[NewsWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
January/February 2001
Copyright © Information Today, Inc.
by Kathie Felix, News/Reviews Editor

News of the latest products and technology for K-12 may be sent directly to Kathie Felix at 5746 Union Mill Rd., PMB 605, Clifton, VA 20124 or to kfelix@infotoday.com.


New Schools Wired
According to Market Data Retrieval, more than 80% of the elementary schools planned for construction in 1999 to 2000 will have local area networks (LANs) and fiber optics/cable for their computers. Middle/junior high schools will see even more technology. A total of 89% of the newly constructed middle/junior high schools in 2000 will have LANs and 93% will have fiber optics/cable. In the senior high schools, 88% will have LANs and 94% will have fiber optics/cable. Market Data Retrieval, 800/333-8802 or http://www.schooldata.com/.

Technology in Early Childhood Education
Early Connections, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) Child & Family Program and NWREL's Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, provides research-based information and resources for individuals who work with children ages 8 and younger. The program provides information about child development, the appropriate and effective use of technology with young children, as well as tips for teachers, parents, and others. Information can be found online, organized in the categories of child care, preschool, kindergarten, primary grades, and before/after-school programs. Within each category, subtopics include learning and technology, technology and curriculum, classroom arrangement, software selection, health and safety, hardware, and resources. Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 800/211-9435 or http://www.netc.org/early connections/.

FETC 2001
The Florida Educational Technology Conference will be held January 11-13, 2001, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The program for the 3-day event has a strong emphasis on classroom practices that combine technology with educational standards. More than 12,000 attendees are expected to attend the hundreds of sessions, workshops, and exhibitions by more than 300 vendors. The pre-conference workshops begin on Tuesday, January 9, at 8:30 a.m. The Exhibit Hall will be open Thursday, January 11, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, January 12, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Saturday, January 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Florida Educational Technology Corporation, 850/219-9600 or http://www.fetc.org/.

Building-Level Technology Workshops
One-day workshops designed to assist building-level decision makers strengthen educational technology programs and planning will be held on Wednesday, January 10, in Gainesville, Florida, and Friday, January 29, in Jackson, Mississippi. The workshops are offered by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), with support from the BellSouth Foundation. The scheduled presentations include:"Technology Planning Linked to Educational Goals," "Budgeting: Taking Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to the Classroom," and "Measuring Success: How Will We Know When We Get There?" Participants will receive a workbook, narrative overview of each topic, copies of the trainer's PowerPoint presentation slides, and a URL resource list for each topic. The conference fee covers training, materials, a continental breakfast, and lunch. The cost is $149 for CoSN members or $199 for non-members. CoSN, 202/466-6296 or http://www.cosn.org/conferences/.


One Search
Follett has introduced intranet search consolidation technology into its OPAC (online public access catalog) software solutions. The one-stop search technology will make it easier to acquire information from multiple databases in a single search. With the new tool, students will be able to search multiple sources—such as the library collection, full-text databases, and online encyclopedias—at the same time. Users can determine which information resources will be included in a search and can view one set of results from the combined resources. The technology's standard search interface eliminates the need to learn different search methods for each database. The one-stop technology will be incorporated into the Catalog Plus, WebCollection Plus, and Union Catalog Plus OPAC software applications. The single-stop search will support many of the most common K-12 online resources, including both subscription-based services and those accessed free of charge over the Internet. The search technology is also available as an add-on subscription. Follett Software Company, 800/323-3397 or http://www.fsc.follett.com/.

Young Searchers
The updated SIRS Discoverer reference database for students in grades 1-9 allows youngsters to learn a variety of search techniques and improve their research skills. Two student workbooks—an elementary school workbook for grades 1-6 and a middle school workbook for grades 5-9—are available to educators for use in the classroom, library, and at home. The workbooks include an assortment of worksheets that show students how to locate pertinent SIRS Discoverer articles. The worksheet exercises teach students to use common search tools such as logical operators, truncation, phrase search, keyword, subject tree, and subject headings searching. More advanced exercises prompt students to write short article summaries, extract the main idea from an article, deduce the meaning of words in different contexts, and prepare a research fact sheet on student-selected research subjects. The package also includes an Educator's Guide that provides an overview of SIRS Discoverer reading levels, search methods, and database features. A summary of the educational purpose and content of each worksheet in the student workbooks is available, as are activities and recommendations for using the package as an in-class learning tool. The student workbooks and Educator's Guide are available in print format or online in PDF format. SIRS Mandarin, Inc., 800/232-7477 or http://www.sirs.com/.


