Star Schools -- Accomplishments
- When Jason entered intermediate school, his motivation dropped, his work habits were poor, he would not do or complete his assignments, would not go to school, and earned "D's" and "F's" in all his subjects, including an "F" in science. After participating in just one semester of the TEAMS science project, science became very exciting to him. He became attentive during the telecasts; he completed all of his experiments correctly; comes to school regularly, and is receiving an "A" in science. He has raised his grade point average to a 3.6, and, according to his teacher, has become a model student in class.
- A class of 28 fourth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students in a Boston school took part in the distance learning mathematics project offered by TEAMS. This group of students and a class of native English speakers participated together in the mathematics telecast. With the aid of a bilingual teacher, the limited language students were able to complete successfully all of the activities that had been given to them by the distance learning mathematics teacher located in Los Angeles. The English speaking students were observed working alongside the students with limited English proficiency. The language barrier did not interfere in the successful completion of the student's activities.
- Leckie Elementary School in Washington, DC, has integrated technology into its total academic program. The school receives cable, fiber optics and closed circuit transmissions as well as an ethernet system. Through the coordination of the TEAMS Washington Star Schools Office, Leckie receives instructional programming and staff development activities from four Star Schools grantees. One of the special programs which was produced by the School District of Philadelphia was used to teach elementary school students about the brain, its physiology, mental operations and other complex aspects. By employing the aid of several medical science experts, a classroom teacher, and modern technology, the project staff was able to present this subject in an interactive Teaming mode that was not only understandable to the students but appreciated by the teachers who participated the presentation. Students and teachers in major urban schools across the country were able to pose questions during the presentation. Following the on-air presentation, students at Leckie and other schools across the nation continued to talk about what they had learned through computerbased networks.
- Teachers at schools like Steele Elementary School in Harrisburg, PA, and Meadowvale Elementary School in Sunbury, PA, are using an exciting multi-media telecommunications technology and easy navigational software to connect to other teachers around the country and to resource databases around the world via the Internet. Using the Explorer software, created under a Star Schools grant, teachers point and click on curriculum content, classroom objectives, and grade level to local multi-media materials and lesson plans that match specific topic areas and learning outcomes. Materials on the Explorer resource database have been matched to the national math and science curricula standards. Teachers can add material to the database on a continuing basis and develop original curriculum to be included in the database.
- Prior to 1990, the local junior high school in a small working class town in Massachusetts had a departmentalized, homogeneously grouped program. Through participation in and with support from the Star Schools program, students at the junior high school became involved in a major change effort that ultimately transformed teaching and learning for the entire community. Following intensive preparation by the teachers, students became actively involved in various telecommunications activities. During the Christmas break, students came into school nine out of twelve days to work on their science projects, videotaping their reports for later class presentation. One parent told his child's teacher, "I never before heard what the kids did at school, but now my daughter's talking about science on the phone." Teachers across the curriculum are working together -- for example, English teachers now work with science students to help them with their research reports. In 1993, team teaching and "hands-on" strategies were introduced throughout the junior high school program. The school intends to move block scheduling. Students will spend half the school year in intensive science/math programs and half the year focusing on English/social studies. Now, all of the town's schools have access to the satellite downlink and the programs are hooked into the local cable channel so that the entire community has access as well.
- In March 1994, Col. Fred Gregory, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, fielded calls as about 3,500 fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders in schools across the Northwest participated in the Education Service District 101's Young Astronaut program, a partnership effort with the Young Astronauts Council. In November 1994, NASA Astronaut Dick Richards also participated in a live broadcast with students as part of the course which provides an overview of science topics framed by the experiences of people who travel in space.
- Students in Georgia who participated in a Star Schools-funded Japanese class taught by a native speaker in Nebraska, won a statewide language competition and then went on to win first, second, and third place in a national foreign language competition.
- Through the Great Lakes Collaborative, one teacher was able to bring his students into the exciting world of telecommunications by accessing the Ask A Scientist project, sponsored by the Argonne National Laboratory. The class was able to pose questions to a host of scientists electronically and then to receive the responses directly from the scientists. In an effort to involve the community in this project, the teacher made the communications network available to parents and other community members as they attended the local Science Fair.
