Column: Computers

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Vanderbilt University's Institute for Public Policy Studies will use a $140,000 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to bring the information contained in an international electronic database to bear on studies determining how public policy affects childhood poverty in the United States.

According to Tim Smeeding, a professor of public policy and economics who directs the institute's Center for the Study of Families, the new investigation will expand on a previous study.

After analyzing data collected in the Luxembourg Income Study from 1979 to 1981, Mr. Smeeding concluded that the United States had the highest child-poverty rate of 10 industrialized nations studied.

As part of the new study, researchers will compare changes in the rates of childhood poverty using the 1979-81 data and data collected between 1985 and 1987.

They also will analyze the effect such factors as demographic and economic changes have on the probability of poverty, and the extent to which different rates of childhood poverty are correlated with different systems of of public assistance and their implementation.

Successful strategies for training English teachers to use computers effectively as teaching tools are documented in a new book from the National Council of Teachers of English.

In Computers in English and the Language Arts: the Challenge of Teacher Education, 31 contributors document the common threads among successful staff-development efforts in secondary schools and colleges.

The authors also discuss why many training programs fail.

Copies of the 300-page, paperbound volume are available for $16.50 each--$12.95 for n.c.t.e. members--from the n.c.t.e., 1111 Kenyon Road, Urbana, Ill. 61801. The stock number is 08172-0015.

A new software guide developed by the International Business Machines Corporation allows teachers to match educational objectives in language arts, reading, and mathematics with appropriate computer programs.

The i.b.m. Directory of Educational Objectives & Networkable Software is designed for use by teachers in grades K through 8. It contains a system of charts that cross-reference educational goals with appropriate software, as well as a separate section containing descriptions of "highly-rated networkable software" from i.b.m. and independent vendors.

Ibm is developing similar guides for secondary-school mathematics and science teachers and for teachers in General Educational Development degree programs.

Copies of the 194-page document are available from i.b.m. sales representatives for $10.75 each.--pw

Vol. 09, Issue 18

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