Monday, August 28, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 6 

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$1.4M grant will promote new program to increase technology in education 

By Deanna Sheffield
Daily Cougar Staff

The UH College of Education will begin implementing a program designed to give future educators technology proficiency next week with help from a $1.4 million grant given to the college.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the grant, which will provide an average of $500,000 a year for three years, to the college last June.

The College of Education will head a group of secondary schools, community-based organizations and technology companies seeking to address the challenge of improving teacher education through technology proficiency.

Future teachers preparation programs will be transformed into "21st century learning environments," said Sara McNeil, a faculty member in the UH Instructional Technology Program Area.

Through new innovative programs, faculty members will be able to improve their technology skills and assist future teachers in developing technology proficiency, McNeil


"We have began working with faculty and contacting them to see what their technology needs are," said Melissa Pierson, UH assistant professor. "We hope to encourage faculty to use technology more in their programs."

The College of Technology will also transform its single required technology course into a series of technology sections to be taken over three semesters, which McNeil said will allow students to better develop proficiency in the latest technology.

"We have met with students this week to inform them (about the new program)," Pierson said. "Everyone was very positive and supportive."

Students will begin developing electronic portfolios throughout their studies at UH, and virtual campus resources in the form of traditional and online video collections will allow future teachers to gain what McNeil called "field-based experiences" with classroom technology.

"They'll be working on things from other classes and using technology to help them," Pierson said. "The goal is to graduate teachers who are comfortable with technology."

The College of Technology will also collaborate with Houston-area school districts to establish networked learning communities of university faculty, teachers and school-based educators, McNeil said.

In order for students to have immediate and flexible participation in the communities, they will all be able to buy or lease portable computers next year, McNeil said.

The $1.4 million grant, which was funded under the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology program, will be matched by UH and contributors including Apple Computer, MCI Worldcom and eight schools in the Houston area.

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