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Welcome to the Educational Technology area!

The Task Force, consisting of member district Technology and Media Services Directors, meets monthly to share information about integrating technology into all school district operations, particularly for use in instruction at the classroom level. Rapid growth in the sophistication and user friendliness of technology, computers and information systems has opened vast opportunities for education. Middle Cities relies on the task force for information and advice not only on how to apply technology to enhance educational opportunities for students, but how to strengthen information management and dissemination.

Issues at the forefront for the Task Force include distance learning, funding for technology, using technology for library management and to enhance library services, standards for integrating technology into the curriculum and to enhance instruction, the Internet and keeping abreast of new technologies.

Freedom to Learn Position Paper

Developing Task Force Mission/Vision

EdTech Digest April 1997 Web Page Publishing Guidelines

 


 

EdTech Digest April, 1997
Compiled by Blaine Morrow

CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY: WHAT TEACHERS HAVE, WHAT THEY NEED

Effective teacher training and more modern computers are what an overwhelming number of classroom teachers and superintendents said they need to build classrooms for tomorrow, according to a poll conducted by Jostens Learning Corporation and the American Association of School Administrators.

"Teachers and superintendents clearly are sending a message that professional development for teachers must be a priority," said Dr. Terry Crane, president of Jostens Learning. "As the nation's leading educational software company, we know that when the training focuses on integrating computers into classroom instruction, schools do see increased results in student achievement."

Other findings: 72% of respondents said teacher training, while readily available, focuses on basic computer operation, rather than on integration of computers into classroom instruction (56%), using the Internet (52%), or the use of instructional software (51%); schools or the school district provides most of the computer training for teachers; and teachers most often use computers in computer labs or in the classroom.

Respondents also pointed to the importance of intranet connection, as well as Internet access. Teachers and superintendents noted that computers most frequently are used for classroom instruction, teaching basic computer skills, or record-keeping. Karl Hertz, president-elect of AASA, applauded President Clinton's technology initiatives, but said the White House should stress establishing more in-school intranets, as well as connections to the Internet.

According to the poll, computers are most often used to help teach the following subjects: vocational skills (53%); reading, writing and language arts (52%); sciences and health (35%); mathematics (33%); history and social studies (20%); extracurricular activities (22%); and art and music (10%).

The survey also addressed the potential impact of a pending decision by the Federal Communications Commission on how $2.25B in computer technology discounts will be distributed to schools across the country. Under the FCC's ruling, which is expected to be rendered 8 May, schools will receive discounts of 20% to 90% on telecommunications services, internal networking and Internet access. The release further explains that "Congress amended the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to require telecommunications providers to offer equipment and services at discounted rates to schools."

Poll results indicate that about 60% of those surveyed were aware of the discounts. Thirty-five percent of respondents said the discount should be used to connect classrooms to the school's computer network, 29% said Internet access and 23% said better telecommunication services, such as high capacity phone lines.

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a sponsor of the legislation calling for the discounts commented: "This latest poll reinforces what we have known all along: that school superintendents and teachers recognize the value of providing discounted rates to schools in order to assure access to technologies that improve teaching and learning -- especially in the classroom. The Snowe-Rockefeller-Exon-Kerrey provision included in law will do just that, and now we must ensure that all of our nation's teachers and administrators are aware of the discounts and benefits this provision can offer."


MAY 15TH MEETING ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND

Together with a letter from Governor John Engler, a brochure explaining the Universal Service Fund recommendations and some maps showing people how to get to Mt. Pleasant or Marquette the following invitation is being sent to members of the K-12 and library communities in Michigan. Additional information about the Universal Service Fund is available on Merit's Web page

http://www.merit.edu

-Jeff Ogden, Merit

 


 

April 10, 1997 

Dear Colleague:

You are cordially invited to a meeting on May 15 to learn more about an important opportunity for K-12 schools and libraries. By May 8 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will act on the recommendations of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. These recommendations call for $2.25 billion a year to be made available to non-profit K-12 schools and libraries as discounts of 20% to 90% on a wide range of telecommunications services. The discounts would be available for traditional telecommunications services, Internet access, interactive video systems, internal building wiring, network hubs, wireless LANs, and file servers.

We hope you can join us at the meeting. Please help us get the word out by passing this invitation on to others who may be interested.

