table stuff

Well, I was scanning YouTube this week and on a lark I searched for cheating in school. There are more than 6000 videos posted with some of them having 20000+ views. Many of them are step by step instructions on how to cheat. I got to thinking about this and decided to devote this week's issue to cheating, copyright and citing properly. If you read the research, you have a whole new attitude in today's students about cheating that basically comes down to "don't get caught." This is troubling change in societal mores in this area and I thought I would share some of the great sites out there.

I hope you all had a restful and joyous holiday.

I know that all of you are heading out to a wonderful holiday. See you again when you return!

I had to skip last week as it was my holiday break for EID, so I'm sorry for the small hiatus. I was in the Czech Republic, Germany and Istanbul (I know, it's a real hardship, but someone has to do it...) and got a chance to talk to high school age students in Prague. The school year is much longer as is the school day and students have a great deal more freedom to move about their campuses and go off to the local mall for lunch if the mood strikes. Students ride public transportation to school and the buildings are quite old compared to US schools. Anyway, enjoy this week's contributions.


Happy Thanksgiving!


CCSD Online Professional Learning Interest Survey

In order to develop the most useful, effective, and convenient professional learning, we are asking CCSD teachers to take a couple of minutes to fill out the CCSD Online Professional Learning Interest Survey. The Technology Integration Support Services team is working to make online learning within CCSD a reality, and we want as much feedback from our teachers as possible. Click here to fill out the survey.

Requesting a Virtual Field Trip / Video Conference

We now have an online form for requesting a virtual field trip or video conference within CCSD. If you find something you like on the video conference opportunities page, just fill out the online request and it will go straight to the Technology Integration Support person who can help you!


We've re-organized our Voices Section...

In order to better promote opportunities to use technology for our teachers, we've split the Voices page into two new pages. In the navigation menu, you will now find Podcasting & More and CCSD Video Conferencing Opportunities. The purpose of the Podcasting & More page is to list news and resources related to podcasting and digital storytelling. The CCSD Video Conferencing Opportunities will be dedicated solely to listing opportunities for teachers in CCSD to participate in video conferences & virtual field trips. As new programs are posted to the CCSD Video Conferencing Opportunities page, they will be sub-divided into thier subject area and grade level focus. We're excited about helping teachers use these technologies, and we hope these new sections will help teachers easily find information about bringing these engaging technologies into the classroom!


Kind of a slow news week and nothing very exciting on the horizon.


A couple of things I really need you to check out this week

Please click on the Events tab and read about this years media festival. This is a great project to get students involved in technology and curriculum blended projects which might get them a trip to nationals. It is a very big deal for our district every year and we would love to see your students get involved.

On a second note, most of you know that I've been pushing virtual worlds and gaming as alternate instructional paths for a couple of years now as I truly feel this is where educational technology's future well actually the present) is headed. Well, it appears the future is now in some cases Go check it out! If you've never dabbled in virtual worlds, now is the time. There are currently over 15,000,000 (yes that is in millions) residents in Second Life as we speak. By the way, if you are looking for me, my name in Second Life is Erika Thursday. I'll put more about this on the web links for teachers page.

ALA celebrates Library Card Sign-up Month in Second Life

Every September, libraries all across the country promote Library Card Sign-up Month as a time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all. This year, the American Library Association brings the celebration to Second Life with promotional “in world” items.

Print and radio-quality public service announcements created for Library Card Sign-up Month featuring Honorary Chair Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are available to download for use “in world” and “out world” at The Campaign for America’s Library kiosk on ALA Island. Visitors to the island can also receive a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar t-shirt. The t-shirt was created from Abdul-Jabbar’s READ poster, which is available from ALA Graphics.
Visitors to the island are encouraged to show their library card pride by taking a snapshot of their avatar holding an “@ your library” library card. Snapshots can be posted on the Constellation of Library Stars gallery. Virtual library cards are available at the ALA Main Stage.
The ALA Island/ALA Main Stage is located at 128, 107, 29. In Second Life, teleport there directly:
To learn more about Second Life, visit ALA’s Second Life wiki at

Library Card Sign-up Month was launched in 1987. Since then, thousands of public and school libraries join each fall in a national effort to ensure every child obtains a library card. Free tools to help libraries promote Library Card Sign-up Month are available at


As most of you have heard by now...

