Friday, November 30, 2007


Friday, November 30, 2007

High-tech schools pilot program puts kids in charge

Sunday, November 25th 2007, 4:00 AM
Barnuevo For News

Alyssa Deonarian uses a laptop to participate in a class assignment.

A Giant outline of the human body is projected onto a 72-inch screen inside Middle School 202, next to a jumble of organs and bones that belong inside it.

One by one, eighth-graders in the Queens classroom walk to the special screen. The kids - a mix of new English speakers and general and special-ed students - touch a body part and drag it toward the empty outline.

The traditional skeleton propped up in the classroom looks downright antiquated as it stands next to the interactive teaching tool called a "SMARTboard."

"It's awesome," said 15-year-old Joseph Guerra, who correctly placed the esophagus. Nodding toward his teacher, he added, "You can learn a lot more than if they're just talking."

The Ozone Park middle school is one of 22 across the city participating in a pilot program designed to create and test-drive the 21st century classroom.

About $13.4 million in capital funds, along with federal grants, have been invested into the so-called iTeach-iLearn schools over the past two years.

The pilot program outfits classrooms in the 22 schools with devices including SMARTboards, laptops, wireless Internet access and special lockers to keep all the technology safe when the school is closed.

Teachers receive training so they feel comfortable with the new technology, officials said, and each school has a specialist so technical difficulties don't derail lessons for days on end.

"It's teachers giving students the opportunity to take control of their learning," said Troy Fischer, director of the city's Office of Instructional Technology, which will evaluate the program at the end of the school year. "Students begin to bring more to the classes."

The pilot comes as other school districts across the nation debate the effectiveness of using similar technology in the classroom. Some schools that rushed to equip kids with laptops have since backed off, citing mounting costs and questionable results.

A study released by the federal Department of Education this year also showed that educational computer software made no significant difference in student achievement.

But teachers at MS 202 are sold on the new technology.

In her second-floor classroom, sixth-grade teacher Dana Matorella uses the newest gadgets to teach kids about ancient Egypt.

The students use laptops to research hieroglyphics, filling in their answers on work sheets. Then Matorella gives them a pop quiz - but instead of pencils, they pull out remote controls.

A question about hieroglyphics is projected onto the SMARTboard, and the kids enter their answers using the remotes, similar to how audiences are polled on TV game shows.

Instantly, Matorella can see that all but one child answered correctly - and only she knows who got it wrong. "It's anonymous and they feel free," she said. "They love when I say, 'Get out the remotes.'"

Principal William Moore was an early advocate of technology in the classroom, teaching astronomy courses online when he worked as a professor at the New School in Manhattan.

When he came to MS 202 several years ago, he put WiFi Internet access in the school and bought laptops for every floor. But he never imagined the changes he's seeing now. "We're lightyears ahead of what I ever thought I'd have here," Moore said. "It totally transforms the school."

In Joseph Birgeles' seventh-grade social studies class, students played an interactive game about the old Jamestown colony called "17th Century Survivor."

Afterward, they were asked to justify their decisions on a work sheet.
"They have lunch right now," Moore said, "and they don't want to leave."

Students at MS 202 said they preferred their high-tech classrooms to the ones in their former elementary schools - and particularly like the SMARTboards more than blackboards.

"It's easier to see and learn," said Kimara Davis, 12, who also doesn't miss using chalk. "It doesn't mess up your hands."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: On Two Fronts (U of M-Dearborn and the City of Detroit)

U-M might tap Detroit as a living classroom

November 29, 2007



Instead of studying abroad in England, Taiwan or Chile next year, University of Michigan students might spend a semester living, learning and working in downtown Detroit.

The program, expected to begin in fall 2008, would have students hold internships with community organizations, take classes taught by U-M professors at the school's Detroit Center and participate in community service and events.

Organizers of the program, who believe it would be the first of such a scope in Detroit, say it would immerse students in the life and culture of Detroit while fostering relationships between community organizations and the university.

The program would allow students to experience Detroit with city residents and leaders, not simply read about the city while in classrooms.

"It was conceived and is being created with the idea of being mutually beneficial to the city and the university," faculty adviser Stephen Ward said last month.

Local planners are creating the model for this in-depth type of service, but it draws from similar programs elsewhere in the country. Louisiana State University routinely sends students and faculty to rebuild hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, and the University of California, Los Angeles offers students service learning opportunities and internships in Los Angeles.

But the U-M program would be unique because students would forgo the societal comfort of a college campus and go home blocks, not miles, from where they work.

A budget has not been set, and the plan is working its way through channels to formalize it as a sustainable program, but U-M Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Lester Monts said the program is "a sure thing."

