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Anaheim Union High School District had 1,200 classrooms to renovate, 200 new ones to build, and nearly $300 million to do it. Building classrooms that would house the evolution of education and technology over the next 30 years proved the hardest part of the district's mandate.
Decisions, decisions. Windows or Macintosh computers? Inkjet or laser printers? DLP or LCD projectors? While it's fairly simple to choose PCs and printers, the projector question can be a stumper. That's because there are advantages and disadvantages to both technologies.
It's blind to race, sex and even acne. And it's a place where popular and unpopular, gifted and at-risk, wealthy and poor take courses together as well as share stories and relate to each other's woes and wonders.
It's distance education, and it's gaining momentum.
It's probably not surprising that a recent Pew report found that eight of 10 students from 10 to 17 use the Internet to help with their schoolwork. What is surprising is that these same students say their teachers do not use online resources in class, or create assignments that exploit the potential of the Web.
Teaching quality is a hot topic these days because research shows that teachers have a greater influence on student academic growth than any other factor, including class size, ethnicity, location or poverty. Several researchers have reached this conclusion, including William Sanders. His value-added assessment studies in Tennessee show that the residual effects of teachers (for better or worse) can be measured at least four years after a student leaves the classroom, regardless of the effectiveness of subsequent teachers.
Located smack-dab between Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving Independent School District has experienced technology acceleration at its finest. Its ambitious technology upgrade plan has put Dell laptops into the hands of every student and sparked renewed interest in learning.
"I see teachers teaching kids, kids teaching other kids, and kids teaching their parents," says Jennifer Anderson, Irving's executive director of technology. "And now I see other school districts coming to Irving to find out how we're doing it."
Hear it in Court
Criticism just keeps coming for No Child Left Behind. The nation's largest professional employee organization, the National Education Association, is joining the malcontents nationwide, including governors, top school leaders and school boards. NEA plans to sue the federal government for allegedly forcing an unfunded mandate down state and local officials' throats, officials say.