- In February 1994, 25 schools in three States participated in an effort which linked math, science, social studies and language arts for grades K-9. Participating classrooms were provided with a weather kit, activity master worksheets, and extension ideas prior to the exercise. During two of the hardest, coldest winter weeks this century, students reported the temperatures at their sites several times daily and sent their results electronically to an online server. Information from all the sites was then collated and sent back to them electronically as raw data for charts, weather mapping, essays, penpal exchanges and special reports by the students.
- Workplace Basics, a class offered via satellite, is designed to help participants develop and assess their abilities to deliver the skills employers seek. When a student in north central Washington was hired into a position over several adults with previous experience, he attributed his success to interviewing, resume writing, and communication skills sharpened during Workplace Basics activities which bring the global economy to a local level, and in most instances, offer options never imagined by students in rural and remote locations.
The following represents the accomplishments of projects in the fourth cycle for year one (FY 1994-1995)
TEAMS Distance Learning at Los Angeles County Office of Education--TEAMSnet electronic network for teacher and student instruction has been developed along with TEAMS World Wide Web Home Page with links to educational sites and projects around the country. TEAMS gopher server has also been established.
TEAMS has identified specific instructional applications for new mathematics and science programs. New modules are in the planning stage and are progressing nicely. Connections 2000 has developed one field trip program that will be shared with MCET Star Schools project. Staff development programs related to student program content and incorporating effective teaching strategies were designed, developed, and telecast during 1994-95.
Presentations of four TEAMS technology programs were made to demonstrate multimedia potential for instruction in math and science. The math preservice planning committee has been assembled. The committee has met three times and is planning the math preservice programs and activities for 1995-96 school year. Members of this committee have reviewed TEAMS math modules and are piloting some specific programs in their math methods classes.
During year 1 activities, Connections 2000 programs have won two distance learning awards. 1) USDLA Award, Angie Sims (Power To Make A Difference instructor), Excellence In Distance Learning Teaching Category, United States Distance Learning Association, March 1995. 2) Gold Medal, TEAMS Science-Energy, Non-broadcast media competition, New York Festivals, February 1995.
Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications (MCET)/HealthLinks--The first year of the project has been devoted to program product development, equipment installations, training of participants in the use of telecommunications technologies, and preparation of sites for the integration of distance learning programs, hands-on curriculum, and other media-based materials. HealthLinks has accomplished the following over the course of the past year:
HealthLink has worked with teachers, administrators and other staff from the demonstration sites to prepare for their integration of multiple technologies and media-based and other classroom materials.
Two-say training workshops have been held in four cities. Approximately 93 participants representing 38 sites from these cities have attended.
An intensive technology training workshop was held at Tufts University.
Oklahoma State University (OSU), with its partner Northern Arizona University (NAU), has made substantial progress toward achieving the goals and objectives of the project, and is recommended for a continuation award of $2,305,359 in FY 1995. Much of the first six months of the project was spent hiring personnel, establishing procedures, and acquiring technologies and equipment. Research-based program planning, curriculum development, and pilot-testing are on-going in "German by Satellite" for grades 3-6; "Getting Ready for Algebra" for middle grades; "Spanish" for grades 7-8; and "Geonauts" earth and environmental science for grades 4-6. Previously developed "Graphing Calculator" program materials have been duplicated and disseminated to all 54 Educational Service Centers in Oklahoma, and teleconferences about the program have been conducted in the 5 Southwestern states served by "The Next Generation."
Training sites, resource facilitators, and downlink sites have been located for "Training for Early Childhood Educators"; program materials have been developed; and collaborations with Head Start programs have been established for implementation. Professional development programming has been developed for "Spanish," "Geonauts," and "Assistive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities."
Expansion of telecommunications technologies is progressing with the installation of equipment and infrastructure for access to Internet and 800-number service at pilot school sites. World Wide Web/Mosaic home pages have been established for the "Foreign Languages Initiative," "Geonauts," and IDEANET, the Star Schools consortium. IDEANET continues to examine the deployment of digital compression equipment for satellite communications that offer multiple channels of programming on one transponder for less cost.
The Star Link Project at Ana G. Mendez University has made substantial progress in achieving their goals and objectives. Forty schools have been chosen for the project, including 20 regular schools and 20 Community Schools created by Puerto Rico Law 18. The schools are located in diverse communities - urban and rural communities are well represented and the sites include those with a great deal of economic resources, as well as those with very limited resources.