Organizers say they hope the program will open channels between the university and the Detroit community to help further the revitalization of downtown.

The program also has been pitched as a way to promote diversity at U-M after the passage of Proposal 2, the statewide affirmative action ban that bars the use of race and gender in admissions and financial aid decisions by public universities.

Ward said the program is a manifestation of a larger movement in the university and the nation to stop looking at inner cities as laboratories for study and to begin to partner with citizens and organizations for social change.

Alumna Rachael Tanner, 21, of Kalamazoo, a former student in Ward's Urban and Community Studies class, proposed the idea of a Semester in Detroit as a final class project. Fellow students formed a planning committee in January. Professors and administrative staff helped put the program into motion.

"We have a semester in Washington, D.C. Why not have a semester in Detroit?" Tanner asked. "The culture is so rich, but students spend so little time there."

The program would support 20 to 30 students and cost about the same as a semester at the Ann Arbor campus. Students would take 15 to 18 liberal arts credit hours studying subjects including the development of urban areas and grassroots responses to urban challenges.

Nick Tobier, a professor in the School of Art and Design who takes university students into Detroit elementary classes, plans to teach in the program.

Tobier said he thinks of Detroit as among the "most productive cultural ecosystems" and wants to bring more students into that atmosphere.

Students would spend the bulk of their time earning class credits at internships with community organizations. Guided by faculty, these students would be expected to secure the internships themselves. In preparation, a student planning committee is working with the university's Ginsberg Center to contact community groups that might be willing to host internships.

Tim Duperron, interim chief executive officer of Focus: HOPE, said the university's relationship with his organization has always been positive, and he would love to have Semester in Detroit's students intern there.

"They certainly have the right mind-set and the right spirit," he said. "I'm encouraged by this, because it will be done well, not superficially."

Classes would take place at and internships would be coordinated through the university's Detroit Center at Woodward Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The center serves as a university base in the city to conduct research and meet with community partners.

Organizers expect to buy a home near Wayne State University, where students in the program would live.

Western Michigan University has programs sending students to study internships in major U.S. cities, and Michigan State University sends students to Washington, D.C., in a program with internships and class time. None has programs of this scope in Detroit.

"That's something we're going to strongly consider in the future," said Karen Reiff, director of experiential learning at MSU.

Some see this as a way to bridge two disparate communities.

"Having a program would make a big statement that the university is committed to investing in the city," said senior Megan Hanner, 21, of Whitehall. "I have no doubt that the program would teach students the appropriate way to be invested in a city they're not from."

If he weren't graduating, senior Tom Szczesny, 20, of Bloomfield Township said he would want to spend a semester in Detroit.

"It makes a lot of sense because we're connected geographically, but there's a big disconnect between the university and Detroit," he said. "If you have something like Semester in Detroit, it brings a new awareness of the city."

Monday, November 26, 2007

21st Century Digital Learning Environments


Raising the Bar: What a difference a decade of "digital discourse" makes.

Computers transform classrooms

Gadgets get students excited to learn

November 26, 2007



The kids grab small voting devices on their desks, then punch in their answer to a question posed on the screen above them: "¿Cual es verde? "

In an instant, teacher Nancy Conn pushes a button and up pops a chart showing the correct answer -- the green square -- among six squares of varying colors.

All of this is happening on a large interactive white board -- a cross between a blackboard, computer screen and projector -- that Conn uses in her Spanish classroom at Hickory Grove Elementary School in Bloomfield Township.

The boards -- which will be in every classroom in the Bloomfield Hills Schools district by the beginning of next year -- are among the ways schools in metro Detroit are using technology to teach and capture the minds of a generation growing up in a digital age.

At Lottie Schmidt Elementary School in New Baltimore, students in Jim Alvaro's fifth-grade class create podcasts of their lessons, broadcast for anyone on the Web to hear. Rob McClelland, a teacher at the Oakland Technical Center campus in Wixom, has created computer games that help solidify students' understanding of key lessons.

And at Fisher Elementary School in the South Redford School District, students are learning Chinese and interacting with pen pals in China via a webcam, computer, projector and software.

"You always learn something new by using technology," said Natalie Joniec, 10, a Fisher fifth-grader.

Technology boosts performance

While some schools are pushing forward with plans to fully integrate technology, others struggle to do so in ways that engage kids and help them learn, said Ledong Li, an assistant professor of education at Oakland University.

And that's a problem, he said.

"If we deliver information like we used to do in the traditional way, kids are bored in the classroom," said Li, who organized a workshop in June on using video games in the classroom. "They don't feel they are engaged."

