Apr 11 2007

Newspapers Lose Ground at Web-Savvy Schools

More U.S. teachers are using national and international news sites in the classroom, leaving behind newspapers. Of the 1,262 fifth- through 12th-grade teachers surveyed:

57% use Internet-based news in the classroom with some frequency, compared with 31% for national television news and 28% for daily newspapers. 75% said students least preferred printed newspapers.

Teens in Touch

Everyone knows that teenagers use instant messaging and social networking sites more than adults, but now a new poll of 1,726 teens ages 13-18 shows that when these students need to contact teachers or discuss schoolwork, they do so through the more conventional methods such as landline phone calls and e-mail.

K–12 Online Learning

Of 366 school districts in 44 states, a Sloan Consortium survey released in March reports:

  • 2/3 of all districts offer online courses.
  • 700,000 students were engaged in online courses during the 2005–2006 school year.
  • Districts that offer at least one online course predicted their online enrollment would grow by 19% in the following two years.
  • Districts said they depend on multiple online learning providers, including postsecondary institutions, independent vendors and state virtual schools as well as developing their own content.

Source: The Sloan Consortium; www.docuticker.com

Editor in Chief, leecop@cdw.com

Rehabilitated Behind Bars

A novel rehabilitation strategy provides state prison system and juvenile detention center inmates with computer repair training while helping public schools stretch their technology budgets at the same time.

Modeled on a program that ran for 10 years in California from 1994 to 2004, the Computer Refurbishing Program teaches inmates to fix surplus computers donated by large businesses. After updating operating systems and refurbishing hardware, the recycled machines are donated to local public schools.

Businesses such as Abbott Laboratories, Agilent Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and SanDisk have donated equipment. As much as 40,000 pounds (48 pallets) of electronics can be processed per week by the program, which pays inmates for their time and sets them up to continue in the technology repair industry after they're released. Other states around the country that have adopted this program include Colorado, New York, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

I graduated from MacLaren School for Boys in Woodburn, Ore., in 1977. I was there for one year, the last four months in D2, the special detention center.

I have many memories of finishing my core classes at MacLaren in addition to taking classes at Marion County Juvenile Detention Center.

Eventually, in 1981, I was incarcerated at Monroe State Reformatory in Washington state for five years and two months for armed robbery. Computers arrived in 1982 while I was assisting others getting their GEDs and basic education.

Today, I make more than a six-figure income developing software – a career I've had since 1987. I am the director of drama ministries at my church and recently took a drama team to the Balkans.

That's the past and present – I've never forgotten the help I received while at MacLaren and the detention center. It allowed me at least a small amount of self-esteem that probably kept me alive more than once.

I've often thought of giving back directly to a juvenile institution since I love to teach software programming.

Dwaine Casmey, Puyallup, Wash.