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THE CUTTING EDGE / BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL | Previews

Great Idea--an Invention Convention

August 26, 1996

Necessity is the proverbial mother of invention, but sometimes there are other factors at work. How else do you account for products like laser-equipped alarm clocks and televisions with 360-degree screens?

Inventors of these and other innovative products may provide some insight this weekend at the Invention Convention in Pasadena, an annual event that brings inventors together with venture capitalists, licensing agents, patent attorneys, manufacturers and the public.

Experts will give seminars on the more mundane aspects of the invention process--patents and copyrights, licensing, marketing and distribution. Keynote speakers include Stanley Mason Jr., inventor of granola bars and the squeezable catsup bottle. New inventions will also be on display throughout the weekend.

The Invention Convention is open to the public Saturday through Monday at the Pasadena Convention Center. Tickets to the exhibit and seminars are $15 for one day and $25 for a three-day pass. For more information, call (213) 460-4408.

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Digital Donkeys: If you can't attend the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this week, follow along in cyberspace at http://www.democrats.org. In addition to audio and video coverage from the convention floor, you'll find a schedule of online chats and multimedia presentations of convention highlights. A page at the site will connect you with all the downloadable software you'll need to make the most of your cyber-visit.

Online

* The California Web Project (http://199.106.67.200/calweb/) encourages students to use the World Wide Web to unleash their creative efforts. Students can create home pages stocked with the fruits of their own research. A second-grade class, for example, posted a page about the famous people who have streets named after them. The site provides all the information necessary to add a page to the network.

* Students can participate in simulation activities with youngsters from other schools through the University of Michigan's Interactive Communications and Simulations program (http://ics.soe.umich.edu/ICS/ICS.html). The simulations for this school year include a role-playing exercise modeled on the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East, virtual field trips across Europe and Asia and to the North Pole, and a collaboration to create a poetry journal.

* With the Home Education Resources Center (http://www.cts.com/~netsales/herc), parents and children who are home-schooling don't have to be isolated. There's an extensive list of links to educational resources on the Internet--including materials on literature, science and other subjects--lesson plans for a variety of topics and a synopsis of state home school regulations.

* Kids Web (http://www.npac.syr.edu/textbook/kidsweb/) is a digital library for students. There are links to art, science and social studies pages broken down into easy-to-navigate categories.

* Web66 (http://web66.coled.umn.edu), a University of Minnesota project designed to help schools bring the Internet into classrooms, has a "cookbook" to help schools get set up on the global computer network. There's also a directory of how schools are using the Net and an e-mail discussion group of educators who are using the Web in their classrooms.

* The U.S. Department of Education's Web site (http://www.ed.gov) describes the initiatives it sponsors and offers the latest news from the federal agency, access guides for teachers and researchers and tips on financial aid.

* For a mega-list of elementary, junior high and high schools on the Internet, point your browser at http://www.sendit.nodak.edu/k12/.

* For a look at the possible shape of things to come, visit Cyber High School (http://www.webcom.com/~cyberhi), a private high school conducted entirely over the Internet.

Site suggestions can be sent to cutting.edge@latimes.com

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