Li said technology can be intimidating to teachers who aren't familiar with how to use it, or how it can benefit their lessons. And so much is focused today on improving test scores that it's easy to see technology as an extra. Yet, Li said research shows technology can improve student performance.

Still, some teachers "look at the requirements for raising test scores as the kind of signal that they have to do things in a traditional way," Li said.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has announced proposed changes to teacher preparation programs, and he's making the integration of technology into teaching practices a priority. Last year, Michigan became the first, and still the only, state in the nation that will require students to take an online class or have online experience to graduate high school.

Ric Wiltse, executive director of the Lansing-based Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning, said budget crunches have impacted how schools integrate technology.

But, Wiltse said, "teachers are getting more and more creative about how they use the technology tools students have these days."

That includes Alvaro, whose classroom has a blog called the Skinny as well as the podcasts. The students worked on a project that had them research and write about when their ancestors arrived in the United States.

Games that teach

Today's kids are steps ahead of their teachers, in many cases. They instant message, text message, play video games, blog and use social Web sites like MySpace and YouTube.

"Everything we do is about technology," said Kala Kottman of Commerce Township, a senior at Walled Lake Western High School and the Oakland Technical Center campus in Wixom. "It's a big deal."

Kala, 17, is enrolled in the culinary arts program at the technical center. She was among a group of students in a computer lab playing a game created by McClelland, who provides support to fellow teachers.

There are about 100 culinary tools students must memorize, and while they still use rote memorization tricks, McClelland's game gives them a fun way to test their knowledge. McClelland has produced a similar game for two other technical center programs.

In the game, which is timed, students must quickly match a picture of a tool with its correct name.

McClelland programmed the game using popular phrases familiar to kids. For instance, if they click on the wrong answer, they're likely to hear the "D'oh!" popularized by Homer Simpson. If they get it right, they might hear a "Woo hoo."

Instant feedback

The Bloomfield Hills district is making a significant investment in the Promethean white boards. About $2.1 million has been committed to put them in all of its classrooms.

Conn was among the first to try them, and she said they make a difference in the classroom. The screen is connected to a computer, and it takes just a few clicks for her to call up lessons. The board also is interactive, allowing students to manipulate it.

The voting system allows Conn to constantly assess students, asking them to record correct answers on the hand-held device.

The instantaneous feedback means that instead of waiting until she grades a quiz to see who is struggling and which concepts students aren't getting, Conn finds out "just like that," she said with a sharp snap of her fingers.

It also means she can do some re-teaching on the fly if she sees many students answering a question wrong.

Mitchell Shults and Destiny Lynch, both 8-year-old third-graders, said the boards make classes more fun.

"You can play games on it and learn a lot of stuff," Mitchell said.

The voting, Destiny said, gets kids excited, especially when the whole class records the correct answer.

Technology makes it possible

At 7:45 on a Tuesday morning at Fisher Elementary, Deborah Reichman and her students were sitting around a table in a small conference room learning to speak the Chinese language. Reichman, the school's intervention specialist, doesn't know how -- she's learning with her students.

They go over a worksheet, practicing saying words and numbers in Chinese. When they get to a word they're unfamiliar with, Reichman has a plan.

"We may have to change or alter how we pronounce it when Mr. Nemo gets online," she said.

Nemo Ma is a teacher at the Nanao School in Guangzhou, China, and he is usually online when the kids meet to provide assistance and give them a chance to interact with a native Chinese speaker. Often, he places his mouth close to the lens of his camera and slowly enunciates the words so the students in Redford Township can see how his mouth moves. His image is projected on a large screen in the conference room.

The two schools are partnered through a program they call A Classroom Without Walls. The idea here isn't to create fluent Chinese speakers, Fisher Principal Brian Galdes said.

"Our goal is for the students ... to be global citizens, to interact with students from another culture one-on-one," Galdes said.

About 30 kids are involved in the program, in which they also use an online program to learn the language. And they have pen pals at the school in China. They chat with their e-pals, exchanging stories about their lives. But they also work on projects together.

Without technology, "we wouldn't be able to communicate," said Bradford Thomas, 10, a fifth-grader. "We'd have to write letters. And it'd probably take too long for them to reply."

Contact LORI HIGGINS at 248-351-3694 or

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Ann Arbor firm plans to put live TV online in U.S.

November 25, 2007



For all the countless hours of video available on the Internet, you can't watch many live events on your computer, and what you can watch -- such as congressional debates -- usually isn't worth the trouble.

But an Ann Arbor start-up may have an answer for what could be a billion-dollar problem.