I am leaving the district shortly to take a job overseas in Saudi Arabia. I will continue to put the newsletter out after I leave so I'll still be around virtually if not physically.

In the meantime we have lots of great trainings lined up and I cannot urge you enough to check out the learning about technology section. And please, don't forget to nominate yourself or someone else who's doing great things in technology for the Awesomeness University podcast. It's a great way to share across the district how you use technology to make a difference.

We will be coming to all of your classrooms to do our quarterly technology audit the week of September 15th. You don't have to do a thing, just relax and teach like you always do, we'll be in and out in 5 minutes.

8/15/2008 Welcome Back!!

WOW! The summer flew by, didn't it? We have lots of things to share. Our focus this year will be on getting student voices heard. If you would like to read more about that click on the following link. Let Your Voice Be Heard

You will also notice that we have added another section called Awesomeness University. This will be a section that you can access to see best practices in integrating technology into the classroom by our very own teachers. If you think you have something terrific to share or know someone who does great things in the classroom you can go to this section of the newsletter and fill out the application. This section will also have an RSS feed so you can receive the podcast. Contributing teachers will receive recognition for the a job well done.

We have a new website and training is coming to your building soon so be thinking about what you want YOUR website to look like.

5/16 Last Wiki of the Year

School Website Logos Revealed!

by Joel Frey, Website Migration Project Manager

High school graphic design students from Brad Sanders’s class at Cedar Shoals, school art teachers, parents, and local artist shops all contributed artwork for the school logos. Principals were asked to approve logo choices. Most schools voted for their favorite of three logos. The results are seen below. Thanks to everyone who gave input. NOTE: Image colors will be changed as needed during final design work in June. The new website will be launched no later than July 15, 2008.

See the new logos by clicking this link


Each year the Clarke County School District offers a Staff Computer Buy program that allows staff to purchase a computer and other devices as part of their compensation package via a 12 month payroll deduction. All certified staff are eligible to participate in the program who have a contract with the school district for the 2008-2009 school year. Classified staff are also eligible if they are full-time and have been with the district for 3 consecutive years as of September 1, 2008. Other employees who are not eligible for the payroll deduction may purchase computers on this program by submitting a certified check made out to the Clarke County School District when submitting your enrollment form.

Enrollment forms are due back to the Technology Services office at the HT Edwards building by Friday May 30th. If you have any questions about items offered on the program you may contact Brad Hodges in the Technology Services office, An enrollment form was sent to you in an email on Thursday the 8th in both Word and PDF format and includes information about all the options available in this year’s program. A PowerPoint slide set was also included that outlines all of the systems and options available this year.

4/25 If you are leaving the district this year...
I would just like to share with you some of your obligations regarding CCSD technology equipment. Any equipment which is checked out in your name must be returned to the Technology Services Office located at 440 Dearing Extension in Suite 110. Please do NOT turn in your equipment anywhere other than the Technology Services office. You are responsible for turning in the following:
· Laptop
· Laptop case
· Port replicator or docking station
· 2 power adapters
· Flash drive
· Optical mouse
Other equipment which you may or may not have checked out to you would include a district owned Treo or Blackberry with all of its cables, docking stations and cases.

All equipment is due on the workday BEFORE your last contracted day. For 190-day teachers this will l be May 22nd. If your contract is longer than 190 days, the following rule still applies: turn it in the next to the last day before your final day. For instance, if your last contract day is June 30th, your next to last work day would be Friday June 27th.

Please note, if you are leaving the district in May and have contracted to work summer school, you must still turn in your laptop the day before your last regular contract day. You will have to work out technology usage with your summer school principal on a desktop located in the summer school building. There are NO exceptions to this rule,. Please do not ask us to make an exception.

The Media Festival district wide awards event were last night, Thursday, April 17th, at the Cedar Shoals Auditorium. THe winners are on Montage! Check it out.

