Presentations for Saturday, February 3

Morning Keynote:

Next Generation "Virtual Environment" Technologies for Enhanced Learning
Chris Dede

Students and teachers are beginning to use sophisticated interactive media to enhance learning, in school and out. By the end of this decade, classroom teaching will routinely include handheld wireless devices, shared virtual environments in which learners' avatars can interact with digital objects, and broadband videoconferencing with added tools for collaboration across distance. All these capabilities are important for complementing presentational instruction with guided, collaborative inquiry-based learning that centers on real world problems and higher order skills. My research recently has centered on shared virtual environments, like Alice stepping through the Looking Glass, that enable students to have learning experiences impossible to create in classroom settings. These include multi-sensory immersion in virtual worlds for mastering difficult concepts in science, as well as participatory historical experiences in which students' avatars travel back in time to collaboratively aid a town troubled by health and environmental problems. These technology-based learning environments illustrate the types of new educational applications advanced computers and telecommunications can provide to increase students' motivation and learning outcomes.

Morning Discussion Session:

Encouraging Women In Technology
Jo-Ann Castano

Sculptor, website developer and community networking consultant Jo-Ann Castano will share her experiences working with the Women In Technology (WIT) project based at Vermont Technical College. This program aims to demystify technology and encourage girls in middle school and high school to study and consider careers in math, science and technology. Each summer, WIT conducts four technology camps for Vermont girls that include hands-on workshops taught by women scientists, engineers, and technicians. Castano's workshops in web development focus on team building, learning the fundamentals of web publishing and research, writing and editing code, designing a well-structured site, and understanding how to optimize websites to communicate not only with the target market but with the Internet's search engines, robots and spiders.

Morning Discussion Session:

Where's the Media? Models for Creating and Distributing Teacher- and Student-Made Digital Media
Mary Hopper
Ralph Summer

The unavailability of high-quality digital media for use in the curriculum is a key obstacle to realizing the potential that computers could have for enhancing education. This presentation will examine the possibility of improving the situation through systematically extending models for creating and distributing teacher- and student-constructed digital media. Common distribution models such as freeware, shareware, open-source, and commercial will be described along with popular examples of how the models have been successfully implemented. Then the relationships between these models and popular approaches to constructing and distributing teacher- and student-made media will be examined (e.g. webquests, Schrock's Guide, d-libraries, etc.). Finally, discussion will focus on the degree to which either expanding upon existing approaches or implementing entirely new models might result in the availability of more and better-quality digital media for use in classrooms.

Morning Discussion Session:

Facing History on the Web
Howard Lurie

This session will describe current attempts at Facing History and Ourselves to use the new media technologies to engage teachers and students in in-depth analyses of history and adolescence. Through the development and use of an online campus for Facing History teachers, we are building learning communities devoted to sharing best classroom practices and developing successful strategies for integrating new media into the Facing History curriculum. In addition, we will discuss new methods we have developed to identify, evaluate and employ historical content available on the web.

Afternoon Discussion Session:

The Three Ts of Cyberethics in Schools
Jerry Crystal

Half the elementary and middle school students who responded to a poll conducted by Scholastic Inc. said they don't believe hacking is a crime. This disturbing perception by students is only one aspect of dealing with the issue of cyberethics in our schools. In this session, Jerry Crystal shares insights gained from working in a middle school environment with 900+ wireless laptop users. He highlights specific procedures, websites and governmental resources that address what he refers to as the three T's of cyberethics in schools:

  • Thinking - that begins with creating, evaluating, and revising acceptable use policies (AUP) so that they agree with a school's educational philosophies and are imbued with strength and consistent enforcement.
  • Techniques - that create a school climate that encourages ethical technology use at all levels. These proven techniques help to communicate, encourage and enforce ethical behavior.
  • Technology - that used intelligently helps to minimize problems and maximize the goals of an institution's AUP.

Afternoon Discussion Session:

Candid Candidates
Mary Leyden

Mary Leyden will present a media literacy and authoring project completed by sixth-grade students at Bernardston Elementary School entitled Candid Candidates. In this project, students learned how to identify the persuasive elements of presidential campaign advertisements. Their deconstruction and analysis of this year's campaign ads led them to understand the powerful role that media plays in our election process. Following these exercises in deconstruction, each student received a letter from a past president of the United States in which they were congratulated on their appointment to the candidate's campaign advertisement committee. Students then began the historical research and media authoring segments of this project. Working in teams of three, students researched their candidates and the era in which they ran for office. Using this research, each group produced a positive, one-minute campaign advertisement in which they targeted a specific audience, demonstrated their candidate's stand on an important political issue and experimented with the art of persuasion.

Afternoon Discussion Session:

What a Tangled Web We Weave: Media Literacy, Symbol Systems and Learning
Vera Walker

The emergence of communication technology has ushered in an era of new and changing literacies. Research suggests that most American children spend over five hours daily engaged in some form of print and electronic media. Educators must begin to embrace new pedagogical strategies to teach children of the digital generation. In this session, we will focus on how new and traditional media are impacting American culture, particularly in education. This workshop has two parallel purposes. First, it will present a comparison study on the use of electronic, oral and print-based stories for reading comprehension. Second, participants will be introduced to selected methods of using mass media such as intermedial teaching techniques and Internet-lesson plans to bridge existing and future literacy practices. The presentation is given in PowerPoint and a reading packet is available to workshop participants.