$1,500 to one who defends academic freedom

The NCSS Defense of Academic Freedom Award is given annually to recognize and honor those who have distinguished themselves in defending the principles of academic freedom in specific controversies, in fostering academic freedom through advocacy, and in defending or advocating the freedom to teach and learn.

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Document cameras awarded to teachers based on need

Samsung’s 2010 “Active Learning” Grant Program offers 50 SAMCAM 860 document cameras to worthy applicants based on need. An independent evaluation team will review the applicants and notify the winners no later than September.

Many educators agree that students who actively engage with the material and with other students are far more likely to recall the information shared. Active Learning that involves role playing, debate and group participation all result in greater student engagement.

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Win up to $950,000 to enhance education for native Hawaiians

An additional five points will be awarded to applications that meet one or more of the following priorities: projects that are designed to address beginning reading and literacy among students in kindergarten through third grade; projects that are designed to address the needs of at-risk children and youth; projects that are designed to address the needs in fields or disciplines in which Native Hawaiians are underemployed; projects that are designed to address the use of the Hawaiian language in instruction.

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Scholarships of up to $10,000 for students pursuing a career in industrial health and safety occupations

The Erma Byrd Scholarship Program provides scholarships to individuals pursuing a course of study that will lead to a career in industrial health and safety occupations, including mine safety.

This program is designed to increase the skilled workforce in these fields at both the fundamental skills level and the advanced skills level. The program has a service obligation component, which requires recipients of the scholarship to begin employment in a career position related to industrial health and safety no later than six months after completion of the degree program, and to continue to work in a career position related to industrial health and safety, including mine safety, for a period of one year.

The scholarships are available to students in the following eligible areas of study related to industrial health and safety: Mining and mineral engineering, industrial engineering, occupational safety and health technology/technician, quality control technology/technician, industrial safety technology/technician, hazardous materials information systems technology/technician, mining technology/technician, and occupational health and industrial hygiene.

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Up to $175,000 to colleges with successful alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs

The goals of this program are to identify and disseminate information about exemplary and effective alcohol or other drug abuse prevention programs implemented on college campuses.  Through this grant competition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) also will recognize colleges and universities whose programs, while not yet exemplary or effective, show evidence that they are promising.

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Win up to $600,000 to improve literacy

This program helps local education agencies (LEAs) improve reading achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school library media centers; and professionally certified school library media specialists.

The Improving Literacy through School Libraries (LSL) program promotes comprehensive local strategies to improve student reading achievement by improving school library services and resources.

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Teachers could win a $10,000 classroom makeover

The Got 2B Safe! program uses four simple rules that children can use in potentially dangerous situations. These critical lessons have continued to gain awareness among teachers.

The program recognizes teachers across the country who have shown the greatest commitment to teaching child safety in their classrooms. Five grand-prize winners will be awarded a $10,000 eco-friendly classroom makeover and 100 other winners will receive $500 worth of school supplies.

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Win up to $5,000 by working to save the environment

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announce the 2009 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is continuing to accept entries through March 15 for grades K-8.

The second year of this national sustainability challenge — now expanded to include elementary school students — encourages students in kindergarten through eighth grade to team up with their classmates to create replicable solutions to environmental issues in their classroom (grades K-2) and school (grades 3-5).

Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level, include savings bonds, school grants, exciting trips, TV appearances, and more. The deadline for elementary level entries is January 31, 2010 (finalists and winners announced in March 2010); and the deadline for middle school entries is March 15, 2010 (state winners announced in April 2010 and national winners announced in May 2010).

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TCEA 2010: Exhibitor News

This 3-D-ready projector from BenQ was one of several new products on display in the TCEA conference exhibit hall.

A partnership between Texas Instruments and NASA to develop free math lessons with a space exploration theme, professional development from PBS TeacherLine for educators who teach online, and new 3-D-ready projectors and content were among the highlights from the exhibit hall at the Texas Computer Education Association conference in February.

Here’s a roundup of TCEA exhibitor news…

The American Education Corporation announced the release of Algebra I: A Function Approach Part 2, a new interactive high school course for the company’s A+nywhere Learning System courseware program. Part 2 gives students varied interactive approaches to solving algebra problems using real-world examples and scenarios.