Our Website is Moving!
by Joel Frey, Website Migration Project Manager

How the Move Affects You

The content on our websites will be copied from our current provider, ObjectWare, to our new partner, SchoolWorld. This means that we need to identify any content that we want to keep. Just like moving from one house to another, we will be identifying what we want to move with us and what we will not.

What You Will Be Asked to Do

In mid-May, I will send an email to school-level staff members. In the email, you will be asked to declare whether you want the content from your teacher site to be moved to our new location. If you say yes, no other action is required. Your teacher site and all of its content will be moved for you. If you don’t reply, we will interpret your answer as “no.”

Teachers without content, or who choose not to have their content moved will still have an account. The sites will just be empty of content, ready to be used next year. A different survey will be generated for school and district level sites later in May.

New Features for Teachers

The nicest feature that will immediately impact everyone is that the username and password will be the same as your computer and e-mail accounts. In addition, users will have access to using: Blogs, Wikis, RSS Feeds, Categorized Booklist & Link System, Classroom Calendar, Email Center, Form Creator, Grade Book, Homework System, Message Board, Online Poll, Puzzle Maker, Quiz Maker, Rich-Text Editor, Slideshows, Teacher Forum, and Word Search.

Click here for descriptions of each feature


The school district’s website has been hosted by a company named ObjectWare since 2004. It was the district’s first attempt at obtaining a professionally designed and hosted website. ObjectWare provided us the resources to create basic web communications such as posting pictures, text, and limited amounts of documents. As our staff developed their skills, however, it was soon apparent ObjectWare could not provide for the growing needs of our teachers. Additionally, on the technical-side, the website would often “crash” and was consistently reported as being cumbersome to use.

Two years ago we began searching for a replacement. None seems to match our goals of good customer service and ease of use. However, at the National Educators Computing Conference in Atlanta last summer, I was introduced to SchoolWorld. The product was easy to use and their website templates were colorful and inviting. After following the district’s budget calendar and the federal government’s E-Rate timeline, a request for proposals was published. The list of companies who bid for the job was narrowed down, and the decision committee also liked SchoolWorld.

Click here for the Executive Summary presented to the School Board

In an effort to serve you better, the U.S. Department of Education's ED Pubs (Education Publications) web site has undergone an extensive redesign. The web site combines bold colors, strong lines and a greater amount of “white space” to give it an eye-catching, modern look. The shopping process has been improved by adopting the latest in eCommerce "shopping carts," making it easier to order publications and provide concise, accurate shipping information. The capabilities of "your account" have been extended to realize a more user-friendly environment tailored to your preferences. Please visit us at to see for yourself. If you had previously registered on the site, no need to re-register, your user name and password will work and your order history is still available!
New features include:
1. News—this section highlights one or two "newsworthy" items, such as information about new pub releases, announcements by Secretary Spellings, etc. The items will have relevancy to publications and the ability to quickly find all publications related to a "news" item. Check back often because the information will be updated regularly.
2. Featured Items—this section highlights 3-6 publications that are orderable directly from the home page. Each item displays a thumbnail image and title. By clicking the title you can view the publication’s detailed information page. Featured items will be updated every 1-2 weeks.
3. Hot Topics—this section lists items in response to current events, key ED initiatives, and other timely information. By clicking on a hot topic the system will run a search and find all publications that relate to the topic.
4. Find Publications By—the links to audience, education level, language, publication type, and subject allow you to quickly find publications related to the groupings. For example, a principal could click on audience and then select "principals" to find all publications that are intended for him/her; a teacher searching for posters could click on publication type and then select "posters" from the list of terms.
5. Students/Parents/Teachers/Administrators—these menu items listed near the top of the page allow you to quickly find publications that are intended for you. In order to make the search results more manageable you can further refine your group by education level (e.g., elementary, middle, high, college/university, etc.) and subject (e.g., English, math, science, and social studies).
6. Español—this section links to publications that are written in Spanish and a Spanish version of the FAQs.
7. Breadcrumbs—this tool aids you in navigating the site. It is listed below the header and before the main content. You can click on any item in the breadcrumb trail and return to that page.
8. Zoom—this allows you to quickly view a larger publication cover image.
9. Quantity—the ability to add the desired number of copies from any page. The system will validate the quantity entered and let you know if the number is above the maximum that is allowed.
Over the next several months, we will continue to fine tune the site and we encourage you to check back frequently to see our progress, check out the latest news items, and browse the new arrivals.


