Saturday, August 9, 2003

SciTrek Goes Batty With

SciTrek's new interactive exhibit, "Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats," brings the world of bats into the light of day, explaining the mysteries and dispelling popular misconceptions about bats. Using special effects, multi-sensory interactive displays, a Gothic castle, and lifelike environmental settings like caves and rainforests, the exhibit describes the ecological importance of these creatures and gives visitors a true appreciation of the bat world.

Dr. Merlin Tuttle, founder of Bat Conservation International (BCI), the international leader in conservation and education initiatives that protect bats and their habitats, served as a scientific consultant in the development of the "Masters of the Night" exhibit.

As visitors enter the exhibit, you get an opportunity to view the world as a bat sees it - upside down! The exhibit continues by walking you through the ages of time and the changing representations of bats over the centuries by different cultures around the world. A hall of bat portrait photography and a giant screen video introduce you to the real world of bats as diverse mammals that benefit the environment with their fascinating abilities.

You then enter a rainforest setting at dawn for a look at bats' habitats and appearance. Interactive displays demonstrate roosting habits, hibernation, echolocation (sonar ability), pollination, flight, and other key behaviors. Finally, the exhibit takes you through a curator's office where they can touch models of anatomical specimens and learn about current scientific research involving bats.

For more information about "Masters of the Night" and other exhibits at SciTrek, visit the website at

Friday, August 8, 2003

Get a Smart Start on the Upcoming School Year

The early years of a child's education, ages birth through five, are the most critical in a child's development. In fact, ninety percent of a child's intellect, personality and social skills are formed by age three. Studies consistently show that children who experience high-quality, stable child care demonstrate better language and math skills, are more able to form secure attachments with adults and other children, and develop better cognitive and social skills.

Despite the importance of early care, a significant number of Georgia's more than 500,000 pre-school-aged children do not have access to quality early care and education. Smart Start Georgia is changing this startling statistic by providing early care professionals with the skills they need to offer quality learning opportunities to Georgia's youngest children.

"At Smart Start Georgia, our aim is to improve the quality of early care and education for all children ages birth through five, promoting lifetime learning and ensuring greater achievement throughout the child's education and beyond," said Sharen Hausmann, director of Smart Start Georgia.

Through innovative programs, Smart Start Georgia provides financial support for early care professionals to continue their education, onsite assessment to foster improvement in early learning settings, and training to enhance learning environments across the state.

In its four-year history, Smart Start Georgia has developed a reputation as an agent for change, garnering much support from Governor Perdue and other officials throughout the state. Smart Start is a public/private partnership among the State of Georgia, the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, United Ways of Georgia, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and more than 40 additional supporting organizations.

For additional information on Smart Start Georgia or how to become involved, please call 1.877.STARTGA or visit

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Executive Director's Message

Welcome back to PeachStar and Georgia Public Broadcasting as you begin another new school year. We have made good use of the summer months through training opportunities around the state as well as developing new resources we hope you will find useful in your classroom and that we believe can have a positive impact as you work with students.

PeachStar's third annual Educator In Residence program took on a different shape this year, making use of regional training facilities and emerging technologies to expand our reach to include a greater number of educators in need of professional development. By including webcasting in our training repertoire, we are now able to provide professional development to an infinite number of educators around the state, live and via archived sessions you can access on demand. The article on page INSERT has more information about the program.

You will notice a significant change as you browse through the Listings section of this back-to-school issue of Pipeline. In response to repeated requests by educators, we have revised our approach to elementary program scheduling to reflect the scope and sequence of classroom instruction. We have shifted the program descriptions and copyright information to the website to allow for an expanded broadcast schedule. Descriptions are now presented chronologically and represent the actual breadth and flow of instruction, making it easier for you to incorporate PeachStar resources into your lesson plans. Middle and high school programming is organized into a daily schedule by subject area, and detailed course listings, as well as a tutorial, may be found online to assist you with the selection of videos appropriate to the courses you teach.

Our well-established services such as video streaming, video on request, and face-to-face trainings will continue throughout the school year as well, combining with our newly developed resources to provide you with the highest quality support for your endeavors on behalf of Georgia's learners. As always, we value your input and remind you that your feedback is crucial to shaping the development of our programs and services. Please contact us with any comments or concerns at

As the school year begins, GPB will be involved in two new initiatives that we hope will support and reinforce your efforts in the classroom. We will be working with Georgia's First Lady, Mary Perdue, on a statewide effort that begins with the First Lady's Summit on Our Children, which we will host at our headquarters facility in Atlanta and broadcast to selected sites around the state on Wednesday, August 27. The goal of the Summit is to build corporate, legislative and community resources for abused and neglected children. Also, Mrs. Perdue has designated September as Children's Literacy Month and will be working with GPB to encourage parents and care givers to read to their children. You will be getting more information from both Mrs. Perdue and from GPB about these initiatives.