Zattoo, founded in 2005 by University of Michigan computer science professor Sugih Jamin and Swiss software marketer Beat Knecht, has built a growing video service of live video streams in Europe with 1.2 million users. Its free software lets users watch live events such as soccer matches on their computers with far better quality than what has been available before.

Networks "have so many years of practice at producing live TV. It's a multibillion industry, and we're not going to replace it overnight," Jamin said. "There will always be people interested in live TV."

Launched with $350,000 from friends and family, Jamin said Zattoo just closed a $10-million fund-raising round led by venture capital firms in Switzerland, with another $20 million planned for next year. The company has grown to 25 full-time employees, including 20 in its Ann Arbor tech center. It also has an office in Zurich.

Zattoo's software, developed by Jamin and his students at U-M, uses a technique pioneered by Internet file-swappers known as peer-to-peer networks. Instead of relying on one central computer to broadcast data to thousands of users, peer-to-peer systems make each user's computer handle part of the workload, swapping data among themselves.

While developed mostly for pirating software and music, peer-to-peer has emerged as the best method of sending large files and streaming data over the Web. Internet phone service Skype is a peer-to-peer system, and its founders have launched a video service called Joost using the same technology.

Founded in 2005, Zattoo -- which means "crowd" in Japanese -- focuses on streaming live TV channels, a bigger technical challenge than offering recorded videos such as YouTube or Joost.

Using its software, viewers in Europe can choose from a variety of channels in their countries. Zattoo's technology allows it to respond quickly when a user changes a channel, with a lag time of a few seconds, similar to everyday television. The service is free for viewers, who have to watch a short ad when they change a channel.

Jamin said Zattoo's software offers several benefits to media companies. It's a cheaper way to get on the Internet than other systems. Zattoo blocks its video from being recorded, a key concern for media outlets worried about piracy. And by focusing on live video, Zattoo avoids some problems that competitors face, such as ensuring enough users are online to share data.

Though the company is based in Ann Arbor, Zattoo is available only in Europe today. Jamin said that is due to the ease of reaching deals with TV channels for transmitting their video there vs. the hurdles for doing so in the United States. But the service already has carried big events, such as the 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer championships, and has deals with foreign units of U.S. broadcasters. The service hopes to expand to Asia and the United States in 2008.

"The vision is that everybody will watch live TV on the PC someday," he said.

Contact JUSTIN HYDE at 202-906-8204 or

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Two Significant Technology Trends Sweeping College and University Communities

Cisco says it is responding to two significant technology trends sweeping college and university communities as educators and administrators strive to meet the needs of students accustomed to a media-rich, mobile lifestyle, while at the same time working to strengthen campus security via interoperable communications.

Today, many students are digital natives, Web 2.0 consumers who expect their college or university to create a collaborative experience that integrates familiar technologies such as podcasting and on-demand video into their learning environment. Three of four young adults download and view Internet videos daily according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and Burst Media reports that college students spend more time online than they do using any other form of media, including TV and radio.

Additionally, schools are quickly moving to streamline campus communications not only to prepare for disaster responses but also to bolster efficient day-to-day operations that save university officials time and money.

To help enable this level of connectivity, communication and collaboration in higher education, Cisco sees the network emerging as the cornerstone of the data center. Cisco's vision for next-generation data centers, termed Data Center 3.0, forecasts that the network will become the core of a data center's infrastructure with virtualization and automation becoming the primary methods for optimizing application performance, service levels, efficiency and collaboration.

At the University of California at Berkeley, a study of incoming freshman revealed that students ranked podcasting to be just as important as wireless Internet and access to e-mail. Video podcasting storage and distribution via Apple iTunes U and YouTube required a scalable network for Berkeley's open content initiative, webcast.berkeley.

"The Cisco network is the nerve center for our podcasting initiative," said Adam Hochman, project manager at the University of California at Berkeley's Education Technology Services. "Since we launched the offering in 2006, overall we saw 2 million downloads of our podcasts in the first year alone from our iTunes U channel. We have had 650,000 views in the first two weeks of our YouTube channel launch. Interest in our content has exploded."

Arizona State University, when building its new downtown campus, decided to migrate from a traditional phone infrastructure to Internet Protocol (IP) telephony via a converged network to support voice, video and data applications. Within six months, new campus classrooms were equipped for video on-demand, and the 3,500 students had Cisco IP phones in their dorm rooms, which not only save time and money, but can also be used as a paging system to broadcast emergency announcements.

"Our investment in networking technology is aligned with our goal to become a top research university and model for twenty-first century learning," said Adrian Sannier, chief technology officer at Arizona State University. "Since moving to a Cisco converged network, faculty and student productivity has improved, and we've saved money by reducing management costs."

