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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Grant extends reach of K-12 teacher training program

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 29 - April 24, 1997

An additional 12 teachers with the Montgomery County Public Schools will receive training in the use of the Internet as a teaching tool, thanks to a $35,400 Eisenhower Grant awarded by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to Virginia Tech computer science Professor John M. Carroll, postdoctoral Research Associate Juergen Koenemann, and Montgomery County Public Schools Supervisor of Technology Larry Arrington.

Carroll is director of Tech's Center for Human Computer Interaction. Center faculty members and students work in close cooperation with local high-school and middle-school teachers on the development of Internet-based technology such as real-time collaborative control of simulation software for high-school physics and middle-school physical-science classes. The software allows students at different locations to share resources and collaborate across schools on projects.

The center received a $1.1-million NSF research grant under the Networking Infrastructure for Education program last year. The Learning in Networked Communities (LiNC) project uses information from K-12 students to evaluate classroom use of technology and to design and evaluate software for the classroom. The students and teachers themselves are involved on the design team and throughout development of educational software and technology-based programs.

The Eisenhower grant program is intended to leverage the LiNC project. A two-week Summer Institute with extended, computer-mediated follow-up throughout the school year will equip 12 participating middle-school and high-school science teachers from the Montgomery County School System with the necessary knowledge and skills to integrate Internet technology in general and collaborative Internet applications developed by the LiNC project in particular into their classrooms.

Teacher-participants will learn about basic and advanced Internet technology and science and education resources on the World Wide Web in a hands-on fashion. Summer Institute participants will learn to apply this knowledge to the design of classroom activities for their classroom, guided by experienced teachers and technology experts from the LiNC project. Follow-up activities will use Internet technology such as video conferences to provide support and monitor progress.