7.25.2006

MyPyramid for Kids

As of July 1, all schools must have a wellness policy in place. MyPyramid is a helpful website designed for kids ages 6-11. Go here to play the MyPyramid Blast-off game and find other materials designed for elementary school-aged children. The following MyPyramid materials are available online:

MyPyramid Blast Off Game
An interactive computer game where kids can reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. “Fuel” tanks for each food group help students keep track of how their choices fit into MyPyramid.

MyPyramid for Kids Poster
A 2-sided poster of MyPyramid for Kids. One side of the poster, for younger children, highlights a simplified MyPyramid for Kids graphic. The other side, for advanced elementary students, features both the MyPyramid for Kids graphic and healthy eating and physical activity messages.

Tips for Families
A 2-sided MyPyramid for Kids mini-poster with the MyPyramid for Kids graphic on one side and eating and physical activity tips on the other side.

A Close Look at MyPyramid for Kids
A step-by-step explanation of the key concepts of the MyPyramid for Kids symbol.

MyPyramid for Kids Coloring Page
Black and white line art of the MyPyramid for Kids symbol for kids to color.

MyPyramid for Kids Worksheet
Worksheet to help kids track how their food choices match up to the recommendations of MyPyramid. Print out this helpful meal tracking worksheet and set a food and activity goal for tomorrow.

7.14.2006

Bandwidth Meter Online

This is an excellent tool for any school/organization that is thinking about adding videoconferencing. While it's not a full evaluation, it is a good test of your connection speeds for IP video.

Use this free, online Bandwidth Performance Meter to see how your connection to the internet is working today. Simply press the "Start Test Now" button and wait for the results.

With the results you can:

Determine if you need a different type of connection to the internet to see, hear, and stream content from the internet,

Pinpoint throughput related issues on your network or home computer,

Support your decision to move to a higher-performance internet connection.

ACENet always recommends at least 384 kps of bandwidth for IP videoconferencing.

7.11.2006

Podcasts Make History Come Alive

In the July 11 issue of eSchool News online, there is an exciting article about podcasting from the nation's top historical content providers.

As the use of iPods and other handheld listening devices becomes more prevalent among students, some forward-thinking historical societies and other educational groups are embracing the technology as a means to reach students and further preserve history. At Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, for instance, historians are using podcasts to provide educators, students, and other potential visitors with information about the park and its historical significance.

Links in the article include:
Colonial Williamsburg podcasts at http://www.history.org/Media/podcasts.cfm

Smithsonian podcasts at http://www.smithsonian.org/podcasts/default.htm

Monticello podcasts at http://www.monticello.org/podcasts/index.html

Has anyone tried working with podcasts in an Allen County classroom?

7.06.2006

It’s not just bandwidth, it’s what you do with it that matters

Wesley Fryer recently posted his thoughts on how access to high-speed Internet can and should change a small community. He said:

Access to high speed Internet access IS critical, but I keep thinking that the question we need to be asking in educational technology circles is, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR BANDWIDTH? Sure people can check stocks, sports scores, log in to check bank balances and other web-enabled administrative tasks– but what about content creation? The article mentions a small town resident who is so frustrated with the speed of dial-up Internet that she doesn’t bother uploading images or sending them to friends and family. I can relate. No doubt, Berry, Kentucky and every other small community around the globe needs to have available access to high speed Internet. But access alone is woefully inadequate, especially if a community is looking to turnaround longstanding trends of population losses to urban centers, as Berry evidently is.

My suggestion for the community would be to adopt a radically different educational curriculum approach. Rather than having students merely consume and regurgitate the traditional curriculum as everyone in their school system has doubtless been attempting to do for decades, adopt an innovative approach which focuses on project-based learning and students regularly creating authentic knowledge products which reflect their learning and understanding. Have the students regularly use technology to create digital stories and collaborative products like wiki pages which are accessible for a global audience. Embrace the idea that to become media literate and technologically powerful, students must WRITE THE WEB and not merely read and access it.


What do you think? Is the Allen County Education Network having an impact on learning? What more could we/should we do to support teaching and learning with this incredible resource?