Bryant University, in Smithfield, R.I., by deploying Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS), used the network to enhance its campus security by linking disparate campus radio systems with IP phones and PCs so that the school could directly and efficiently communicate with town agencies during an emergency. Because the campus and various first-responder agencies used different radio frequencies, they could not interoperate to coordinate a timely response.

"Moving to an IP infrastructure where our radios communicate over the network has made the university a model for campus security," said Art Gloster, vice president for information services at Bryant University. "Indeed, voice interoperability not only benefits us during an emergency, it has streamlined our day-to-day communications -- from students locked out of rooms to university officials working from home who need to contact campus staff."

The proliferation of new Internet technologies and multimedia offerings has created tremendous challenges for the higher education market as it moves to meet student expectations and create innovative learning opportunities. In a study of college students, the Educause Center for Applied Research found that nearly 64 percent thought information technology (IT) in courses improved their learning, while 55 percent agreed IT made them better collaborators with peers.

"Across the country, educational institutions of all sizes are utilizing their networks to improve security and make Web 2.0, multimedia and virtual presence technologies available to students and faculty," said Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Ph.D., higher education lead at Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. "Schools like the University of California at Berkeley, Arizona State University and Bryant University are leading educational institutions that recognize that the traditional barriers between physical and virtual learning and research must be erased to support a next-generation learning environment."

Charles Fadel, global lead for education at Cisco, noted that students are driving this network evolution.

"Just as we've seen an influx of consumer technologies into the workplace, students are setting their university's IT agenda by demanding access to the same Internet services that they enjoy at home," said Fadel. "How this trend plays out in higher education depends on how successfully a school takes advantage of the network's full potential."

Photo by James. Creative Commons License Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Getting DIGITAL!

Bloomfield Hills schools add more classroom tech

Posted on 11/19/2007 2:22:38 PM

The Bloomfield Hills schools Monday announced that its board had approved a $2.1 million technology investment plan.

By Jan. 1, all 350 district classrooms will be outfitted with interactive whiteboards, projectors, document cameras, sound amplification and playback equipment.

One powerful component is Activotes, which are wireless computer mouse-like student response devices that allow teachers to immediately adapt instruction.

High school students and faculty will begin using the new technology when they return from the December holiday break. Elementary and middle school students are already benefiting from the boards, since classrooms were similarly equipped over the summer and fall.

Bloomfield Hills Schools will be the first district in Michigan to so-outfit all classrooms K-12 with the equipment, manufactured by Promethean.

“Teachers tell us that the impact of this technology is as dramatic as the introduction of personal computers into the classroom,” said Steven Gaynor, BHS superintendent. “Students in our elementary and middle schools who are already using this technology are highly engaged mentally, physically and emotionally. Our teachers are as excited as the kids, and are buzzing about the likely boost to student learning.”

About $500,000 of interactive equipment will be installed at Andover, Lahser and Model high schools, as well as Bowers Academy, the Bowers Farm classrooms and the Johnson Nature Center. The equipment at Andover and Lahser will be portable, so that it could be moved and reinstalled in the future if the aging high school buildings are renovated.

Bloomfield Hills Schools has provided professional development to teachers to aid their understanding and use of the systems. As with traditional lesson planning, teachers develop instruction in advance to best incorporate the technology into student learning.

Cindi Hopkins, director of technology, said that the whiteboards will make common classroom items like wall maps and televisions obsolete.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Maximizing the Impact: "The Pivitol Role of Technology in a 21st Century Educational System."

In a new report, Maximizing the Impact: "The Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Education System", the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills urged renewed emphasis on technology in education.

The report urges federal, state and local policymakers and other stakeholders to take action on three fronts:

1. Use technology comprehensively to develop proficiency in 21st century skills. Knowledge of core content is necessary, but no longer sufficient, for success in a competitive world. Even if all students mastered core academic subjects, they still would be woefully underprepared to succeed in postsecondary institutions and workplaces, which increasingly value people who can use their knowledge to communicate, collaborate, analyze, create, innovate, and solve problems. Used comprehensively, technology helps students develop 21st century skills.
2. Use technology comprehensively to support innovative teaching and learning. To keep pace with a changing world, schools need to offer more rigorous, relevant and engaging opportunities for students to learn—and to apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways. Used comprehensively, technology supports new, research-based approaches and promising practices in teaching and learning.
3. Use technology comprehensively to create robust education support systems. To be effective in schools and classrooms, teachers and administrators need training, tools and proficiency in 21st century skills themselves. Used comprehensively, technology transforms standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, learning environments, and administration.

