Monday, September 17, 2007

Are you looking for a Free and Easy way to keep up on your “digital news”?

This could be it!

In June, Education Week launched the premiere issue of Digital Directions, a magazine of practical advice for technology leaders. We have an invitation to subscribe to the email version for no cost. I believe this is a strong addition to Education Week’s list of publications including Education Week News and Teacher Magazine.

Take this opportunity to explore the new issue, which is full of trends and practical advice for K-12 technology leaders.

  • Check out the article about how schools are scrambling to meet the new federal requirements for archiving your email and more. I believe this new requirement by the feds is outrageous in it’s expectations for local school districts. And the cost will steal funds from our classrooms. The author Michelle R. Davis explains; “Districts will need to develop policies and software systems for the storage of e-mail, instant messages, word processing documents, PowerPoint presentations, and any type of electronic file on a computer system. The new requirements have caught many districts by surprise, and school officials are now playing catch-up to adopt policies and make sure they have the needed software”.

  • Check out how educators are using wikis as collaborative learning tools in the article Wiki Wisdom: Lessons for Educators
    “Wiki” is an abbreviated version of the full name, wiki-wiki, which translates as “quick” in Hawaiian. Wiki’s have been around since the mid-1990s, Frey says, and were originally used by software engineers to collaborate on writing software and for other technical tasks. A wiki is a Web site that allows those with access the power to edit or add content, track who made changes, and allow revisions to previous versions if needed.” Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that was launched in 2001, is one of the largest and best-known wikis.

  • Find out about school districts that are turning to online training programs in the story by Katie Ash: Digital Training: Learning communities' are emerging to meet the professional-development needs of teachers.

  • Free Subscription of Digital Directions:

Ask Yourself:
Do we need another publication about current news in technology?
Will I read it?
Where do I receive up to date information on technology that I can use to do my daily work?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stereotypes Still Keep Girls Out of Math and Science…

Five common myths persist vis-a-vis girls' preferences and strengths when it comes to scientific subject matter, according to the National Science Foundation's Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program.

In the article, “Stereotypes turn girls off to math, science: About as many girls as boys like the subjects at a young age” published August 27th in Live Science, the author reviewed the research. Sixty-six percent of girls and sixty-eight percent of boys report liking science in early grades. But, the persistence of the stereotypes start to turn girls off, and by eighth grade, boys are twice as interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers as girls are. The female attrition continues throughout high school, college and even the work force.

Below are five myths about girls and science that still endure, according to the National Science Foundation's Research on Gender. A more complete explanation for each myth is given in the article.

Myth 1: From the time they start school, most girls are less interested in science than boys are.

Myth 2: Classroom interventions that work to increase girls' interest in STEM run the risk of turning off the boys.

Myth 3: Science and math teachers are no longer biased toward their male students.

Myth 4: When girls just aren't interested in science, parents can't do much to motivate them.

Myth 5: At the college level, changing the STEM curriculum runs the risk of watering down important "sink or swim" coursework.

The study offers strategies and interventions to help our female students view science and math as a viable career. One of the most effective interventions to help young women choose and sustain a STEM educational path and subsequent STEM career is mentoring, according to the NSF.

"There are helpful strategies for teachers and for families to attract girls to science and keep them engaged in it," says Jolene Kay Jesse, GSE program director. "And, by the way, these strategies are helpful in keeping students of both genders engaged."

The program seeks to broaden the participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education fields by supporting research, research-based innovations and education add-ons that will lead to a larger and more diverse domestic science and engineering workforce.

Ask Yourself:

  • Does our science, technology and math curriculum encourage strong participation from our girls?

  • How do we know? What are we doing proactively?

  • Should we actually ASK the girls about the “vibes” they get from their school or home culture?

Other Interesting Articles:
“A Math Makeover
OMG! Actress and mathematician Danica McKellar wants girls to know that being good at numbers is cool.
By Peg Tyre, Newsweek, Aug. 6, 2007 issue

“Girls Much Quicker than Boys at Timed Tasks”
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor
25 April 2006

“Are Men Smarter?”
Posted: Thursday, September 07, 2006 6:57 PM by Alan Boyle
Cosmic Log posting on MSNBC