The meeting is being sponsored by the Merit Network and MICTA with help from the Michigan Department of Education, the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Library Association, the Michigan Library Consortium, and the Office of the Michigan Information Network (MIN). Merit and MICTA will provide an overview of the Universal Service Fund, explain what schools and libraries must to do to obtain the discounts, and outline some possible approaches that we can take together to see that Michigan takes full advantage of this opportunity. Representatives of all of the supporting organizations will explain how their communities can benefit from the Universal Service Fund, describe what each organization is doing to help schools and libraries, answer questions and be available for informal discussion during lunch or following the meeting.

The meeting is free. It is being held at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 15, in the auditorium of the Bovee University Center on Preston Street. Parking is available at the north end of lot #22 near the southwest corner of Preston and Washington Streets. A map is enclosed.

The meeting will also be available by interactive video at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Come to room 165 in the Learning Resource Center. This room has space for 50 people, so to be sure you have a seat we need to ask that you pre-register.

To pre-register you can call Sandra Elder at 517-774-3088, you can send e-mail to may15@merit.edu, or you can send a FAX to 313-647-3185. Please tell us your name, organization, phone number and/or e-mail address and if you will be attending the meeting in Mt. Pleasant or Marquette. Lunch will be provided for those that pre-register.

Enclosed is a short brochure that explains the recommendations that are now before the FCC. More information is available on the Web at: http://www.merit.edu 

Sincerely,

Jeff Ogden
Associate Director for MichNet
Merit Network
Ken Johnson
President
MiCTA
George Needham
State
Librarian
Library of Michigan
Arthur E. Ellis
Superintendent
Michigan Department of Education
Linda Schatz
Director
Office of the Michigan Information Network
Randy Dykhuis
Executive Director
Michigan Library Consortium
Marianne Hartzell
Executive Director
Michigan Library Association
 
 

TOMORROW'S PROMISE: JOSTENS UNVEILS NEW SOFTWARE

At a press conference releasing new poll data on classroom technology (See the first story), Jostens Learning Corporation also unveiled a new software product called "Tomorrow's Promise." The software, available for both Windows and Macintosh, includes mathematics and reading programs at levels K-8 and language arts for grades 3-8.

"Featuring all-new curricula, modular options, multimedia graphics and easy-to-use management, "Tomorrow's Promise" is designed to appeal to educators who want comprehensive curriculum and flexible technology solutions," said Susan Richardson, vice president of product marketing for Jostens Learning. "Our new modular format makes the power of Jostens Learning's basic curriculum available to all schools regardless of their size, technology orientation in a classroom or lab and budget constraints," she added.

A Josten's press release noted that the firm is the only educational software company that provides "virtually 100 percent objectives coverage for the five major national assessment tests (ITBS, CTBS, SAT, MAT and CAT).

A demonstration of the new product line by local elementary school students followed the press conference.

Jostens has gone through a company overhaul, offering new products, new partners and new management, including Terry Crane, the recently hired Jostens Learning president. Crane's previous experience includes working for the Richardson Independent School District in Texas as a teacher, principal and computer expert. Most recently, she ran Apple Computer's education division from 1994-1996.

For more information on "Tomorrow's Promise" or other Josten products call 800/244-0575, or visit The Jostens Learning Website at http://www.jlc.com


BIG BROTHER OR SAFETY PATROL?: SCHOOL INTERNET-MONITORING

Wiring for computer access is the easy part, according to some educators. The more difficult task lies in devising Internet-monitoring policies that protect students from "scabrous material," grant them e-mail privileges, yet monitor their whereabouts, without infringing on their right to privacy (Goodnough, N.Y. TIMES, 4/19).

According to the paper, more than half the nation's public schools have Internet access, with more on the way through a month-long project called Net Day. Thomas O'Neill, the N.J. coordinator for Net Day, likens the project to a dad teaching his child how to ride a bike. "You get them up and running, but you can't tell what they're doing once they go around the block."

Some schools, however, are intent on monitoring student behavior on the Internet. The Hazlet, N.J., district purchased filtering software, "which blocks access to Internet chat rooms and Web sites they consider offensive," writes the paper. A more controversial policy is in effect at Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, N.J. The school uses monitoring devices to "track student's every move on the Internet," which "raises questions form civil libertarians about the students' right to privacy," reports the TIMES.

