July 14, 2000
Contact: Gemma McLuckie
College of Education and partners to boost teachers' technology skills
COLUMBUS -- Thanks to a $1.2 million federal grant, The Ohio State University College of Education will be a leader in a nationwide effort to improve technology use by teachers in urban classrooms.
The Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning Implementation Project, sponsored by a U.S. Department of Education grant, will address the "digital divide," the gap between students who have access to technology and those who do not, said Evelyn Freeman, director of the School of Teaching and Learning and co-principal investigator with Suzanne Damarin.
"The goal is to prepare teachers who will be able to enhance the learning experience of children in urban schools by integrating advanced technologies," Freeman said.
The Columbus Public Schools, Columbus Education Association and International Business Machines Inc., will partner with the College of Education in this effort.
"We have all heard promises to the effect that technology will 'cure' American education, and many promising ways to use technology in schools have been developed," said Damarin, a professor of educational policy and leadership. "This project will put some of these promises to the test in urban schools by supporting the thorough integration of technology into teachers' preparation, practice and support systems.
"Under an earlier grant we have been preparing for this work, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to carry it out," she said.
Ohio State will concentrate on revising its curriculum and programs so its students, who are preparing to be teachers, will be skilled in using technology. Once the grant goes into effect, 300 students enrolled in the college's Master of Education teacher preparation courses will immediately take part in the program. The college also will ensure future teachers get experiences teaching in technology-rich classrooms.
The grant comes as the Columbus district is spending $30 million to install more than 13,000 computers, a ratio of one for every five students. The district has begun to integrate the technology with classroom curriculum.
"This grant is very timely," said Sherry Bird Long, director of instructional information services for Columbus. She said the program would provide training in appropriate use of technology for teachers and Ohio State students alike.
The partners will provide faculty members and professional teachers' opportunities to incorporate technology into teacher training courses and during Ohio State students' experiences in the city schools. One project will set up interactive video so students will be able to watch experienced teachers using new equipment in two elementary schools and one high school.
"This program helps fulfill our vision of lifelong learning for professional teachers," said Judy Braithwaite, a consultant for the Columbus Education Association. She said the technology initiative continues more than 20 years of precedent-setting partnerships between the college and the teachers' union, including shared interactive videoconferencing technology and a joint Web site offering professional development courses.
The college will research the program's success in various disciplines, such as language arts, mathematics, science, social studies or elementary education, and disseminate its findings to schools and universities.