Technology Guide
The 4th edition of the Scholastic Technology Guide provides more than 3,500 listings in five categories—Educational Software (listed by subject and grade level), Teacher Software, Administrative Software, Hardware, and Internet/Telecommunications. A glossary of technology terms also is included. The guide is available in a print edition and online. The online material includes increased search capabilities, more comprehensive information, and links to more than 7,000 supplier sites. Through the online directory, buyers can link directly to technology companies, product information, and prices. 210 pages. $19.95. Scholastic, 800/724-6527 or http://www.scholastictechguide.com/.

Learning to Read
The Leap Into Literacy Center reading program provides an interactive multisensory curriculum for students in PreK-12th grade. The program, based on phonemic awareness and phonics, uses touch-sensitive technology to help youngsters learn to read. The curriculum content is supported by the Center's unique electronic learning platforms. The PreK and K-2 editions include the LeapPad, LeapDesk, and LeapMat. The LeapPad, an electronic base, brings books to life with technology that allows any page to become touch-interactive. The LeapDesk "speaks" the names of the letters of the alphabet and produces their phonic pronunciations in the context of specific words. It offers three modes of operation—learning, assessment, and adaptive teaching. The LeapMat teaches letter-name recognition, letter-sound association, and the spelling of three-letter words. A variety of pricing options are available. LeapFrog SchoolHouse, 800/883-7430 or http://www.LeapFrogSchoolHouse.com/.


Funding Conference
"Capturing Your Piece of the $30 Billion Pie" is the theme of the Grants & Funding for School Technology Conference to be held February 8-9 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference offers 18 technical sessions within two program tracks—"Tools & Techniques" and "Contacts & Case Studies." The sessions will focus on the development of winning grant proposals, building relationships with key funders, creating and managing a successful school foundation, and building public/private strategic alliances. eSchool News Communications Group, 301/913-0115 or http://www.eschoolnews.org/.

Leading Technology School Districts
Four school districts are the national winners of the Ohana Foundation's first Technology in Education Awards—Anaconda School District (Anaconda, Montana), Beaufort County School District (Beaufort, South Carolina), Central Columbia School District (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania), and Wilson County School District (Wilson County, North Carolina). The districts were selected by a national panel of independent judges for their exemplary use of technology in K-12 education. The selection occurred after research identified school districts throughout the country that represented examples of 21st century educational technology. Each of the four top districts received a $2,500 cash award. The Ohana Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is "dedicated to unlocking the promise of education for all children through technology." Ohana Foundation, 808/524-0770; http://www.ohanalearning.org/.

Grant Program Launched
Curriculum Associates has launched its 4th Annual Excellence in Teaching Cabinet grant program. The program selects three educators to receive a $1,000 implementation grant for a submitted project, up to $500 worth of Curriculum Associates materials, the opportunity to field test products in the classroom and provide feedback, and a place on the Curriculum Associates Web site to share their success stories. To apply, educators must submit 500-750 word proposals for innovative teaching projects that exemplify excellence in K-8 teaching practices encompassing a range of media, including print and technology. The program is open to all educators teaching grades K-8 in the U.S. and Canada. Proposals are due by March 15, 2001. Winners will be notified on or about May 31, 2001. The grants will be implemented in the 2001-2002 school year. Official rules are available online. Curriculum Associates, 800/225-0248 or http://www.curriculumassociates/com/cabinet.com/cabinet/.


News for the Classroom
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, TheWall Street Journal Classroom Edition has a new design and new content. The new features include colorful displays, story summaries, listings of additional resources, and a new layout. New monthly sections have been added in response to student and teacher feedback. The Notebook section delivers news from around the business world. Your Money helps students learn about saving and investing. Careers provides in-depth perspectives about careers and job opportunities. The paper's regular features—Marketing, Economics, Technology, Government and Politics, Advertising, Media, and Education—include Web links to help students dig deeper for research projects or find out more about topics that catch their interest. The annual subscription rate is $165 (includes 30 copies each month during the school year, a daily teacher copy of The Wall Street Journal, and a monthly Teacher Guide with lesson plans, reproducible work sheets, and a quick reference concepts/standards grid). The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, 800/544-0522 or http://www.wsjclassroomedition.com/.

A Closer Look at Science and Technology
Inside a..., the new 16-volume book set from Grolier Educational, unites core science with practical applications to illustrate and explain why and how 16 things—from a computer to a car—work. Visual aids including full-color photographs, charts, and diagrams help students to discover the history, examine the "inside" of the technology, and explore each facet of its construction and operation. Scientific principles—such as the physics of speed, the chemistry of lasers, the nature of materials, and math measurements—are supported by activities including model making and experiments designed to develop independent learning and critical-thinking skills. A full set index, detailed glossary, and list of additional print and electronic resources are included in each volume. $299. Grolier Educational, 203/797-3500 or http://www.grolier.com/.

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