Hunterdon also requires students and parents to sign a contract that outlines computer prohibitions and behavior. For example, students are not allowed to use vulgarities, destroy files or reveal their home address on the Internet.

Neptune, N.J., schools' computer policy are more restrictive; they do not permit students to send chain letters or use the Internet for political lobbying, reports the paper. Other educators are wary of too restrictive school policies. Dr. Pare of Hunterdon Central observed that if you restrict a word like "breast," you end up eliminating access to information on breast cancer.

Most schools have not established rules for using the Internet and e-mail. Lynn Reuss, who directs technology programs at the N.Y. State DoEd, complains that wiring projects like NetDay "provide initial wiring solutions, but what's missing is sound instructional training to tell them why, where and what for."

The WASH POST reports that some library systems also are grappling with the broad range of information available on the Internet, and questioning the value of that information for the libraries' youngest readers (Argetsinger, 4/21). John Newell, president of the Board of Trustees of the Anne Arundel libraries: "We can't really pull the plug on something because we don't appreciate the subject matter. We have to respect people's rights to access what they want to access. Yet, he concedes that "when you have people going into the library and seeing objectionable pictures on a screen, I can understand why they're upset."

Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino ordered filtering software, which blocks nternet sites with sexual content, for the city's library system, writes the paper. However, library officials protested, claiming the software violates readers' First Amendment Rights. According to the paper, a compromise was reached: the software was installed on computers used only by children.

A sample of other libraries dealing with the Internet: Cuyahoga County (Ohio) libraries require that children under 18 must have a written statement from their parents allowing them to log on; and Ohio and Texas Legislatures are reviewing legislation that would require all libraries to install blocking software, reports the POST.

Many librarians are not pleased with installing blocking software. It's nobody's business what you read in the library but yours," said Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association's office for intellectual freedom. "It's nobody's business what you access on the Internet but yours." She offers advice to parents who worry what their child may view on a library's computer: Supervise them.


NEW ON MCREL'S WEB SITE: TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS

http://www.mcrel.org/connect/tech/index.html

These pages provide some of the best online resources available to help educators, administrators, and parents answer common questions and solve problems related to the implementation and use of technology in education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Welcome to the Educational Technology area!

The Task Force, consisting of member district Technology and Media Services Directors, meets monthly to share information about integrating technology into all school district operations, particularly for use in instruction at the classroom level. Rapid growth in the sophistication and user friendliness of technology, computers and information systems has opened vast opportunities for education. Middle Cities relies on the task force for information and advice not only on how to apply technology to enhance educational opportunities for students, but how to strengthen information management and dissemination.

Issues at the forefront for the Task Force include distance learning, funding for technology, using technology for library management and to enhance library services, standards for integrating technology into the curriculum and to enhance instruction, the Internet and keeping abreast of new technologies.

Freedom to Learn Position Paper

Developing Task Force Mission/Vision

EdTech Digest April 1997 Web Page Publishing Guidelines

 


 

EdTech Digest April, 1997
Compiled by Blaine Morrow

CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY: WHAT TEACHERS HAVE, WHAT THEY NEED

Effective teacher training and more modern computers are what an overwhelming number of classroom teachers and superintendents said they need to build classrooms for tomorrow, according to a poll conducted by Jostens Learning Corporation and the American Association of School Administrators.

"Teachers and superintendents clearly are sending a message that professional development for teachers must be a priority," said Dr. Terry Crane, president of Jostens Learning. "As the nation's leading educational software company, we know that when the training focuses on integrating computers into classroom instruction, schools do see increased results in student achievement."

Other findings: 72% of respondents said teacher training, while readily available, focuses on basic computer operation, rather than on integration of computers into classroom instruction (56%), using the Internet (52%), or the use of instructional software (51%); schools or the school district provides most of the computer training for teachers; and teachers most often use computers in computer labs or in the classroom.

Respondents also pointed to the importance of intranet connection, as well as Internet access. Teachers and superintendents noted that computers most frequently are used for classroom instruction, teaching basic computer skills, or record-keeping. Karl Hertz, president-elect of AASA, applauded President Clinton's technology initiatives, but said the White House should stress establishing more in-school intranets, as well as connections to the Internet.

According to the poll, computers are most often used to help teach the following subjects: vocational skills (53%); reading, writing and language arts (52%); sciences and health (35%); mathematics (33%); history and social studies (20%); extracurricular activities (22%); and art and music (10%).