Apperson Education Products announced a new program that awards up to $1,500 to schools on the company’s web site receiving the most votes. The school with the most votes wins $1,500, second-most votes award $750, and the school with the third-most votes wins $500. Money may be used for any educational purpose, such as a new computers or software.

BenQ introduced the MP780ST, an extreme short-throw DLP projector with full 3-D capabilities and built-in whiteboard functionality. The projector’s PointDraw technology can turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard. It also includes a LAN display for integrated daily video announcements or emergency messaging, and USB video without the need of an external VGA cable. The MP780ST features 2,500 lumens, a 2,500-to-1 contrast ratio, and WXGA (1,366 x 768) resolution for wide-screen display.

Bretford introduced a new line of Intelligent Laptop Computer carts. The line includes two different models with space for either 20 horizontally stored or 30 vertically stored laptops. The carts also feature a power management system that decreases heat and electrical stresses while proportionally distributing power to the laptops.

CDI, a supplier of recertified brand-name computers, announced that Vienna High School District No. 13-3 won the first ever CDI “Share Your Story” contest. Vienna High School Principal Patrick Harner wrote a compelling story about the district’s efforts to keep technology current for all students so they can enter the 21st century world of college and work with high-level technology skills. CDI is giving the district a complete tech lab valued at more than $10,000. The company also operates a recycling program and ships more than 25,000 units on a monthly basis.

CDW-G discussed its work with Katy Independent School District in Texas, Upper Darby School District in Pennsylvania, and Evansville Vanderburgh School District in Indiana to improve the districts’ core IT infrastructure and enable 21st-century learning initiatives. Districts sometimes make technology decisions without having the correct infrastructure in place, and ensuring that technology purchases will be well-supported is essential, CDW-G said.

Dell unveiled new services and relationships to help educators integrate digital content into their teaching practices. A partnership with Agilix Labs, for instance, makes that company’s BrainHoney platform available to Dell customers. BrainHoney is an open platform that allows teachers to align their lesson plans with state standards to develop curriculum maps using a simple drag-and-drop interface. It also generates daily reports on student progress toward state standards. In addition, Dell’s Digital Content Adoption Services include an assessment to help school leaders ensure their technology infrastructure can support digital instruction, as well as private computing clouds that enable teachers and students to share resources over a network.

Epson displayed its line of K-12 and higher-education projectors. The PowerLite 85 features energy savings, Mac compatibility, a wider-range microphone, and the ability to project lines or a graph onto a whiteboard for math or handwriting lessons. Its wireless functionality gives educators the ability to send data across a school’s network.

Hatch introduced its TeachSmart Learning System, a comprehensive SMART Board package developed specifically for early childhood education. The system lets children independently access learning activities. Students can narrate their work, and teachers can electronically save their observations and create portfolios.

Hitachi displayed its line of projectors and projector tools, which give educators and IT staff access to easy scheduling, easy IT configuration, centralized reporting, eMail alerts for necessary maintenance, monitoring, a content sharing feature, and function control over a LAN connection. The Projector Messenger Application lets educators display real-time text messages on the projector screen.

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Training of surgeons might take flight into virtual reality

Buffalo researchers have unveiled a simulator to train doctors to perform robotic surgery, similar to the way pilots use virtual-reality devices for flight training, reports the Buffalo News. The simulator could fill a glaring need in medicine. Demand for robotic surgery is growing faster than the ability to train surgeons, and the learning curve is considered steep, requiring dozens of cases to become proficient. Yet hospitals are reluctant to spend $2 million on a robotic surgery unit and use it for training inexperienced physicians. “While surgical practice does make perfect, we believe that through better training tools, the early learning curve of robot-assisted surgery can be shortened without jeopardizing the safety and welfare of patients,” said Dr. Khurshid A. Guru, director of the Center for Robotic Surgery and a surgeon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Guru developed the Robotic Surgical Simulator, or RoSS, with Thenkurussi Kesavadas, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo and head of the school’s Virtual Reality Lab. The simulator approximates the feel of the Da Vinci Surgical System, robotic equipment that is controlled by a surgeon who sits at a console. That means the surgeon doesn’t have the normal sensation of feeling a knife in his hand. “With robotic surgery, you don’t have feedback, so you feel disconnected from the patient. That takes a lot of training to get used to,” Kesavadas said. He and Guru said hospitals and medical schools should incorporate robotic surgery simulators in the training of physicians in the same way that airlines use flight simulators to reduce pilot error…

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