[NewsWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
May/June 2000
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.


Techies Day 2000
National Techies Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 3, 2000, with a host of special events tied into the theme of "Opportunities in Technology." A newly created Student Tech Team of the Year competition will run throughout the 2000-2001 school year, with winners announced at an awards ceremony in the spring of 2001. The Techies Day in Schools K-12 outreach program will continue, with online postings of classroom materials for in-school activities and technology professionals available for school visits. The Tech Team of the Year competition for technology professionals will focus this year on celebrating tech professionals who are sharing their technology expertise with their communities. Techies Day, 612/944-1020 or http://www.techiesday.org/.

CoSN Public Policy Leadership Network
The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has launched the CoSN Public Policy Leadership Network, designed to build a network of local and state ed-tech champions who will educate federal policymakers and inform CoSN's advocacy efforts in Washington, DC. The group's first meeting was a leadership training session held February 24 during the CoSN meeting in Washington. CoSN, 202/466-6296 or http://www.cosn.org/.

Educating Girls in the New Computer Culture
As this column went to press, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) announced that it was preparing to release a new report titled "Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Culture." The report, from the AAUW Educational Foundation's Commission on Technology, Gender, and Teacher Education, makes clear recommendations to educators, parents, software manufacturers, and researchers on ways to broaden girls' involvement with technology and stimulate a "more inviting" e-culture. AAUW, 800/326-AAUW or http://www.aauw.org/.

The 8th Annual HyperStudio Festival-HyperFest-will be held August 11-14 at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), north of Los Angeles. The conference is designed for educators at all levels of HyperStudio proficiency. Skills will be taught in the context of classroom applications. Continuing education or graduate credits are available through the Department of Education at CSUN. Knowledge Adventure, 800/545-7677 or http://www.KnowledgeAdventure.com/.


School Library Media Info
Two recent books offer practical information for school library media specialists. Beyond the Book: Technology Integration into the Secondary School Library Media Collection by Sandra L. Doggett focuses on big-picture planning and day-to-day technology decisions. Developed for educators working with grades 6-12, the 200-page book is priced at $30.  100 Library Lifesavers: A Survival Guide for School Library Media Specialists by Pamela S. Bacon presents information on completing library inventory, handling overdue materials, establishing a book club, teaching Internet research skills, and improving public relations. Designed for educators working at all grade levels, the 317-page book is priced at $37.50. Libraries Unlimited, 800/237-6124 or http://www.lu.com/.

Current Biography Updates
The print monthly, Current Biography, has been updated to include special article sidebars, multiple photos with some entries, a larger typeface, and a new single-column arrangement for "Suggest Reading" citations. Since World War II, the monthly has inspired a number of spin-offs, including Web and disc versions, as well as Wilson Biographies Plus Illustrated, the most wide-ranging of the company's biography references. H.W. Wilson, 800/367-6770 or http://www.hwwilson.com/.

Title Comparisons Now Available
The OCLC/WLN Automated Collection Assessment and Analysis Services (ACAS) now provides comparisons of libraries' bibliographic records with the list of Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT) from Choice magazine and the titles reviewed in the Booklist review journal. WorldCat or local system records can be used for the comparisons. Libraries or groups receive a "miss" list, with the titles on the recommended list not in their collections. The list is composed of bibliographic records organized in WLN Conspectus order. A list of matching titles is also provided, with brief bibliographical information from the OAT or Booklist file and the library's file, and a statistical summary of matches and misses by WLN Conspectus divisions, categories, and subjects. OCLC/WLN, 800/848-5878 or http://www.oclc.org/.


Gateway Astro PC
The all-in-one, space-saving Astro PC desktop computer has only three cords - the connections to the mouse and keyboard, as well as the power cord. The basic model includes a monitor with a 13.9" viewable screen area, 400 MHz, 128 K processor, integrated Intel 3-D video graphics, 64 MB memory, 4.3 GB hard drive, and 17x/40x CD-ROM drive. The system includes four USB ports that can add networking capabilities or future upgrades, eliminating the need to open a chassis or configure a card. Prices begin at $799. Gateway, 800/846-5211 or http://www.gateway.com/.

Compaq iPAQ
The network-ready Compaq iPAQ Legacy-Free desktop computer features USB ports, Windows 2000, a desktop footprint of only 25 percent of traditional units, hot-pluggable MultiBay support, and an embedded Intel Pro/100+ Management Adapter. The basic model includes a 500 MHz processor, 64 MB memory, 4.3 GB hard drive, and integrated Intel 3-D graphics-at a starting cost of $499 without a monitor. A 17" carbon CRT is available for an additional $299. The Legacy-Free system was designed to lower overhead and support costs by eliminating the challenge of supporting older technologies. iPAQ systems with Legacy ports are available at a starting cost of $549, without monitors. Compaq, 800/888-9909 or http://www.compaq.com/.

