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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
The complete report is available online at http://www.palmgrants.sri.com. SRI
SRI Center for Learning Technology, http://www.sri.com/policy/ctl.
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
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
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 http://www.iste.org/standards/nets/product-review. ISTE,
800/336-5191 or http://www.iste.org.
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 [http://www.iste.org/sigadmin/].
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 http://www.iste.org.
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 http://www.gateway.com/.
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
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 http://www.teachercreated.com/.
Inspiration Software, 800/877-4292 or http://www.inspiration.com/.
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 http://www.ed.gov/offices/
OESE/LSL/. U.S. Department of Education, 800/872-5327 or http://www.ed.gov/.
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 http://www.ala.org/aasl/.
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 http://www.ala.org/aasl/awards.html/. American
Library Association/AASL, 800/545-2433 or http://www.ala.org/aasl/.