external image shim.gif

MyLearningPlan System Alert
General Info

New Home Page Coming March 17, 2008

In an effort to keep current with emerging trends in the professional development management marketplace, we are excited to announce that MyLearningPlan is in the process of refreshing the graphics, branding and color scheme of the website. The first phase of this transition will start on March 17, 2008, when a new homepage will be launched.

As you can see from the screen shots below, the general look and feel of the graphics will remain consistent, however, the login box on the home page will be shifted to the left side of the screen. The changes to the homepage will not impact any of the internal functions or screen layouts.

During this summer, additional refinements will be made to the graphics and color scheme on the inside pages of the site. Once those are finalized, we will make a preview site available.

We hope that you welcome the new enhancements. As always, we thank you for your continued support and use of MyLearningPlan.


The MyLearningPlan home page currently looks like:

external image Old_MLP_HomePageSmall.gif
**Click screen shot for larger view**

Starting on March 17, 2008, the home page will look like:

external image New_MLP_HomePageSmall.gif
**Click screen shot for larger view**

3/7 We have a great resource here that is underutilized.

Have questions about how to use Maps101 or what we have to offer?
Now you can download our User Guide in an easy to print PDF format!

Click Here to Download the User's Guide
  1. Quick Start
    1. Access Codes
    2. Introduction
  2. About Maps101
  3. Integrating Maps101 Into School Use
    1. Did You Know?
    2. Online Tools
  4. Content & Features Overview
    1. Map Collections
    2. Reference Atlas
    3. Interactive Maps
    4. Current Events
    5. K-3 Maps
    6. Classroom Resources
    7. Learn & Play
    8. NYSTROM Resources
  5. Home Page Navigation
    1. Demo Area
    2. Subscriber Area
  6. **Troubleshooting & Help**
    1. How Do I Access Maps101
    2. System Requirements?
    3. How Do I Use the Maps?
    4. What are PDF & GIF Files?
    5. How Do I Print the PDFs?
    6. What if I Can't Print Out the PDFs?
    7. Trouble with Acrobat Reader?
    8. How Often are the Maps Updated?
  7. Using Maps101 in the Classroom


Two SMART Board Courses Will Be Offered in May

SMART Board Updater Course
SMART Technologies is launching a new version of Notebook, its workhorse software, before summer. The new version will contain at least 30 new features. In this 10-hr (1-PLU) class participants who are eager to advance their knowledge of what the SMART Board can do in their classrooms or presentations will learn all about the new software and SMART’s audience response system: Senteo. The class will be held over two days to get you in and out of class to enjoy your summer. All interested CCSD personnel are welcome to take this course. Participants should have either completed a previous SMART Board course or have a thorough understanding of the current version of SMART Notebook. If you are new to the SMART Board, we recommend enrolling in SMART Board Camp.
Dates: May 27-28, 2008
Times: 8:00AM – 1:30PM
Location: TBA
Instructors: Chad DeWolf, James Griffin, Ginger Jewell, & Steve Piazza

SMART Board Camp
Teachers, administrators, counselors and parapros will learn to make the SMART Board an exciting tool for engaging their students in the classroom or their colleagues at meetings in SMART Board Camp. The 13-hour (1-PLU) course will provide participants with many opportunities to become comfortable with the Board and hone their skills in a relaxed, supportive environment that we equate with summer camp. Don’t miss this opportunity to master a dynamic tool for presentations and instruction before the 2008-2009 school year begins!
Dates: May 27-29, 2008
Times: 8:00AM – 12:20PM
Location: TBA
Instructors: Beth Crawford, James Griffin, Richard Shoemaker, & Kevin Smith

