Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: One More Election Resource

Here is one more election resource. The BBC has an interactive map with information about each state and its role in the primary and caucus season. The BBC also offers a number of other resources linked to the interactive map including videos and audio slide shows of the primaries in pictures.

Applications for Educators
The BBC is a good resource to use in the classroom to show students a point of view different than what they will find on US-based websites.

Free Technology For Teachers: Laptop Use Is Improving Writing Scores

On the Maine Learns website there is a very thought provoking story about the relationship between student laptop use and writing scores. The study from the University of Southern Maine's Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation reports that writing scores on the MEA improved by an average of 3.44 points in the five years since middle school students began having 24 hour a day access to laptop computers. What is more telling than the average improvement is the shift to the right in normalized scores over the same period of time. (See the chart to the left).

Obviously there is more than one possible explanation for the improvement in writing scores none-the-less this study does provide proof of one benefit of providing all middle school students with laptops. Of course simply giving laptops to students does not automatically improve writing scores. The effort at the district and state level in Maine to help teachers develop methods for teaching with technology also contributes to the improvement in writing scores. The responses to the third question (see table 2) in the teacher survey is a very telling factor statistic in understanding part of explanation for improvement in student achievement. The responses to the third question indicate that teachers' perceptions are that students are more likely to revise their work when it is completed on a laptop. The teachers' responses coincide with the students' perceptions (table 1) that they are more likely to revise their work when it is completed on a laptop.

What is happening where you teach? Do your students have 24 hour access to computers? Does the USM study match with your experience?

Click here to download the full study. (It's about 20 pages).

Free Technology For Teachers: Super Tuesday- A Super Step on the Path to the Presidency

CNN has an Elections 101 section that succinctly explains the path to the White House for the next president. Like NPR, CNN has an election map with dates. The CNN map (see left) is not as interactive as the NPR map, but what CNN does have is the complete collection of CNN sponsored debates available for free on video.

Applications For Educators
The Election 101 page is good reference from which students can gain a basic understanding of the election process. The video section is a good resource for showing students how a debate actually works as well as exposing students to the positions of the various candidates. All of the videos are available for download in Quick Time or Windows Media formats.

Free Technology For Teachers: Why Super Tuesday is Important- NPR Report

It's Super Tuesday! Super Tuesday is arguably the most important day in the election process. National Public Radio ( has an interactive election map to accompany its podcast coverage of Super Tuesday. Click on the map to try it out. To listen to a podcast from NPR about Super Tuesday click here.

Application for Educators
The NPR interactive map is a good teaching tool and resource for students. The NPR interactive map has a state by state and in some cases county by county break down of the primaries and caucuses. The map includes a calendar of events for each state. The map also has a time line of events.

Free Technology For Teachers: Super Tuesday- Who the "techies" are favoring is an industry leading technology blog. Tech Crunch has endorsed two candidates, one from each party based on each candidates technology use and policies. It is interesting to see how much of a role the internet and technology are playing in this election. Web 2.0 applications are influencing the elections, both Facebook and Myspace have multiple pages and applications related to the Presidential Campaign. Even though most high school students won't be able to vote in the fall, it is important to see how much of a role the internet will play in the way they form opinions in the future. (I am not publicly endorsing any candidate at this time, I just find it important to note the role of technology in the formation of public opinion).

Watch Michael Arrington's, the president of Tech Crunch, appearance on Fox and Friends in the video below. (I am not publicly endorsing any candidate at this time, I just find it important to note the role of technology in the formation of public opinion).