The report supports the Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ framework for 21st century learning, which calls for mastery of core subjects and 21st century skills. The report also highlights effective practices in states, districts and schools that are using technology to achieve results. And it provides guiding questions and action principles for policymakers and other stakeholders who are committed to maximizing the impact of technology in education.

Together, SETDA, ISTE and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills represent dozens of leading U.S. companies and organizations, six leadership states, education technology directors in all 50 states, 85,000 education technology professionals and 3.2 million educators throughout the country.

Click here to view the full report, Maximizing the Impact.


National Study to Examine Best Ways to Prepare Teachers to Use Technology

The Center for Evaluation and Education Policy in the Indiana University School of Education will partner with a Washington, D.C.-area company for a project examining how current and emerging technologies are being used in classrooms and how to prepare new teachers to best use these tools.

The "Leveraging Education Technology to Keep America Competitive" study has just begun with a $3.1 million contract through the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology.

"To our knowledge the federal government and the U.S. Department of Education have never really funded a comprehensive study of how cutting-edge technologies are being used in pre-service education," said Jonathan Plucker, director of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP) in the IU School of Education, and deputy project manager of the study.

Plucker said technological advances have made this a vastly different society. "But a common criticism is that that's not really changing the way that we teach," he said. "It's not changing the way we deliver education. It's not changing the way that students learn. This study gives us the resources to go out and do a very comprehensive and careful study to figure out if those things are happening."

Over a technical plan that breaks down into seven "task" areas, the project will produce an overall assessment of technology use in the classroom by April 2009. While that final work will help direct federal policy towards technology in education, a series of white papers issued throughout the length of the project will give immediate insight into the issues the work is tackling.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Put the DIGITAL in ONE "D"


No Child Left Behind?

Presented by
Wayne State University
WWJ Newsradio 950
The Detroit News
WDET 101.9
The Michigan Chronicle

This unique panel will combine historical expertise and
the voices of ‘Generation D’
to generate discussion, consider options, and find solutions.

The topic will be Detroit’s future and our children’s education.
What has happened with the passage of the No Child Left Behind legislation?
How did it come to be? Where are we now? What comes next?
How can we be involved improving the classroom?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Wayne State University Law School

Spencer Partrich Auditorium
471 West Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202

Admission is free, but advance registration is requested

Click here to Register

Free Parking Available in Structure #1 with Registration
(across Palmer from the Law School)


Sponsored by
Wayne State University
WWJ Newsradio 950
The Detroit News
WDET 101.9
The Michigan Chronicle

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Meeting: University of Michigan-Flint Gary Weisserman

UM-Flint goes global with new program

Posted by Beata Mostafavi July 25, 2007 20:30PM

Categories: Flint, Higher Education

FLINT -- On the other side of the ocean, thousands of miles away in Geneva, Switzerland, Amy Meister waved hello to husband Kent and 13-year-old daughter Ashley here in Flint.

But Meister, of the local United Way, is learning to use technology in a way that could even kick satellite video out of the cutting edge club.

She is among 24 students in University of Michigan-Flint's new "Technology in Education Global Program" that was officially inaugurated Wednesday with a live feed from Geneva, where students are studying.

It's a first of its kind master's degree program in education at UM-Flint that requires global residency and research. The degree highlights the use of technology to teach topics of global importance, ranging from human rights to environmental issues.

The new 15-month program that has drawn students from as far as the Cayman Islands comes just as UM-Flint seeks to "internationalize" campus by giving students more international opportunities and lure more non-local and international students to the university.

The program will help students "re-think the role of technology in education and truly understand the way it can and does transform student learning," Acting Chancellor Jack Kay said from Geneva. "This program is poised to reinvent education for the needs and opportunities of the 21st century."

Acting provost Vahid Lotfi said the university has found partners in Geneva -- chosen because it is home to more than 100 non-governmental agencies -- that will help students focus on issues of social justice, civic engagement and education reform.

The program is mostly online but involves two 3-week-long trips to Geneva where students meet with international non-governmental agencies through the World Federations of United Nations Associations and the Federation of International Institutions in Geneva.

"They're focusing on issues sort of larger than the students themselves," said Sharman Siebenthal Adams, assistant professor in education technology. " They need to connect to the world around them.

"We are looking at all of these issues from a global perspective and using technology."

Students spend days doing Web development and video work. Examples of specific projects could include research on labor issues, K-12 schooling, social justice issues related to human rights or people with disabilities, parks and museums or environmental conservation efforts.

Via satellite, students Jennifer Holladay of Attica and Jeremiah Holden of New York said they are gaining a unique global perspective to using technology to teach in meaningful ways.

Gary Weisserman, a UM-Flint faculty member who is in Geneva with the program, said it's "not just about making a Web site."