Topics to be covered:
-Completing SMART Board setup and laptop software upgrades
-Mastering LCD projector system and remote tools
-Learning how all Board tools work
-Exploring visual design principles for Board presentations
-Building personal skills with SMART tools
-Developing SMART lesson ideas
-Searching and using the Gallery for backgrounds, graphics, & activities
-Importing images and text from web into Notebook and personal Gallery
-Creating and organizing slides in SMART Notebook software
-Honing personal abilities with Notebook tools using 4 SMART Boards
-Mining the resource site for standards-aligned lessons
-Downloading & using video in Notebook presentations
-Attaching web links, documents, and video to Notebook lessons
-Creating curriculum lessons in Notebook
-Learning to use LinQ software to connect classroom computers to Board
-Sharing & improving first lesson design based on peer evaluations and instructor critiques
-Learning to create activities and tests in Senteo, the interactive response system
-Presenting lessons and lesson ideas using LinQ and Senteo
-Exploring classroom management techniques when using the SMART Board
-Posting SMART Board lessons to district-wide digital resource library


Support Literacy Efforts in Athens!

Please consider donating $1 (at least) to the Athens-Clarke Literacy Council by supporting the CCSD Technology Services Team in the Athens-Clarke Literacy Council Spelling Bee.

Please send $1.00 (at least, though more is welcome) through CCSD In-House Mail to either Steve Piazza, Kevin Smith, or Beth Crawford at Technology Services. Or you may hand it
to them if you see them.

Here is more information:

Our team, TISS TISS (a play on our service area name Technology Integration Support Services) will be competing in the third annual Spirited Spell-off Spectacle, a fund-raiser for the Athens-Clarke Literacy Council! The bee will be held on Saturday, March 1, at 4:00 p.m. in the Athens Tech auditorium.

We are helping to raise money for a great cause. In Athens, approximately 12,000 adults (more than one tenth of the population) have reading and computation skills that fall at or below the third-grade level. As Spectaclespellers, our participation will contribute to the raising of much-needed funds for such local literacy providers as the Athens Technical College Adult Learning Center, Catholic Charities, the Presbyterian Hispanic Ministry Team, and Right Start. Each day the teachers and tutors in these programs enable adults to increase their basic reading and math skills, learn English as a second language, or obtain a GED. With increasing financial pressures on many of these programs, grants from the Literacy Council will be even more important to assist with the purchase of books, classroom supplies, and learning materials. The Athens-Clarke Literacy Council also provides training for new and volunteer teachers and tutors in these extremely important programs.

If you’d also like to attend the Spelling Bee as a member of the audience, you may. Tickets are only $5 and are available at the door—there will be some great raffle prizes, as well as a catered reception following the bee, so this is definitely one of the best deals in town!

Thank you.


Education, technology, and the 2008 campaign
Primary Topic Channel: Federal Policy
external image campaign%202008.jpg
University of Maryland students cheer for Barack Obama at a recent campaign rally.
The Feb. 12 primaries in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia further advanced the notion that the 2008 presidential campaign now boils down to three legitimate candidates.

