Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

The Educator’s PLN: A teacher discussed taking part in a webinar that discussed how schools are integrating netbooks. I would have liked to have taken part in this one, but like so many things I didn’t know about it until it was too late. The superintendent of Lake Tahoe spoke about their netbook program that puts a netbook in the hands of every student from 3rd grade to graduation. What was fascinating to me is that the school seems to be very realistic about how they are used. The school made sure that the web was filtered so that the computers couldn’t be used as a distraction. They also made a deal with AT&T to provide the computers with mobile internet to make sure that students would be able to connect to their document servers; nothing is stored on the computer itself.

What blew me away about this was that the school paid only about $40 per laptop; the rest was picked up through grants, textbook funds and lots of clever accounting.

Talking Tech With Robin: Another teacher-blogger like me brought up the need for a quality safe search engine for kids. Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. Google’s best filters only manage to get a little off the top. Using their image search from an educator’s point of view is like walking through an appropriateness minefield. Yahooligans (now Yahoo Kids) used to do a good job, but now mostly markets games and movies to kids and does little for research. Ask Kids also does a good job, but tends to direct kids to their own services rather than reputable sites.

Lo and behold, there is Sweetsearch, a clean, easy-to-use search engine that contains sites that have been approved by actual people involved in education. This could be a godsend if the organization that reviews the sites does a good job of expanding the list. As of now many searches refer to libraries, which is good, but not the first place I would look to learn about a subject such as dinosaurs, at least not on the web. I am just overjoyed that anyone is working on this issue.


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