The survey also addressed the potential impact of a pending decision by the Federal Communications Commission on how $2.25B in computer technology discounts will be distributed to schools across the country. Under the FCC's ruling, which is expected to be rendered 8 May, schools will receive discounts of 20% to 90% on telecommunications services, internal networking and Internet access. The release further explains that "Congress amended the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to require telecommunications providers to offer equipment and services at discounted rates to schools."

Poll results indicate that about 60% of those surveyed were aware of the discounts. Thirty-five percent of respondents said the discount should be used to connect classrooms to the school's computer network, 29% said Internet access and 23% said better telecommunication services, such as high capacity phone lines.

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a sponsor of the legislation calling for the discounts commented: "This latest poll reinforces what we have known all along: that school superintendents and teachers recognize the value of providing discounted rates to schools in order to assure access to technologies that improve teaching and learning -- especially in the classroom. The Snowe-Rockefeller-Exon-Kerrey provision included in law will do just that, and now we must ensure that all of our nation's teachers and administrators are aware of the discounts and benefits this provision can offer."


MAY 15TH MEETING ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND

Together with a letter from Governor John Engler, a brochure explaining the Universal Service Fund recommendations and some maps showing people how to get to Mt. Pleasant or Marquette the following invitation is being sent to members of the K-12 and library communities in Michigan. Additional information about the Universal Service Fund is available on Merit's Web page

http://www.merit.edu

-Jeff Ogden, Merit

 


 

April 10, 1997 

Dear Colleague:

You are cordially invited to a meeting on May 15 to learn more about an important opportunity for K-12 schools and libraries. By May 8 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will act on the recommendations of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. These recommendations call for $2.25 billion a year to be made available to non-profit K-12 schools and libraries as discounts of 20% to 90% on a wide range of telecommunications services. The discounts would be available for traditional telecommunications services, Internet access, interactive video systems, internal building wiring, network hubs, wireless LANs, and file servers.

We hope you can join us at the meeting. Please help us get the word out by passing this invitation on to others who may be interested.

The meeting is being sponsored by the Merit Network and MICTA with help from the Michigan Department of Education, the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Library Association, the Michigan Library Consortium, and the Office of the Michigan Information Network (MIN). Merit and MICTA will provide an overview of the Universal Service Fund, explain what schools and libraries must to do to obtain the discounts, and outline some possible approaches that we can take together to see that Michigan takes full advantage of this opportunity. Representatives of all of the supporting organizations will explain how their communities can benefit from the Universal Service Fund, describe what each organization is doing to help schools and libraries, answer questions and be available for informal discussion during lunch or following the meeting.

The meeting is free. It is being held at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 15, in the auditorium of the Bovee University Center on Preston Street. Parking is available at the north end of lot #22 near the southwest corner of Preston and Washington Streets. A map is enclosed.

The meeting will also be available by interactive video at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Come to room 165 in the Learning Resource Center. This room has space for 50 people, so to be sure you have a seat we need to ask that you pre-register.

To pre-register you can call Sandra Elder at 517-774-3088, you can send e-mail to may15@merit.edu, or you can send a FAX to 313-647-3185. Please tell us your name, organization, phone number and/or e-mail address and if you will be attending the meeting in Mt. Pleasant or Marquette. Lunch will be provided for those that pre-register.

Enclosed is a short brochure that explains the recommendations that are now before the FCC. More information is available on the Web at: http://www.merit.edu 

Sincerely,

Jeff Ogden
Associate Director for MichNet
Merit Network
Ken Johnson
President
MiCTA
George Needham
State
Librarian
Library of Michigan
Arthur E. Ellis
Superintendent
Michigan Department of Education
Linda Schatz
Director
Office of the Michigan Information Network
Randy Dykhuis
Executive Director
Michigan Library Consortium
Marianne Hartzell
Executive Director
Michigan Library Association
 
 

TOMORROW'S PROMISE: JOSTENS UNVEILS NEW SOFTWARE

At a press conference releasing new poll data on classroom technology (See the first story), Jostens Learning Corporation also unveiled a new software product called "Tomorrow's Promise." The software, available for both Windows and Macintosh, includes mathematics and reading programs at levels K-8 and language arts for grades 3-8.