Visual Voice Tools
Visual Voice Tools, a computer program that includes seven components from the IBM SpeechViewer III package, helps special-needs students of all ages to develop effective voice control. Each of the seven tools accepts vocal input and provides visual feedback in the form of an animated graphic designed to allow students to clearly establish the relationship between the graphic and vocal dimensions. Students can learn and practice fine control of pitch, loudness, voicing and breath control for phonation. Exercises include a sound presence activity that uses a student's voice to make a dog move and a voice-timing activity that uses sustained voicing to keep a butterfly flying above a flower garden (the butterfly drops when the voicing stops). The software, for Win 3.1/95, is priced at $199. Edmark, 800/691-2986 or http://www.edmark.com/.


The Digital Diplomacy Award
The U.S. State Department has created a Digital Diplomacy Award to recognize the student-created ThinkQuest Web site that best teaches about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy. The award, the first to be created by the State Department for the public, will provide each student on the winning team with a $2,000 scholarship. The winning coaches and schools will each receive a $500 cash award. The State Department will also sponsor a trip to Washington, DC, where the winners will receive a private tour of the State Department facilities, meet with key officials, and participate in a special award presentation ceremony. The Digital Diplomacy Award is open to all students in U.S.-based or U.S.-sponsored schools. U.S. State Department, 202/647-8207 or http://www.state.gov/www/digital_diplomacy/index.html, ThinkQuest, 914/765-1134 or http://www.thinkquest.org/php/state_dept_award.php3/.

Microsoft's $344 Million Software Donation
Microsoft Corporation will donate $344 million in software and program support to the Intel Teach to the Future program, a worldwide industry initiative designed to train more than 400,000 classroom teachers to use technology to improve teaching and learning. The donation is the single largest software donation in the company's history. Intel Corporation will support the program for the next 3 years with an investment of $100 million in cash, equipment, curriculum development, and program management to provide teacher-led hands-on training in 20 countries. U.S. regions participating in the program's first year include Arizona, northern California, Oregon, and Texas, to be followed by Washington and New Mexico. By the year 2002, 20 training agencies are expected to be in place in the U.S. Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/education/.

Knowledge Adventure Donates $2 Million in Software
Knowledge Adventure has donated more than $2 million in software to Arnold Schwarzenegger's national Inner-City Games (ICG) program. The gift, which includes seven ClassWorks Gold systems and 2,000 software site licenses, will help approximately 1 million ICG participants in summer and after-school learning programs. The donation will enable the creation and support of Computer Camps at as many as 75 Inner-City games program sites, including middle schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Youth Centers in the Games' 14 participating cities (San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, New York, Boston, Detroit, Orlando, Miami, and Philadelphia). Knowledge Adventure, 800/545-7677 or http://www.KnowledgeAdventure.com/.


Election 2000, a new free curriculum kit from Prentice Hall and the Close Up Foundation, provides a series of lessons and activities detailing the path to the U.S. presidency-from the primaries and caucuses up to Inauguration Day. The materials are designed to help students analyze political speeches and political cartoons, tackle modern electoral issues by designing mock candidate Web sites, and evaluate compaign media coverage. Prentice Hall, 800/848-9500 or http://www.phschool.com/.

DISCONNECTED: Politics, the Press, and the Public, produced by the Fred Friendly Seminars, will air on PBS television stations in early June. The program is accompanied by classroom materials available online at no charge. The classroom role-playing activities challenge students to think like reporters, politicians, and spin doctors in response to a hypothetical situation inspired by the headlines. A complete teacher guide can be downloaded in HTML or PDF format. Fred Friendly Seminars/Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 212/854-8995 or http://www.fredfriendlyseminars.org/.

Student Information Technology Certification
The National Computer Systems, Inc. REALskills program now offers the A+ information technology (I.T.) instructional program for high school student I.T. certification. The curriculum allows students to gain basic hardware, software, operating systems, and networks certification recognized by the Computer Technology Industry Association. Beginning in spring 2000, students can complete certification exams at their schools. The REALskills program also includes placement of certified students in internships to gain on-the-job work experience as I.T. professionals. National Computer Systems, Inc., 888/837-8449 or http://www.realskills.com/ or http://www.ncs.com/.

The Apple Learning Series provides an integrated suite of software applications and curriculum content with a collection of kits made up of software and student projects correlated to selected state and national standards. Each kit includes an online professional development course that demonstrates specific software features and ways to enhance student learning. Kits in the series include teacher productivity, K-3 curriculum, 3-6 curriculum, secondary math and science, secondary language arts and social studies, K-6 Web publishing, secondary Web publishing, K-6 multimedia, and secondary multimedia. Apple, 800/MY-APPLE or http://www.apple.com/.

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