Star Link will continue to use the funding provided by the Star Schools Program to develop modules and/or purchase, where available in Spanish, the course offerings to be provided via technology to 40 schools chosen for the project; enhance the professional development opportunities for educators; and make distance learning resources available to the targeted schools by providing downlinks and other equipment. Much of the work during the first year of Star Schools funding consisted of hiring personnel to manage the project, research and development activities, acquisition and installation of project equipment in the schools and in the Star Link office at the University, and development and implementation of the survey of schools that will gauge the programming needs of the schools chosen.
A staff retreat was held early in the project to provide the opportunity to clearly delineate the Project's goals, objectives, activities, and schedules and to conceptualize the operational structure to be followed during the remainder of the project's operational life.
Project staff have been working closely with the principals from the 40 schools in the project. The project held a successful "start-up" meeting in late February with the 40 principals. The date coincided with the Far View teleconference which allowed the principals to be exposed to all Star Schools programs as well as to interactive television technology. To further understanding of the project, a retreat was held with the 40 principals and a classroom coordinator/teacher from each school in the project. Meetings among principals and teachers, students and parent councils have been held in several schools in order to orient faculty and community members about the effect this project will have on learning and instructional processes. Town mayors and some commercial entities have donated part of the resources needed to prepare school facilities.
Each school has established its electronic classroom in a safe, air-conditioned location. The installation of 320 AT&T computers was completed in early May, as well as TV monitors for school personnel to receive Interactive Television Services (ITS). The phone lines for student access to the Internet are being installed by the Puerto Rico Telephone Company. Additionally, a pc server for access to the Internet, the first of its kind in Puerto Rico, has been purchased from Digital Equipment Caribbean and has been licensed to allow 32 users at any one time.
With regard to instructional programming, the staff agreed that the offerings had to respond to the real needs of the project students and faculty. Staff have talked with the principals and staff at each school several times and a needs assessment was distributed to the participating schools. A group of consultants have been identified to develop, following the needs assessment, the modules to be adapted to the schools' needs in the interdisciplinary topics in the proposal: technology, healthy lifestyles, and environmental education. Consultants are being hired in the following areas of expertise: project evaluation, television teaching, cooperative learning, environmental science, teacher training on environmental issues, curricular innovation, and the National Education Goals.
While the programming needs are being developed, the staff will conduct a series of trainings in basic technological know-how. A training model of four modules will be presented from May to September, three for teachers and one for middle- and high-school students. While students remain the center of the project's mission, teachers must be exposed to the technology first and must be empowered to use the computers and interactive television in their electronic classroom to promote the kind of independent learning which takes a great deal of professional development for the instructors.
The first Interactive Television transmission was held in May. Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rosello Gonzalez, Ana G. Mendez University System President Jose Mendez, and Secretary of Education Victor Fajardo greeted and welcomed the participating schools.
College of Eastern Utah (CEU)--CEU Star Schools project serves the rural areas of southeastern Utah and the Navajo and Ute reservations. The region served is rural and isolated. It is an area distinguished by mountains, high desert, buttes and canyons. In the past year CEU has installed a system of microwave towers for broadcast purposes. The project has built classrooms to handle distance learning, installed satellite dishes so that schools on the system can view other Star School program offerings, hired curriculum specialists to develop courses for the network and an evaluator to begin the accessing the project's activities.
Education Service Center, Region 20 (ESC) through arrangements with consortium partner TI-IN, USDLC has increased access to distance learning resources, free of charge to the 2000 plus schools in 47 states, which are a part of the TI-IN Network, to 500 schools over the T-Star Network in Texas and to another 2000 schools in Florida using its district and regional microwave and cable network. ESC accomplishments are planning, programming production and delivery, the accomplishments includes: 1) math and science staff development; 2)building capacity in migrant families; 3) occupation identification and planning; 4) occupation identification planning; 5) getting a grip on school violence; 6) multicultural learning environments; and 7) using technology effectively in schools.
Educational Service District 101 (ESD)--has developed and increased the number of full courses, enrichment modules and in-service offerings. With the inclusion of the Pacific laboratory, PREL, as a partner in its consortium, distance learning activities have been expanded to serve Hawaii and American affiliated Pacific. ESD has developed and designed new math, geography and environmental courses for the Pacific area. This year, the Young Astronauts program was introduced in Hawaii.