"The goal is to make Web-rich communities that can make a difference," he said.

"This is teaching for social and educational change."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TEDTalks: Nicholas Negroponte (2006_

"Urgency of the Digital Emergency"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

STEM Prospectors: Find GOLD!

Thousands of middle and high school students packed Ford Field Thursday for the 2007 YES Expo.

The Expo -- the YES stands for youth, engineering and science -- is a collaboration led by Michigan Technological University among state agencies, corporations, youth organizations, professional societies, business development groups and other universities from throughout Michigan. It offers a hands-on educational experience with the goal of inspiring students to pursue education and careers in the science and engineering fields.

Headline speakers included Dr. Steven Squyres, a Cornell University astronomy professor whose repeated project applications to NASA turned into the wildly successful Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Squyres told the students he was once intimidated by math. Now he drives $900 million remote-control cars around Mars. He showed the students near-live pictures from the Martian surface, where one rover was busily digging into rock.

The event also featured a robotics demonstration from Toyota, which believe it or not has built a robot that can play the trumpet. (Not bad, but no threat to the mastery of Miles Davis just yet.)

While the major presentations took place on the Ford Field turf, the entire lower concourse was ringed by corporate and university exhibits. Included were major displays from General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Toyota, Faurecia (whose exploding airbag was by far the LOUDEST exhibit), the Michigan Department of Transportation, Chrysler LLC, Caterpillar, 3M, Kellogg, Radio Shack, Stryker Corp., Yazaki, Pulte Homes and Dow Chemical.

Michigan Tech, as founder and the lead university behind the event, had by far the largest number of university exhibits, featuring everything from a hovercraft to a polygraph to live satellite mapping.

Photo highlights are available at

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Shape of Things to Come!

Going the distance

Posted on 11/6/2007 11:05:58 AM

Through the window it might look as if Nancy Ernst, lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Kettering University, was teaching Calculus II to an empty classroom. In reality, she is using the latest in distance learning technology to deliver lessons to 13 students in four different school districts, without the students having to leave their home schools.

Ernst is teaching the pilot class in Kettering’s new distance education classroom, which enables the university to have a direct link to students and teachers in the Genesee Intermediate School District, and beyond the county boundary.

The classroom was funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Citizens Banking Charitable Foundation Trust, Loeb CharitableTrust, and a Department of Education collaborative grant involving Genesee Intermediate School District and Kettering University.

“This project is part of Kettering President Stan Liberty’s vision to collaborate with the K-12 education system in Flint and Genesee County,and collaborate with other higher education institutions in the area,” said Robert Nichols, director of External Affairs at Kettering, of the distance learning classroom. “The opportunity to offer dual enrollment through distance learningwas made possible because of the GenNET and FANET project in all the area highschools and the leadership of the Greater Flint Educational Consortium."

GenNET, the Genesee Network for Education Telecommunications, and FANET, Genesee County’s higher education network, allow local school district classrooms to link together with FANETclassrooms through a fiber optic cable network that links voice, video and datacapabilities.

“All of this came to fruition within the last year,” Nichols said. “Through the collaboration of the GFEC, the local higher educationinstitutions: Baker College, Mott Community College, the University of Michigan-Flint and Kettering, met with the superintendents and principals of highschools within GISD’s service area to ask what academic topics they needed helpproviding their students."

Nichols credits Robert Hahn, coordinator of K-12 projects office of the associate provost at UM-Flint, for being the driving force that kept the project moving forward and launching within 12months.

Kettering’s distance learning focus, along with the dual enrollment program, is to help middle and high school teachers make math and science relevant to all students, accordingto Bahram Roughani, professor and chair of physics at Kettering. Within the new Michigan curriculum, graduation requirements include four years each of science and mathematics. For many students, these subjects are abstract, said Roughani. The Kettering faculty's specialized talents inapplications of mathematics and science are ideal for assisting teachers in helping students answer that question, "Why do I need to know this?"

In addition to making math and science relevant, other advantages to using distance education for dual enrollment include: students are not on the road attending classes at the colleges and universities and can participate in their extra-curricular activities; both teachers and students save time and the cost of transportation by remaining at their school sites; students receive quality instruction and K-12 teachers benefit from professional collaboration with their higher education counterparts. Students also get a jump start on earning college credits and school districts can provide advanced courses without hiring additional teachers.

While the pilot class is still underway at Kettering, there has already been a growing interest among K-12 educators in partnering with the university through distance education technology.

