Computers Column

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Copyright 1987 A series of contests during the month will offer students and teachers the chance to win computers and software libraries. The contests, to be judged by grade level, involve creative computer-generated art, non-computer art, essays, group projects, and innovative lesson ideas. Entries must be received by Oct. 20, and the judging will take place in early November.

A 30-page booklet, "What Every Parent Should Know About Educational Computing," will be distributed free-of-charge throughout the month by several leading bookstore chains and state pta's. And a commemorative poster that includes lesson plans will be distributed with the October issue of six education and computing journals.

For more information about these or other planned activities, write to Computer Learning Month, P.O. Box 19763, Washington, D.C. 20036-7063.

Computers are rarely used to teach traditional high-school mathematics and science courses, according to a survey conducted by a Johns Hopkins University researcher.

Instead, most of the high-school mathematics and science teachers who use computers are using them to teach computer-literacy and programming courses, reports the fourth bulletin from Henry Jay Becker's "Second National Survey of Instructional Uses of Microcomputers."

The latest report analyzes the use of computers in traditional math and science courses from data collected in a spring 1985 survey of roughly 8,000 principals and teachers in 2,100 schools that are statistically representative of the computer-using schools in the nation. Previous reports have covered such topics as the opportunities different types of students have to use computers, and the consequences principals and teachers see from their use.

Among the other findings from the most recent bulletin were that: Sixty-three percent of the computer use for mathematics instruction occurred in grades 5 and below; drill and practice was by far the most common activity for elementary-school mathematics; computers are used more often for remediation than for enrichment in the higher grades; and at no grade level did science instruction using computers account for 10 percent or more of the overall use of computers.

A subscription to the series of six newsletters is available for $7.50 by writing to Computer Survey Newsletters, Center for the Social Organization of Schools,

The Johns Hopkins University, 3505 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Md. 21218.

The amount of high-quality software available for ibm PC, PCjr, and compatible computers has increased significantly over the past year, according to the Education News Service.

Forty-five percent of the highest rated programs identified by ens in its 1987 edition of Only The Best: The Discriminating Software Guide for Preschool-Grade 12 are available in versions for ibm computers, compared with only 24 percent last year.

The authors also found that an increasing number of software publishers are offering lab packs and site-licenses to meet the demand for multiple copies of software at substantial discounts.

Of the software released since publication of last year's edition of the guide, a Sunburst Communications' program--Green Glob and Graphing Equations--received the most "excellent" ratings from the 30 evaluation services ens surveys. Other software garnering high numbers of positive ratings included: Microtype--The Wonderful World of Paws, by South-Western Publishing Co.; The Newsroom, by Springboard Software Inc.; Geometric Supposer: Triangles, by Sunburst Communications Inc.; and LogoWriter, by Logo Computer Systems Inc.

The 146 programs detailed in the annual directory had to have received a minimum of two "excellent" or one "excellent" and three "good" ratings from the major evaluation services.

Copies of the 1987 edition are available for $21.95 (prepaid) from Education News Service, P.O. Box 1789, Carmichael, Calif. 95609, or call (916) 483-6159 for more information.

Users of the federal Office of Educational Research and Improvement's electronic bulletin board may have noticed that it was not operating in late August. Apparently, the personal computer used to run the service "just grew legs and walked away," said Tom Litkowski, an Education Department employee.

Almost 3,000 callers per month have been using the bulletin board since its capacity was expanded in April, he said. The free service for educators can be used to obtain tables of current education data, bulletins, and announcments of data tapes and reports. In addition, users can hold electronic conferences, send messages and electronic mail to other users, and make their own data available to others.

The bulletin board, which operates 24-hours-a-day, can be accessed by almost any type of microcomputer with communications software and a modem. The toll-free number for the bulletin board is (800) 222-4922. Further information can be obtained by calling (202) 357-6524.--ws

Vol. 07, Issue 01

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