All of us here at Georgia Public Broadcasting look forward to continuing our partnership with Georgia educators to bring our students the best in educational technology. Best wishes for a great school year.

James M. Lyle
Executive Director

Bringing Science Into the 21st Century with the US Army and eCyberMission

As teachers, one of our most important tasks today is kindling a passion for science within young learners. In order to help you do that, the United States Army has created eCyberMission, a national science fair competition that

* gives students ready access to professional scientists and engineers via the Internet
* targets students in grades 6 through 9
* correlates to National Science Education Standards
* is available to students at no cost
* offers young scientists a number of great prizes

The objective of the program is to foster interest in science among students across America. The Army sees eCyberMission becoming "the premier, inclusive science fair for the nation."

It is very easy for students to become involved in eCyberMission. Students in the same grade form into teams of three or four, select an adult advisor, and register online at the eCyberMission website located at Each team will then develop a science fair project in one of the following four broad areas: Health and Safety; Sports and Recreation; Environment; or Arts and Entertainment. Unlike a traditional science fair project, all work and experiments done in conjunction with eCyberMission will be submitted online.

The members of each team will have ready access to Army scientists and engineers who have volunteered their services to eCyberMission. These so-called "CyberGuides" will be available to answer students' questions and offer advice via private e-mail, chat sessions, and threaded discussion groups.

Once each team submits its completed project online, Army judges will evaluate entries based on stringent criteria and award prizes at the regional level. Top regional winners will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC to compete on the national level.

Registration for the next eCyberMission competition begins September 15, 2003. For more information about how your students can take part in this exciting new experience in science education, contact either Ms. Karin Santos at or by phone at (404) 464-6410 OR Mr. Francis Mazzochi at or (404) 464-5435. You may also visit the website at to look at last year's winning entries.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

PeachStar Congratulates This Year's Reading Rainbow Contest Winners

This year PeachStar and Georgia Public Broadcasting sponsored the Ninth Annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, a special event designed to challenge students from grades Kindergarten through three to use their creative abilities to write and illustrate their own stories. Take a look at this year's first place winners from each grade level, who will go on to represent Georgia in the national competition.

Kindergarten - Elizabeth Ann Gunter
Elizabeth, a six year old from Elberton, wrote a story entitled "Dr. Samantha Saves the Game." Her story, which features six original drawings, tells about Dr. Samantha, a mouse who happens to be a doctor, and the way she saves the football game by using her medical skills.

First Grade - Tyler Green

Tyler, a seven year old from Austell, wrote a story entitled "The Big Dog." His story, which features six original drawings, is a first-person account of his encounter with Ranger, a big dog that had gotten away from its owner, and how he came to be his regular bather.

Second Grade - Nazareth H. Hagood
Nazareth, a six year old from Stone Mountain, wrote a story entitled "The Red Tricycle." His story, which features six original drawings, tells of a mysterious red tricycle with extraordinary powers of locomotion.

Third Grade - Lydia Rutland Barnes
Lydia, a nine year old from Savannah, wrote a story entitled "Call-away Garden." Her story, which features seven original drawings, tells of a community of birds created by an industrious chickadee by the name of Mr. Dee, and their troubles with an intrusive hawk.

Monday, August 4, 2003

A New Leader for the Atlanta History Center

In Spring of this year, the Atlanta History Center was pleased to announce James H. Bruns as its new executive director. Mr. Bruns had previously worked with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., both as the founding director of the National Postal Museum and the director of development for the Smithsonian, responsible for institution-wide fundraising and development activities. He received a number of national awards over the course of his tenure at the Smithsonian, including the Smithsonian's Superior Individual Effort Award for 1994.

Bruns brings with him to the Atlanta History Center his experience as an educator, both as a school administrator and an instructional coordinator with one of the largest suburban school systems in the country. He has also worked for the United States Postal Service as a philatelic programs specialist, building on a childhood interest in stamp collecting.

"I am pleased and honored to have been selected," Bruns said of his appointment. "This is a remarkable opportunity and an exciting challenge. I am committed to ensuring that the Atlanta History Center retains its recognized role as one of the nation's leading historical organizations and I look forward to working with its Board and staff to serve the citizens of Atlanta. Together, we will continue to reach out to tell the story of all Atlantans."

