Tech4Learning seems to be dedicated to providing innovative professional development and support for
those using their products. Students
and teachers are provided access to a
sizeable collection of images, templates,
and lesson plans related to Pixie. The
Pixie Activities library provides student
activities related to math, science, social
studies, and language arts. The Recipes for Success Web site (http://www.
recipes4success.com) links to many of
these resources. Professional development opportunities are offered, such as
the Developing Early Learning Foundation’s workshop (http://www.tech4le-
arning.com/staf fdev/ px_early.html),
though fees are attached to these.
Pixie’s goal of empowering students to learn by creating meaningfu l
classroom projects aligns well with
ISTE’s refreshed NETS•S (http://www.
iste.org/nets). Teachers may want to
review other paint/photo-editing options, such as KidPix or TuxPaint, to
determine the tools that best meet
their classroom needs. In my view,
Pixie 2 is a solid choice.
$44.95 single/$179.95 lab pack ( 5)
Savilla Banister is an associate
professor of classroom technology at Bowling Green State
University. Dr. Banister taught
visual arts in elementary
schools prior to her tenure at
BGSU. She continues to work
with K– 12 teachers as they integrate multimedia
technologies into their classroom, and volunteers
as L&L’s curriculum specialist in the visual and
By Jared Mader and Ben Smith
Science Seekers from Tom Snyder Productions is an excellent
source for environmental studies and guided research for students.
It is designed for grades 5–8 and
requires students to work collaboratively to solve an authentic problem.
We reviewed the Safe Groundwater
curriculum, but there are also challenges in The Changing Earth and
Ecosystems in Balance.
The mission of the program is to
identify, as a class, who is polluting
the groundwater of the town. Stu-
dents work in collaborative groups to software integrates a Student Picker
become Science Experts. The program to see that all students are completing
explains the roles and responsibilities their own work. Students can view
of the group members, going beyond the answers and must get all ques-the typical group work model. After tions correct before moving on.
watching a video as a class, students Also included in the Teacher’s
read in their booklets and then work Guide are hands-on science activi-as a team to ensure that each group ties. While the activities are optional,
member understands the objectives of these short labs strengthen the prod-his or her task. The booklets provide uct’s science value. The activities
reading strategies to help students require students to collect data, make
work through their material as stu- graphs, provide observations, and
dents answer questions. To ensure an draw conclusions. The final problem
equitable distribution of work, the requires students to make thought-
Topic-related questions generate class discussion.
Students receive briefings from real scientists, providing critical
information for their mission.