On the mainland, ESD has developed new courses in computer science, English as a Second Language (ESL) for adults, and high school marine science. Also developed were 54 new hours enrichment programs as well as increasing the number of hours of in-service programming. In the last year ESD began to upgrade studio and classroom equipment and the testing of digital compression uplinks. ESD has developed a number of collaboration activities with such organizations as Oregon State University, CNN, Pacific Island Network, Gonzaga University, the Moanula Gardens Foundation and Bellevue Community College. These collaborations have substantially enhanced the work of the project in many areas.
Statewide Network Project
The Kentucky Telelinking Network (KTLN) focused on "developing the organization, building partnerships, preparing government purchase contracts and deploying the first 45 distance learning classroom sites and hubs." The first year has been designated as the "pre-operational" and "deployment" phase of the project. Some of the accomplishments of that year have been:
- Demonstration of network applications involving many school sites and Kentucky Educational Television.
- KTLN was exhibited at three conferences.
- An evaluation process was developed.
- A site selection process and criteria were established for Year 2 activities.
- A solicitation was held and award made for a contract to install the initial 45 receiving sites for the system.
Missouri School Boards Association--In collaboration with the other two dissemination projects, MSBA/ESN staff developed and designed a Star Schools brochure that highlights the impact of the Star Schools program and describes each project; 45,000 have been printed for nationwide distribution. ESN has continued to produce the country's only monthly magazine and satellite TV guide designed specifically for the K-12 audience, Education SATLINK. Demand for and usage of SATLINK continually increases. Each issue contains thousands of programs available by satellite from top educational producers, as well as articles by distance learning professionals offering tips on how to integrate distance learning into the classroom. More than 3,300 schools in all 50 states and Canada receive SATLINK through the grant. Users may also access SATLINK OnLine, the electronic counterpart to the magazine, for the cost of long-distance phone charges.
In 1994, ESN completed the development and production of the Distance Learning Primer, a videotape and accompanying handbook that address the fundamentals of distance learning, including information on the Star Schools program, available services through individual Star Schools projects, as well as how to get involved in a distance learning program. Since October, 1994, more than 3,600 Developing a Distance Learning Program handbooks (produced during the first grant period) have been disseminated. ESN also published the 1995-96 edition of the Handbook of Instructional Courses by Satellite in April 1995 that lists 110 courses delivered via satellite from some of the nation's top education producers along with information about the program providers.
Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development, Distance Learning Resource Network (DLRN)--DLRN has taken an active role in the collaboration among the three dissemination projects. DLRN staff surveyed all the Star Schools projects and produced a Star Schools impact document that provided data on services listed by state. The project director was the primary organizer of a Star Schools exhibit at the March 1995 Secretary's Conference on Educational Technology, and was a presenter at the conference. DLRN proposed a commendation for Star Schools to the United States Distance Learning Association which was approved by the USDLA Board and presented to the Star Schools Team Leader at the IDLCON Awards Dinner in March 1995. Staff have made presentations at numerous conferences where many educators first hear about distance learning.
DLRN provides information and assistance through a toll-free line as well as through a gopher server via the Internet. World Wide Web software has been installed to provide access to DLRN resources using Mosaic, Netscape, or text-based Lynx. The DLRN home page has been designed and was demonstrated at the Far View national teleconference in February 1995.
Pacific Mountain Network, Far View--Far View produced and broadcast a national teleconference on February 28, 1995, entitled "A Galaxy of Resources: Star Schools Programs and Opportunities," that featured staff of the various projects and showcased Star Schools programming and resources. Thirty-five (35) sites participated in the teleconference. The 90-minute video has been edited to a 60-minute version, which will be included in the updated Module Two of the Far View/DLRN Distance Learning Kit and made available free to Star Schools projects. The tape will also be available for sale. The program was used in the Star Schools exhibit during the Secretary's Conference on Educational Technology in March 1995.
The project works closely with the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada to develop distance learning sites. Its Advisory Board met in March 1995, and that meeting was preceded by a workshop for State Coordinators and State Education and Public Television representatives. An audio bridge conference on Funding Opportunities for Distance Learning was held on May 23, 1995.