With sweeps of all three of the so-called Potomac primaries, Arizona Sen. John McCain solidified his hold on the Republican nomination. And though Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois also swept all three contests, winning by wide margins over his rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the two remain in a virtual dead heat in the race for delegates as the primary season rolls on.
As the campaign picture continues to become clearer, it’s time to take a closer look at the positions of all three candidates on issues relating to education and technology.
All three candidates believe the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) needs reform—but Clinton and Obama would go much farther than McCain in proposing changes to the law.
Both Clinton and Obama call for more funding to make NCLB work, but Clinton also addresses what she considers a fundamental problem with the law’s structure: She believes school accountability should be based on the year-to-year performance of students, rather than on how schools with disparate local funds stack up against each other.
Instead of asking low-income schools to catch up to wealthier institutions, she says, the program should deliver rewards and sanctions based on individual school improvement.
Obama would use federal resources to help states write new assessments that accurately measure students’ knowledge, including 21st-century skills such as critical thinking. He also favors making science education a higher priority in schools, and he wants to implement a comprehensive tracking and feedback system to measure the performance of both students and teachers from year to year.
McCain, meanwhile, wants to add greater flexibility under NCLB for children with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. But he stops short of advocating wholesale changes to the law and its accountability measures.
Of the three candidates, Obama has been the most vocal about the need for schools to change to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. One big project that Obama wants to undertake is the creation of twenty “innovation school districts” throughout the country.
Obama’s Innovation Districts (IDs) plan would let districts apply for grants to implement education reforms, and twenty districts across the country would receive the grants. The IDs bill would appropriate $1.5 billion yearly for these districts, or about $75 million per district. These districts then would be viewed as models for educational innovation in other districts.
McCain, meanwhile, wants to add greater flexibility under NCLB for children with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. But he stops short of advocating wholesale changes to the law and its accountability measures.
Of the three candidates, Obama has been the most vocal about the need for schools to change to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. One big project that Obama wants to undertake is the creation of twenty “innovation school districts” throughout the country.
Obama’s Innovation Districts (IDs) plan would let districts apply for grants to implement education reforms, and twenty districts across the country would receive the grants. The IDs bill would appropriate $1.5 billion yearly for these districts, or about $75 million per district. These districts then would be viewed as models for educational innovation in other districts.

Obama said his plan would support and try to replicate successful initiatives already occurring on a local level, and these IDs would be led by school boards, principals, and teachers who are ready to forget business-as-usual and try a new path forward. These IDs would receive substantial new resources, but in return, they would be required to try systemic new reforms and would be held responsible for the results.
“Today, a child in Chicago is not only competing for jobs with one in Boston, but thousands more in Bangalore and Beijing who are being educated longer and better than ever before,” said Obama during a speech at an education forum in Chicago. “…We know that good schools will require both the structural reform and the resources necessary to prepare our kids for the future.”
This IDs plan is based on the Innovation District bill that Obama introduced in the Senate in both 2006 and 2007, which remains in committee.
Though Obama has favored charter schools, which he feels support change and progress, both he and Clinton strongly oppose private-school vouchers, believing they take away needed resources from public schools. McCain, however, has supported vouchers and school-choice initiatives, believing that public support for a child’s education should follow that child into the school the parent chooses.
All three candidates seem to realize the importance of rewarding teachers for their hard work. Obama supports paying teachers more for extra work and for those who raise student achievement, McCain has proposed $1 billion in tax breaks for teachers rated excellent by their states, and Clinton wants to attract and support outstanding teachers by offering better pay.
Recognizing that a child’s chances for success in school depend largely on the start he or she gets at home, both Clinton and Obama are pushing heavily for early childhood education, and both are promoting programs to help parents teach and guide their children. McCain hasn’t addressed early childhood education in his campaign.
Clinton wants to create a $10 billion Early Head Start program to expand pre-kindergarten education nationwide, with the goal of giving every four-year-old an opportunity to attend preschool. She also aims to give new parents support and training to promote healthy development of their children.
“I see an America where children are prepared before they go to school,” Clinton said on Feb. 12, speaking in El Paso, Texas.

Obama, meanwhile, has proposed a “Zero to Five” plan, which would provide support to young children and their parents. According to Obama, what makes his plan unique is the emphasis it places on early care and education for infants.
Technology-related issues

All three candidates say they support the need for fast and ubiquitous broadband access across the country.