“Educators from Grand Rapids and Big Rapids, Michigan, have contacted me about working with us to build enthusiasm among their students for math, science and engineering programs,” Roughani said. “My hope is that by expanding our outreach and K-12 education programs through our new distance learning capability, within the next few years we will experience the need to build a second room to accommodate all programs. We would like to offer a broad selection of courses that would enable high school students to plan ahead for their college careers.”

In addition to Kettering’s Calculus II class, as part of the project this fall, Mott Community College is offering courses in Arabic and College Algebra; Baker College is offering a course in Human Relations and Psychology; and UM-Flint is offering courses in Introduction to Ethics and Anthropology.

Transparency: Behind the Scenes at YES!

Behind the Scenes - YES! Expo 2007

Michigan Tech Alumni Association invites you to tour the setup and rehearsal of exhibits for YES! Expo 2007.
The event will feature a guest appearance by Dr. Steven Squyres, chief scientist on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project.

Encouraged for ages 12 & up

WHEN: Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
START TIME: Arrive between 6:30 and 7:00pm
WHERE: Starts at the Corner Lounge in Ford Field - Detroit, MI
FREE PARKING: Lot 6 (St. Antoine St. Parking Ramp - Walkway to Ford Field)
Directions to Ford Field
Map of Area
COST: Free (Appetizers w/ Cash Bar)

What is YES! Expo
The Michigan Youth Engineering and Science (YES!) Expo is presented as a public service by Michigan Technological University to show middle and high school students the fascinating world of engineering, science, and technology.

In a hands-on setting, corporate exhibitors will inspire students to consider exciting science and engineering careers. Universities and community colleges will showcase the educational pathways to these careers and demonstrate the interesting things students can do in college within these fields. For more information visit:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Intentional Risk-Immersive Partner!

Investing in Detroit

Hoop hopes

Ex-NBA star aids neglected neighborhood

November 5, 2007



Local sports legend Derrick Coleman has traded in his basketball jersey for a white-collar shirt and is setting about breathing new life into his childhood neighborhood, which bears one of Detroit's deepest scars.

The retired NBA star is now a developer and entrepreneur, his latest project being the opening of a Snyx Sneaker Studio in a new 1,400-square-foot retail plaza on Linwood near Clairmount.

Coleman, who still has a home nearby, hopes to open several other business ventures in the west-side neighborhood, including a catering hall, farmers market, car wash, laundry and restaurant. He has purchased several parcels of land and says he plans to spend up to $6 million to accomplish his vision of transforming the fortunes of his old neighborhood, which was the starting point of Detroit's 1967 riot.

"People I talk to tell me there has been no new" commercial "development in that community for 40 years," he said. "I've been working hard on this project and everybody is excited about it. We can have commerce in our neighborhoods and our community."

The Snyx store is the third in a fledgling chain of sneaker stores Coleman is involved in with partners in Chicago. The shop sells Nike apparel priced from $75 to $280, including the signature shoes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Rasheed Wallace.

"This is a real opportunity to create jobs and give people hope," Coleman told the Free Press on Friday. "The vision is to get rid of these vacant lots and start businesses and help people."

The store, which opened Tuesday, is part of a $1-million strip mall project that will house Snyx, as well as the Barber Lounge, a Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs restaurant and a bill payment center.

Financing for the project came from Comerica Bank, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and Coleman. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided a $300,000 grant.

Along with the commercial strip mall project, Coleman is involved with former Detroit Pistons great and businessman Dave Bing and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and Detroit native Jerome Bettis in the development of the city's waterfront.

Coleman also has started the Derrick Coleman Foundation (, a nonprofit focusing on providing education, health and recreational programs for young people in the city.

"This is Derrick's community, and he's always made a commitment to the community," said Jeanne Wardford, president of the Derrick Coleman Foundation.

That's why Coleman sees the project on the corner of Linwood and Clairmount as a stepping-stone to the rebuilding of the community that helped launch him on a professional basketball career.

Coleman, 40, was born the summer of the riot.

The '67 riot began that July 23 when police vice squad officers raided an after-hours nightclub on the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount, near the site of Coleman's strip mall.

A melee that followed the raid resulted in five days of rioting, the torching of more than 2,000 buildings, the arrest of more than 7,000 people and 43 deaths. President Lyndon B. Johnson dispatched National Guard troops to the city.

"My vision is to keep creating opportunities and services in that community," said Coleman, who was a basketball star at Northern High School in Detroit and later at Syracuse University. He played mostly for New Jersey and Philadelphia in the NBA, and was on the Pistons squad in 2004-05. "It's going to be a viable community and come back to life like before the 1967 disturbances."

Contact ALEJANDRO BODIPO-MEMBA at 313-222-5008 or

Sunday, November 4, 2007