Digital Age I
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Updates and Announcements

Annotated Bibliography: There seems to be considerable confusion as to what I mean by an annotated bibliography. An entry in an annotated bibliography consists of a regular bibliographic entry (that is done using some standardly accepted reference style) and a short paragraph that briefly summarizes the contents of the entry. For example, it reference is a Website, then the paragraph should contain sufficient information so that the reader could find related or alternative Websites on the same topic. This is important because Websites come and go, and the reader may well find that the link you have provide no longer works. The short paragraph also will help you in the future—it will help to refresh your memory on the reference. An example of an annotated bibliography is available on the OTEC Website at http://otec.uoregon.edu/references.htm. See, for example, the General References given there.

There are no other specific course-related announcements or updates at the current time. However, some readers will be interested in the following:

BBC News Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 11:28 GMT

Doubts about school computer use
Millions of pounds is spent equipping schools
Students who use computers a lot at school have worse maths and reading performance, research suggests.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/4032737.stm

ASCD Research Briefs. October 26, 2004 | Volume 2 Number 22
Educator Use of Research to Improve Practice

How do educators use research to improve practice, and what are some of the barriers and incentives to this use

http://www.ascd.org/cms/objectlib/ascdframeset/
index.cfm?publication=http://www.ascd.org/publications/
researchbrief/volume2/v2n22.html?reid=sb

FDA APPROVES MEDICAL MICROCHIPS
The Food and Drug Administration has okayed an implantable radio frequency microchip that can transmit information on a patient's medical history to doctors in the event of an emergency. VeriChips, made by Applied Digital Solutions, are already in use as a way to track wayward pets and livestock, and nearly 200 people working in Mexico's attorney general's office have had the chips implanted in order to access secure areas. The tiny chips, which are embedded under the skin with a syringe, are programmed with a code similar to the UPC codes on retail goods, which releases patient-specific information on such issues as allergies and prior treatments when scanned. (AP 13 Oct 2004) <http://apnews.excite.com/article/20041013/D85MJ8I83.html> (NewsScan Daily, 13 October 2004)

Open Source Graphics Program for Youngsters

There are many free pieces of software that are designed for use in education and other environments. Tux Paint is a good example. It runs on both Macs and PCs, and is available at http://newbreedsoftware.com/tuxpaint/. Quoting from the Website:

Tux Paint is a free drawing program designed for young children (kids ages 3 and up). It has a simple, easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who helps guide children as they use the program. (See the full list of features.) It provides a blank canvas and a variety of drawing tools to help your child be creative

TEACHERS LOSE TAX BREAKS FOR CLASS EXPENSES

Teachers around the country often reach into their own pockets to buy school supplies for themselves or their students, either because the school system does not provide the money, or because they feel sorry for youngsters from poor homes who come to school without the things they need. Parent-teacher organizations and private groups often donate supplies, but educators say poor districts still come up short. For young teachers at the lowest end of the pay scale, the loss of the tax credits is particularly hard. Nationwide, teachers spent an average of $458 on school supplies, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, a Maryland-based trade group. The National Education Association and some lawmakers are working to reinstate the federal teacher deduction, which was introduced in 2002 but expired at the end of 2003. Teachers are still entitled to write off business expenses, like other taxpayers, but the amount they spend often does not meet the threshold for taking a deduction. By ditching its tax break, California joined most of the rest of the nation. National teacher organizations do not keep track, but it appears few states now offer teachers any relief at all. (PEN Weekly NewsBlast for September 17, 2004) http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/
09/16/school.supplies.ap/index.html

WORLD WIDE WONDERLAND: LEWIS CARROLL SCRAPBOOK

NewsScan Daily, 9 August 2004 ("Above The Fold")

The Library of Congress has developed an online version of "Alice in Wonderland" author Lewis Carroll's unpublished personal scrapbook, which includes illustrations, newspaper clippings and handwritten annotations.

Since Carroll chose and arranged the items personally, the collection throws light on his interests and collecting habits. The Internet version of the notebook includes timelines of Carroll's life and contemporary events, a portrait gallery of people whose names appear in the scrapbook, and a system for searching the text for a word or a phrase. See
http://international.loc.gov/intldl/carrollhtml/ (AP/7 Aug 2004)
http://apnews.excite.com/article/20040807/D84A7Q6O0.html

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I also use this space to write notes to myself that seem relevant to the course. An example is given below.

In authentic assessment, the people who are being assessed have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and the expectations are "authentic." In theory, this sounds fine. In practice, I have trouble applying it to some of the components of the DAE courses.

    1. For example, what do I want students to know and be able to do after we spend 4 hours of class time on Grant Writing. This one is fairly easy. I want them to know the rudiments of writing a grant proposal. I give them an assignment to write a proposal. I provide them with access to a lot of resources and we practice key ideas during the three class hours.
    2. Now, consider roles of ICT in problem solving. What do I want students to know and be able to do after we spend a significant fraction of the course on this topic? Since I have written a book on this topic, I know a lot. Hmmm… We spend a lot of course time philosophizing about use of calculators and computers in place of some of the traditional content of the curriculum. We talk about data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. We note that in some sense a machine can store knowledge and use the knowledge that it has stored. But, what do I want students to know and be able to do?
    3. The staff development design seems OK. There, we spend quite a bit of time in class and we assign a major, School-Based Team Term Project. Teams do a needs assessment within a school and then do both one on one and small group inservice with the school.
    4. How about Computer-assisted Learning (CAL) and Intelligent CAL (ICAL). This is another "Hmmm…".
    5. The work we do on IT-assisted PBL falls someplace between the "Hmmm" and Authentic Assignments and Assessment. Since we make use of individual and School-Based Team Term Projects, we could more carefully tie these to the IT-Assisted PBL. But, we are not in a position to have our students design and implement IT-Assisted PBL in the schools where they are doing their practicum field experiences.

A school and a school system can each be thought of as a culture. It is difficult to change a culture. In the DAE1 and 2 courses we are interested in integrating an ICT culture into a school that does not have such a culture. The following reference addresses school cultures:

    Peterson. Kent D. Positive or negative? A school's culture is always at work, either helping or hindering adult learning. Here's how to see it, assess it, and change it for the better. Journal of Staff Development, Summer 2002 (Vol. 23, No. 3). Quoting from the article:

    1. School culture is the set of norms, values and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the "persona" of the school. These unwritten expectations build up over time as teachers, administrators, parents, and students work together, solve problems, deal with challenges and, at times, cope with failures. For example, every school has a set of expectations about what can be discussed at staff meetings, what constitutes good teaching techniques, how willing the staff is to change, and the importance of staff development (Deal & Peterson, 1999). Schools also have rituals and ceremonies--communal events to celebrate success, to provide closure during collective transitions, and to recognize people's contributions to the school. School cultures also include symbols and stories that communicate core values, reinforce the mission, and build a shared sense of commitment. Symbols are an outward sign of inward values. Stories are group representations of history and meaning. In positive cultures, these features reinforce learning, commitment, and motivation, and they are consistent with the school's vision.