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Magazines > MultiMedia Schools > January/February 2003
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Vol. 10 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2003
News of the Latest Products and Technology for K-12
by Kathie Felix, News 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


Study Examines Hand-Held Device Use in K-12 Classrooms

Approximately 90 percent of teachers say hand-held devices are effective instructional tools, according to SRI International, an independent research and development institute. SRI conducted a 2-year study of 100 elementary and secondary classrooms across the U.S. that received Palm Education Pioneer (PEP) technology grants. The classrooms, ranging from kindergarten to high school, used the hand-held computers for a variety of purposes—from taking notes to studying vocabulary words to conducting science experiments.

Among the key findings of the survey: 93 percent of the teachers said they believe that handhelds can have a positive impact on students' learning, 95 percent said their students were "very" (66 percent) or "fairly" (29 percent) comfortable using the handhelds, 90 percent plan to continue using handhelds in the classroom post-study, and 72 percent said handhelds are more easily used in the "flow of classroom activity" than desktop computers. The teachers reported some drawbacks to using handhelds in the classroom, mostly related to equipment management, such as inappropriate use of the equipment, general integration issues, usability issues, equipment damage, and the potential for loss or theft. However, the teachers found that precautions such as creating "acceptable use" policies that extended beyond the classroom could counter many of these drawbacks.

The complete report is available online at SRI International, SRI Center for Learning Technology,

ISTE Seal of Alignment Created

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has launched a review process to recognize products, services, and resources that are in alignment with ISTE's mission and National Educational Technology Standards (NETS).

Four levels of the ISTE Seal of Alignment will be awarded. The "ISTE Mission Aligned" designation indicates that a product/service/resource supports ISTE's mission of promoting appropriate use of technology to support and improve learning, teaching, and administration in K-12 and teacher preparation. The "Supports ISTE NETS" category indicates substantial movement toward partial or full alignment with NETS. The "ISTE NETS Aligned, Verified" designation indicates clear implementation of NETS in specific, carefully reviewed, and documented ways. The "ISTE Implementation Partner" category indicates that a product/service/resource has been developed with ISTE.

The ISTE NETS review program was developed by the NETS leadership team, in conjunction with ISTE partners Intel Innovation, Microsoft, and PBS TeacherLine. The NETS product review program is open to members of the ISTE 100, a group of corporations sharing ISTE's commitment to education technology. Additional information is available online at ISTE, 800/336-5191 or

New ISTE Administrator Group

ISTE has created a new Special Interest Group for Administrators (SIGAdmin) to support school principals and others in educational leadership positions in promoting the use of instructional technologies to increase student learning. Communication among group members will take place via an e-mail list and the SIGAdmin Web site []. The first face-to-face meeting will take place during the 2003 National Educational Computing Conference in Seattle, to be held June 30­July 2, 2003. SIGAdmin members will also meet to discuss technology leadership issues during a conference workshop. ISTE, 800/336-5191 or


Gateway's Plasma TV/Digital Display

The Gateway 42-inch plasma television and digital display is designed for use in presentations, dynamic messaging, training, and teleconferencing. The unit is high-definition capable and compatible with satellite TV and digital cable services. It can be connected to a DVD player, VCR, HDTV decoder set-top box, external audio connections, gaming devices, and a PC. In addition, the plasma television and digital display includes built-in internal 5-watt stereo amplification and speakers, a table stand, and an integrated NTSC tuner. The unit weighs 68 pounds, is less than 4 inches deep, and provides a 160-degree viewing angle without losing image clarity. The TV/display is priced at $2,999, with an additional $149 for standard delivery. Gateway will provide customized installation services, from delivery and basic set-up, to wall mounting and connections to external components. Gateway, Inc., 800/369-1409 or

The Quantum Pad Goes to School

LeapFrog SchoolHouse has released a school version of the Quantum Pad learning system designed for students in grades 3 and up. The school version features headphones, AC adapters to help schools save on battery costs, and includes a longer warranty (1 year total) than the consumer version. The Quantum Pad supports the LeapFrog SchoolHouse library of interactive books for upper elementary students. Single units are priced at $59; six-unit sets are priced at $330. The Getting Started Kit, priced at $99, includes an interactive learning system and three age-appropriate interactive books. LeapFrog SchoolHouse, 800/883-7430 or

Kidspiration Resource Kit

The TechTools Resource Kit for Kidspiration provides elementary schoolteachers with resources for using the Kidspiration visual learning software to help students explore, think, and create. The Kit, for K-5th grade teachers, includes 60 projects supported by detailed lesson plans, student activity pages, rubrics and scoring sheets, and Web and multimedia resources. Also included are 100 "How To" cards with answers to student questions about using the Windows and Macintosh versions of Kidspiration. Teacher Created Materials, 800/858-7339 or Inspiration Software, 800/877-4292 or


Improving Literacy Through School Libraries

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded 94 grants to school libraries as part of the agency's Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Grants Awards program. The grants were awarded to schools in the U.S. in amounts ranging from $24,536 (to the
Los Angeles County Office of Education in Downey, California) to $349,028 (to the Kansas City Public Schools in Kansas City, Kansas). Four additional awards went to "Outlying Areas" such as American Samoa ($17,000), the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ($11,848), the Guam Department of Education ($7,985), and the Virgin Islands ($25,000).

A total of $12.5 million was available for the awards. The program provides competitive 1-year grants to districts in which 20 percent of the students are from families with incomes below the poverty line. The grants are to be used by local education agencies to improve student achievement by upgrading school libraries and media centers, as well as the skills of school library media specialists. Program details are available online at
OESE/LSL/. U.S. Department of Education, 800/872-5327 or

AASL Meetings in 2003

The American Association of School Libraries (AASL) will meet during the American Library Association (ALA) 2003 Midwinter Meeting, January 24-29, 2003, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The AASL 11th National Conference and Exhibition will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, October 22-26, 2003. American Library Association/AASL, 800/545-2433 or


AASL Awards for 2003

The American Association of School Libraries (AASL) is accepting applications for the nine awards, grants, and scholarships offered by theorganization for 2003. This year's award roster includes the AASL Collaborative School Library Media Award ($2,500), the AASL/Highsmith Research Grant (up to $5,000), the ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant (up to $1,750), the Distinguished School Administrators Award ($2,000), the Distinguished Service Award ($3,000), the Frances Henne Award ($1,250), the Information Technology Pathfinder Award ($1,500 in two categories—elementary and secondary), the Intellectual Freedom Award ($3,000), the National School Library Media Program of the Year Award ($10,000 in each of three categories), and the School Librarian's Workshop ($3,000).

The application deadline for most of the awards is February 3, 2003. The application deadline for the National School Library Media Program of the Year Award is January 3, 2003. The application deadline for the School Librarian's Workshop is March 1, 2003. Applications and additional information are available online at American Library Association/AASL, 800/545-2433 or



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