The mission of the Atlanta History Center is to inspire people to connect to the past so they may better understand the present and prepare for the future. Visit the website at to learn more about they ways the Atlanta History Center integrates history, education, and life-enrichment programs to offer historical perspectives for all ages.

Saturday, August 2, 2003


For almost ten years now, PeachStar has provided Georgia educators and learners with the highest quality educational programming and professional development available. Originally reliant upon satellite delivery exclusively, PeachStar has consistently taken advantage of emerging technologies, allowing us to expand our delivery to include satellite, video, open-air television, CD-ROM, and the Internet.

In August 2001, PeachStar began offering K-12 educational programming via the Internet through our video streaming service in order to allow users across Georgia to access our programming anytime anywhere. Since its inception, utilization of video streaming has continued to increase steadily, indicating that you are ready and able to take advantage of content in a digital format.

The growing demand from educators statewide for professional development opportunities, combined with limited funding, has caused PeachStar to reconceptualize the way we offer not only our programming, but our training as well. The success of web-based resources like video streaming on the K-12 level led us to a search for other kinds of web-related resources that would allow us to train an increasing number of educators across the state in a way that would be both efficient and comfortable for our users. Our search led us to Webcasting, a progressively popular new technology that allows us to bring our traditional face-to-face training module up to speed with today's technological pace.

The idea of Webcasting is as easy to understand as taking apart its name. The 'web' part of the word means that the event takes place online. The 'casting' part refers to broadcasting. So Webcasting is simply broadcasting online. PeachStar has purchased special software that will allow us to bring live, interactive webcasts, as well as archived presentations that can be accessed on demand, to educators across Georgia. This may sound at first like we are just extending the use of video streaming to professional development video resources, but nothing could be further from the truth! The capabilities of Webcasting go far beyond simply streaming video.

In February of this year PeachStar held a pilot webcast screening with a number of select media specialists across the state. The purpose of the webcast was to introduce Webcasting to Georgia media specialists and to determine whether you felt the technology would meet your professional development needs. This original webcast presented a number of components that can be used for any scheduled webcast training, including:

* Live streamed video of the trainer presenting the information
* Synchronized PowerPoint slide presentations that accompany the video stream of the trainer
* Polls and surveys that participants can answer and see results from in real time
* A section where the presenter may post related documents for supplemental use by participants
* A question and answer feature that allows participants to dialogue with the trainer in real time

Feedback provided by pilot participants about their Webcasting experience was overwhelmingly positive. Media Specialists indicated that they would embrace Webcasting technology as a training medium and cited such benefits as its convenience and maximization of their time.

Not only does this technology allow educators to participate in live trainings via the Internet, but it also enables PeachStar to provide you with complete professional development modules on demand. PeachStar's Webcasting software automatically records live presentations as they are ongoing, allowing for the later editing and archiving of the module online for viewing at a later time. As PeachStar staff continue conducting live trainings using Webcasting technology, we will create a growing online repository of complete training modules available for use at any time convenient to you.

Your computer should meet the following specifications to most effectively use Webcasting technology:

* Has an Intel Pentium 4 processor-based system
* Has at least 256 MB of RAM
* Has Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.5 or later
* Has Windows Media Player version 7.1 or RealOne Player installed

The faster your Internet connection, the better the quality of the webcast will be. If you will be viewing the professional development modules on your school computer, you will probably have a T-1 connection, which will provide for a smooth transmission of data. If you are using your computer at home, it is preferable to use a DSL or cable line, but you may also use a standard analog connection, though the quality of the webcast will be diminished.

Now that you know what Webcasting is and what equipment and software you need to utilize it, let's talk about how to register to participate in one of PeachStar's live online professional development trainings. Once a webcast is scheduled, you may visit the PeachStar website at and click on the Professional Development Webcasting icon. Select and click on the training of your choice to go directly to an online registration page. After you have completed the registration form, you are all set. PeachStar's Webcasting software will automatically send you a reminder notice shortly before the scheduled date of your selected training.

PeachStar's first ten live webcasts will be conducted as part of the Institute for New Media Specialists, which began with regional trainings in late June. The ten online modules will be presented live to the cohort of educators taking part in the Institute between August and March, and will later be edited and archived for viewing by any educator.

Continue to look at the PeachStar website throughout the coming school year to find additional professional development webcasts as well as face-to-face trainings as they are scheduled.