP) at the Aspen Institute was created in 2005 to help cultivate the next generation of ambassadors, diplomats, educators, Nobel Laureates, poets and scientists. BSP is searching for top public high school juniors who are independent thinkers, demonstrated leaders, and engaged community members. Twelve student scholars will receive a six-day all-expense-paid scholarship to the Aspen Ideas Festival, hosted by the Aspen Institute (June 29 – July 4). Upon selection of student scholars, chosen through a competitive application process, an educator from each school will also be awarded a full scholarship.

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Literacy Through School Libraries Program

The purpose of this program is to improve student reading skills and academic achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school library media centers; and well-trained, professionally certified school library media specialists.

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Safe Schools/Healthy Students Program

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students program (SS/HS) supports the implementation and enhancement of integrated, comprehensive community-wide plans that create safe and drug-free schools and promote healthy childhood development.

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NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. Each year the NEH offers teachers opportunities to study humanities topics in a variety of Summer Seminars and Institutes. The dates and duration of each project are listed under each title.

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Save Our History Grant Program

Museums, historic sites, historical societies, preservation organizations, libraries, and archives are invited to partner with a local school or youth group and apply for funding to help preserve the history of their communities. Each year, the History Channel awards grants of up to $10,000 to organizations across the country that partner with schools or youth groups on community preservation projects that engage students in learning about, documenting, and preserving the history of their communities.

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