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A Turtle Teaches Cyberspace Ethics

Worried that computer-savvy kids are growing up with little guidance on how to be good online citizens, the federal government is introducing a friendly new mentor for the Internet generation.

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A study conducted on multimedia projectors is putting a sharper focus on how the teaching tools are being used in classrooms.

The marketing study, conducted by a manufacturer of projectors, found that many school districts are using the technology, but some question if the machines are being used to their full potential.

Media specialists from 500 schools were questioned at the K-12 level, and the study found that 338, or 67 percent, had a least one projector at their school.



The Teachers Academy, Program, $1,900 average per teacher (varies by number participating and amount of customization)

Everyone knows that school districts are not the first places to run to when you want to seek out the latest trends in technology. At best, K-12 is about two years behind the business sector in buying and implementing new technology.

But a funny thing is happening across the country. Some school districts are not only catching up to businesses, but in some cases, passing them.

You've heard the hype, but are online textbooks coming to a computer near you anytime soon?

Find out what these districts have learned

You've seen it.

Students walking through school hallways, nearly slumped over from the immense weight on their backs. It's nearly a crime.

We're talking about students carrying 1,000-page textbooks in backpacks. Many students often get bored when they open such books. Sometimes, textbooks just don't carry their own weight.

Mixing career topics into everyday classroom seals the school-to-work connection. And integration is not as tough as you'd think

"Come to Genitti's. It's the best food in Northville. You'll taste the difference.""The Fraser Inn makes you feel as if you are at home."

These simple ad slogans for businesses in the small Michigan city of Northville appeared in a special section of the local newspaper. The advertising agency of choice? Silver Springs Elementary School, Grade 3.

Superintendent needed. Must transform urban school district plagued by bureaucracy, administrative turnover and low-test scores into unified, focused organization. Top-notch reading skills in everything from high school graduation standards to children's classics needed. Arctic explorers encouraged to apply.

Blocked Web sites, IT staff that exist to hinder staff, and restrictive policies make integrating technology too hard to overcome

I recently spent a week teaching in a wonderful school. The school sits on a gorgeous sprawling campus. The principal is well read and charming. The students were delightful and the teachers generous with their hospitality. Every student has his or her own laptop. I was engaging the children in activities I love, and yet I found the overall experience excruciating. Why? Because of an information technology staff run amok.

When a student in New York's prestigious Stuyvesant High School created an unofficial school Web site with a message board where the 3,000 students could evaluate teachers anonymously, hundreds of messages were posted daily. While some claimed that individuals assigned too much homework or were overly strict, anonymity also prompted the use of expletives and libelous charges such as "skirt chaser" and "pedophile." The site was shuttered after three teachers threatened legal action.

One of the best things that ever happened to my younger brother is that he decided not to go to college. By the time he was a high school senior, he was sick of school. "Academically tracked," he despised the expectations people put on him, and the relentless exhortations that with his abilities he should be doing better. They told him he had doctor or lawyer potential but had to work harder to make it real. But he found schoolwork boring and decided that when he graduated he'd surprise everyone by just saying no to college.

Houston wins the first urban education prize for having clear goals and demonstrating dramatic student achievement

Houston Independent School District has what it takes to succeed despite large volumes of low-income and at-risk students.

Detroit Public Schools: True role models

A few years ago, a high school student from Michigan was expelled for intentionally downloading viruses from the Internet to a home computer and unleashing them in his school's computer lab. The viruses disrupted computer use throughout the district by preventing infected machines from booting, and the school network had to be shut down to check 800 PCs and clean up 130 contaminated systems. At the time, the school was not running anti-virus software because of budget constraints, and the false savings resulted in estimated damages exceeding $60,000.

When Jesse Gonzales was only 6, his father was fatally shot by his godfather over a poker game. Then his mother was taken to a sanitarium with tuberculosis, and he and his 12 siblings were separated into foster homes.

In his teens, when he and his family were reunited, Gonzales says he wanted to drop out of high school. But the support of one high school teacher in particular nurtured his natural talent for leadership and peacemaking.