Clinton wants tax incentives, under a “Connect America” plan, to encourage broadband providers to deploy services in underserved areas. She also has called for federal support of state and local broadband programs, including municipal broadband projects.
Obama takes a position similar to Clinton's, saying he would seek to create new programs that would help roll out broadband service to more of the United States.
McCain has been less specific about how he would address the issue. But in 2005, McCain authorized legislation that would prohibit states from outlawing municipal broadband projects. At the time, he said he was concerned that the U.S. had fallen behind more than a dozen other countries on broadband adoption.
As for “net neutrality,” the idea that internet service providers should treat all traffic equally for all users, McCain has been noncommittal—but he has supported efforts to make an internet tax moratorium permanent, recently calling the internet “likely the most popular invention since the light bulb.”
Both Obama and Clinton have supported the concept of net neutrality. In a November technology policy paper, Obama stated: “Users must be free to access content, to use applications, and to attach personal devices,” while Clinton has cosponsored Senate legislation to “require all broadband providers to treat all internet traffic equally.”
Both Democrats also have pledged support for more innovative research. Obama has pledged to make the research-and-development tax credit permanent, and he has called for patent reform—primarily by giving the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office more resources to improve the quality of patents.
Clinton has an even more detailed plan. She champions an “innovation agenda” as one of her top issues, and she wants to increase the basic research budgets at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Department of Defense by 50 percent over the next ten years.
Clinton also would require that federal research agencies set aside at least 18 percent of their research budgets for discretionary funding of high-risk research, and she would increase funding for research on internet and IT-based tools, including supercomputing and simulation software.
In addition, Clinton wants to study the impact of electronic media on children’s cognitive, social, and physical development.
Clinton wants to commission this study to help protect children against violence and sexual content in the media—especially the internet and video games. In 2005, she tried to pass the Family Entertainment Protection Act, which aimed to impose fines on those who would sell games rated “Mature” or “Adult Only” to minors, as well as ensure that consumers have a mechanism to file complaints with the FTC, but the bill never became law.
In a speech Clinton gave in March 2005, she said: “Media in kids’ lives is a moving target, and we need better, more current research to study the new interactive, digital, and wireless media dominating our kids’ lives. While we know a great deal about traditional media platforms and kids, we know very little about multi-user domains, P2P, and wireless technologies. … The media is the message; the process has an impact.”
Clinton would use the results of the study’s findings—which, she believes, based on findings of a previous Kaiser Family Foundation study, would show how media violence contributes to anxiety, desensitization, and increased aggression among children—to create one uniform ratings system that would be shown throughout every program or at least after every commercial break, so that parents can jump into a program at any point and learn what’s in it and whether it’s appropriate for their children to watch.
Clinton also hopes this research will prompt the television industry to air more public service announcements about the effect of TV on children and the need for parents to help their children use media in the best way possible. She hopes food advertisers will be more responsible about the effect they are having on future generations and the effect they are going to be having on increasing health care costs.
Finally, Clinton hopes such research will help reveal what works best to help parents monitor what their children access on the web.
Obama’s response to the effects of the media and technology on children could be described as more hands-off. In an interview with Common Sense Media, Obama said he would prefer the industry to take more personal responsibility before any government action is taken.
“I would call upon the video game industry to give parents better information about programs and games by improving the voluntary rating system we currently have. Broadcasters and video game producers should take it upon themselves to improve the system … but if the industry fails to act, then my administration would,” he said.
Obama agreed in part with Clinton’s research initiative, saying, “We need to understand the impact of these new media better. That’s why I supported federal funding to study the impact of video games on children’s cognitive ability.”

McCain has not weighed in on the impact of the new media on children during the current campaign. In 2000, however, McCain was a principal sponsor of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). That law makes schools or libraries ineligible for federal e-Rate funding unless they certify to the Federal Communications Commission that they (1) have chosen to use a technology that filters or blocks access to material that is obscene or pornographic and (2) are enforcing its use when minors use the computers.

"Parents can protect their children from internet smut at home but have no control over the computers at school," McCain said at the time. "This legislation allows local communities to decide what technology they want to use and what to filter out, so that our children's minds aren't polluted."

President Bill Clinton signed the CIPA legislation in Dec. 2000.

Why Do It?
Books, articles, and blogs are focused on Web 2.0 these days. Even our recent Questions of the Week and my Editor's Notes have been about these tools. Yes, they're fascinating - and free. So we talk about which tools to use and how to use them. Yet the bigger issue is why use them.
Ryan Bretag's **The Missing W** blog, shifts the conversation to why. He says, "As more and more classrooms look to the use of the latest web 2.0 technologies, focusing on the why in the planning process is a sign of best practice and should be the norm for educators, facilitators, and administrators. However, it seems that the other Ws, particularly the what, and how are given the most focus or at least the most publicity."
It's always good to step back from what we're doing and ask ourselves why we’re doing it (also known as reflective practice). Thinking about why we do something is indeed the road to best practice.
Ryan asks you to tell your stories with the Missing W included. You can post them in the Comments area of his blog or **write an article** about the what-how-why and results for TechLEARNING's Educator's eZine.

