Sunday, June 20, 2004

Robotic Nation Evidence: "5.23.2004
Robots grading essay questions
You would think that 'grading essay questions' is something that computers would not be doing anytime soon. Yet they are already doing it now. And students prefer robotic graders to human graders.

Indiana Essays Being Graded by Computers

From the article:

Craig was one of 48,500 Indiana juniors gathering in high schools across the state to take the end-of-year online English essay test. Unlike most essay tests, however, this one is being graded not by a teacher but by a computer.

Craig has already decided he prefers computer grading. 'Teachers, you know, they're human, so they have to stumble around telling you what you need to do,' he said at a practice session. 'A computer can put it in fine print what you did wrong and how to fix it.'


To dispel skepticism over computer scoring, student essays were simultaneously graded by a computer and trained readers during a two-year pilot program. Using artificial intelligence to mimic the grading process of human readers, the computer's automated scoring engine, known as e-rater, generated grades on a six-point scale that were virtually identical to those of the readers.

Teachers -- like doctors and nurses, truck drivers and pilots -- are expensive. So there is huge economic pressure to eliminate them. This new grading technology will advance rapidly, and its combination with computer-based training and robotic teachers will lead to the elimination of several million teaching jobs by 2020 or so.

The fascinating question is this: what will the millions of teachers, truck drivers, nurses and pilots do in this new robotic economy once they lose their jobs?

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Animation Training: "Classic animation training would maximize the value of our investment in technology as it provides a cross-disciplinary curriculum that involves elements of writing, art, math, and science in a team-building environment.

Solid animation training would provide the kids with a way to express themselves that they could have only imagined. Training in classic animation theory and technique brings many benefits. Training kids in the art of storytelling, story boarding, and animation principles will allow them to become better communicators. We've been living in the animated age since the days of Steamboat Willie. In today's world, it's impossible to escape animation as you go about your daily life. And unfortunately, it's become impossible to escape bad animation, as well--just think about how many horrid Power Point presentations you've had to sit through ...

If your local school district offers animation training, I offer a tip of the hat. But if they don't, let me offer some insight on how you can take the topic of animation training into your own hands."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage: "Italy school foils cheats by blocking phone signals
Fri 18 June, 2004 16:47

ROME (Reuters) - Mobile phone-savvy teenagers tempted to cheat their way through exams by sending text messages or scanning pictures of tests could be thwarted by a device that jams signals inside the school walls.

The Enrico Tosi Technical Institute school in northern Italy has found a way to foil the next generation of would-be tricksters with the help of military technology.

'Most schools try and confiscate phones before exams, but this way we can be sure nobody slips through,' said Benedetto Di Rienzo, the head of the school in Busto Arsizio which is testing the devices for the Education Ministry during exams this week.

The box-like units, called C-Guard, were developed by experts from the military and defence industries for Netline Communications Technologies. They jam signals in an 80-metre (262-foot) radius in enclosed spaces.

They could eventually be installed across Italy to prevent cheating during university exams.

Di Rienzo said they have been so successful that the school plans to start using them during regular classes -- a measure likely to ruffle feathers in mobile phone-obsessed Italy where not even the teachers like to be left incommunicado.

'We hope to keep complaints to a minimum by turning the instruments off during lunch breaks,' he said."

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Classroom Resources - free PowerPoint presentations and handouts from Patrick Crispen: "Since 1995, Patrick Crispen has been an invited speaker at numerous technology conferences around the country. The following are just a few of Patrick's most recent PowerPoint presentations which you are free to download and use provided that

1. You not make any money from these presentations, and
2. You give credit where credit is due.

For information on how to unzip and view these presentations, please visit http://netsquirrel.com/classroom/zip.html. To inquire about having Patrick Crispen speak at your conference, school, or business, please send an email to crispen@netsquirrel.com

Behind the Spinning Hourglass: The Deepest, Darkest Secrets of Your PC's Internet Applications (3.39 Mb)

Everyone has a copy of Internet Explorer, Real Player, Adobe Acrobat, and countless other Internet applications. But do you really know how to tame these beasties and make them do EXACTLY what you want them to do? In this one hour workshop we'll take a peek behind the scenes of your favorite Internet applications and show you some of the best kept tips, tricks, and secrets from bookmarklets to the joy of IE's links bar to stealing text from Acrobat files. We'll even show you how to tweak AOL Instant Messenger so that it no longer scares the living heck out of you when you get a new message.

Exciting PC Technology for the Classroom (1.41 Mb)

This quick, one-hour workshop introduces you to some of the most exciting PC-based technology available to educators today (sorry Mac users!). From tools that help you easily create teaching videos to special plug-ins that significantly enhance your PowerPoint presentations, this workshop is for any PC user interested in learning more about some of the new technology that can improve your students' classroom experience and even create positive learning outcomes.

Google 101: Stop Searching and Start FINDING (1.57 Mb)

Sick and tired of looking for information about the Civil War and ending up with 1,247,672,286 hits for stuff like sheet metal fasteners or naked pictures of Ernest Borgnine? This presentation is for you! In this one hour presentation you'll learn the advanced searching tips and techniques that will help you actually FIND what you are looking for on Google."

and more........
PalmInfocenter.com: Rio Grande School District Outfits Students With Handhelds: "The Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District in Texas has more than 2,700 handheld computers in use in second through fifth grades. School administrators have found that the handhelds both motivate students and help them prepare for the state assessment exam.

Now, with the addition of 1,000 Zire 71 and Tungsten E handhelds from palmOne, the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District at Fort Ringgold has more than 2,700 handheld computers in second through fifth grades. And if Superintendent Gonzalez has his way, all 10,000 students in the district will be using handheld computers within the next two years. Plans also are under way to provide Tungsten C wireless handhelds to administrators in the central district office and to bring wireless access technology to all 12 district campuses.

'We now consider handhelds a necessity,' says Gonzalez. 'Students love using them, educators say they can't do without them, and parents are asking when the first graders will get them. You can't beat them in terms of affordability and application.'"

""From what we have seen, handhelds increase motivation, reinforce writing and improve spelling. With thousands of curriculum and productivity applications available for handhelds, my goal is for handhelds to replace the heavy backpacks students carry today."

........On a larger scale, the district has implemented a comprehensive assessment using handhelds from palmOne and Tango assessment software from Liberty Solutions, a Texas-based consulting and system integration firm. The software captures data quickly and creates profiles of each student in the school district. Educators populate the profiles with data collected from daily work; homework; assessments taken using handhelds; assignments; homework; and projects in reading, writing, grammar, math, science and social studies. The information helps schools to prepare students to pass the state test, which ultimately helps the district meet the accountability requirements set by the No Child Left Behind act. "

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