"Featuring all-new curricula, modular options, multimedia graphics and easy-to-use management, "Tomorrow's Promise" is designed to appeal to educators who want comprehensive curriculum and flexible technology solutions," said Susan Richardson, vice president of product marketing for Jostens Learning. "Our new modular format makes the power of Jostens Learning's basic curriculum available to all schools regardless of their size, technology orientation in a classroom or lab and budget constraints," she added.

A Josten's press release noted that the firm is the only educational software company that provides "virtually 100 percent objectives coverage for the five major national assessment tests (ITBS, CTBS, SAT, MAT and CAT).

A demonstration of the new product line by local elementary school students followed the press conference.

Jostens has gone through a company overhaul, offering new products, new partners and new management, including Terry Crane, the recently hired Jostens Learning president. Crane's previous experience includes working for the Richardson Independent School District in Texas as a teacher, principal and computer expert. Most recently, she ran Apple Computer's education division from 1994-1996.

For more information on "Tomorrow's Promise" or other Josten products call 800/244-0575, or visit The Jostens Learning Website at http://www.jlc.com


BIG BROTHER OR SAFETY PATROL?: SCHOOL INTERNET-MONITORING

Wiring for computer access is the easy part, according to some educators. The more difficult task lies in devising Internet-monitoring policies that protect students from "scabrous material," grant them e-mail privileges, yet monitor their whereabouts, without infringing on their right to privacy (Goodnough, N.Y. TIMES, 4/19).

According to the paper, more than half the nation's public schools have Internet access, with more on the way through a month-long project called Net Day. Thomas O'Neill, the N.J. coordinator for Net Day, likens the project to a dad teaching his child how to ride a bike. "You get them up and running, but you can't tell what they're doing once they go around the block."

Some schools, however, are intent on monitoring student behavior on the Internet. The Hazlet, N.J., district purchased filtering software, "which blocks access to Internet chat rooms and Web sites they consider offensive," writes the paper. A more controversial policy is in effect at Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, N.J. The school uses monitoring devices to "track student's every move on the Internet," which "raises questions form civil libertarians about the students' right to privacy," reports the TIMES.

Hunterdon also requires students and parents to sign a contract that outlines computer prohibitions and behavior. For example, students are not allowed to use vulgarities, destroy files or reveal their home address on the Internet.

Neptune, N.J., schools' computer policy are more restrictive; they do not permit students to send chain letters or use the Internet for political lobbying, reports the paper. Other educators are wary of too restrictive school policies. Dr. Pare of Hunterdon Central observed that if you restrict a word like "breast," you end up eliminating access to information on breast cancer.

Most schools have not established rules for using the Internet and e-mail. Lynn Reuss, who directs technology programs at the N.Y. State DoEd, complains that wiring projects like NetDay "provide initial wiring solutions, but what's missing is sound instructional training to tell them why, where and what for."

The WASH POST reports that some library systems also are grappling with the broad range of information available on the Internet, and questioning the value of that information for the libraries' youngest readers (Argetsinger, 4/21). John Newell, president of the Board of Trustees of the Anne Arundel libraries: "We can't really pull the plug on something because we don't appreciate the subject matter. We have to respect people's rights to access what they want to access. Yet, he concedes that "when you have people going into the library and seeing objectionable pictures on a screen, I can understand why they're upset."

Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino ordered filtering software, which blocks nternet sites with sexual content, for the city's library system, writes the paper. However, library officials protested, claiming the software violates readers' First Amendment Rights. According to the paper, a compromise was reached: the software was installed on computers used only by children.

A sample of other libraries dealing with the Internet: Cuyahoga County (Ohio) libraries require that children under 18 must have a written statement from their parents allowing them to log on; and Ohio and Texas Legislatures are reviewing legislation that would require all libraries to install blocking software, reports the POST.

Many librarians are not pleased with installing blocking software. It's nobody's business what you read in the library but yours," said Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association's office for intellectual freedom. "It's nobody's business what you access on the Internet but yours." She offers advice to parents who worry what their child may view on a library's computer: Supervise them.


NEW ON MCREL'S WEB SITE: TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS

http://www.mcrel.org/connect/tech/index.html

These pages provide some of the best online resources available to help educators, administrators, and parents answer common questions and solve problems related to the implementation and use of technology in education.