January 11, 2008
The Online Teacher Recertification Technology Test is Back!!!
CCSD Technology Services is proud to announce that the Computer Skill Competency assessment (previously known as AssessOnline) is now available to all Clarke County certified staff. Officially known as the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Computer Skill Competency assessment (test code 178), this internet-based test is designed for those teachers who have not yet fulfilled the state-legislated technology requirement for all educators.

Please note the following:
  • Testing sessions are offered on these dates:
    • Thursday, January 24 (Individual scores for this testing will not be posted until after Feb. 28, 2008.)
    • Thursday, February 7 (Individual scores for this testing will not be posted until after Feb. 28, 2008.)
    • Monday, February 25 (Individual scores for this testing will not be posted until after Feb. 28, 2008.)
    • Monday, March 31
    • Monday, April 28
    • Monday, May 5
  • All test sessions will be held at the H.T. Edwards Building in Room 217.
  • The fee for the assessment is $35.00, payable online at the time of the test.
  • You will have up to two hours to complete the test. Each test session will begin at 4:00 on the scheduled day.

To register for one of the testing sessions, please visit and look for the course entitled Computer Skill Competency Assessment (GACE) for Re-certification (followed by the respective test date).

For additional information, including test prep materials, go to GACE Test Prep
or please contact Richard Shoemaker, or Steve Piazza .

Teaching with Technology

In the spirit of giving, this is a great story.
John Breen, a computer programmer, developed the Internet game to teach vocabulary and help fight hunger. is quickly becoming all the rage for school children as well as immigrants learning English.
Breen said the idea came to him one day in his kitchen in Indiana. He was sitting with his two teenage sons, preparing the older for the SAT.
"The younger one made a mockery of the situation. He kept saying, 'he doesn't know this word, he doesn't know that word,'" Breen said. "So I decided to do something on the computer to help my son learn vocabulary words."
What Breen came up with was a word game that he thought others might like to play on the Internet. He was already operating the Web site to inform people about hunger. So, he merged the two, and was born.
Here's how it works: Contestants are offered four definitions for a word; by clicking on the right definition, a donation of 20 grains of rice is made to the U.N. World Food Programme. The U.N. distributes the rice worldwide.
English teacher Michael Hughes puts the Web site up on a large interactive screen and uses the game to warm up his classes at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C.
Hughes' class raised 280 grains of Rice during a short session.
While that's hardly enough for a daily ration for a starving child abroad, it still adds up, said World Food Programme spokeswoman Jennifer Parmelee.
" is up to more than 8.2 billion grains of rice, which is one heck of a lot of rice and more than enough to feed 325,000 people for the day," Parmelee said.
The Web site earns money from advertising and gives cash to the Word Food Programme. Some $100,000 has already gone to buy rice to feed survivors of a recent cyclone in Bangladesh.

Parmelee said the Web site offers a greater gift – the gift of awareness about world hunger. In just two months, has driven the most Internet traffic to the World Food Programme site.

"We are all kind of dazzled by the power of a great idea — an idea that seemed to have come completely out of left field," she said.

Breen said he has hired a dictionary company to put some more words in the game, which adjusts as you are playing to different levels from zero to 50.

"I myself can't get much above level 45, and it is rare to get above level 48. But there are some people who cruise right up to level 50. So for them we are going to add some super, really ultra, tough words," Breen said.

And, he said, his son's vocabulary "has improved markedly."

Breen said e-mails are coming in from around the world from people trying to learn English to teachers and college students. He wants them to take away something more than just a few new words

tree.jpgHave a fabulous holiday break! See you all next year...

Teacher Tube is a great way to find all kinds of useful tips for the classroom. This video is a feed from the site and will change on a regular basis.

Please remember to use this tool. We are truly trying to give teachers a place to share great ideas.
Digital Tools Blog