||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Teachers Learn New|
Ways to Use Technology
MAILED: July 2, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE With $130,000 in funding from a UW-Extension and UW System grant, many teachers in northwestern Wisconsin will become even more familiar with using technology in instruction.
And in some instances, they never have to go further than the office computer.
The grant, written by Sue McIntyre and Robert Hollon, will allow the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and UW-Stout to work with kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in the Cooperative Education Service Agency 11 school districts.
"We're using a variety of technology to provide professional development through distance education to schools in the CESA 11 district," said McIntyre, chair of the department of Curriculum and Instruction. The project will last three years.
The System grant is provided under Gov. Tommy Thompson's "Teach Wisconsin" initiative, McIntyre said.
More specifically, the money received by the CESA 11 grant came from the UW System PK-16 initiative, which has given money to six UW System schools this year and will focus on technology in the Milwaukee Public Schools in its next phase.
The grant money may be used for fiber, Internet, professional development for teachers and/or curriculum development for teachers, McIntyre said.
UW-Eau Claire's work with CESA 11, the school districts in northwestern Wisconsin including Turtle Lake, Spooner and Frederic, began earlier this summer as they worked to create "virtual learning technology communities."
"It is important because there is a whole lot of fiber going right up to their doorsteps and they don't know what to do with it," McIntyre said.
Among the benefits is the cost effectiveness of the program. For instance, a school district may not be able to afford to hire a teacher for a specific course, but through the distance education and video conferencing technology they may be able to help hire a shared instructor, splitting the cost with other school districts, McIntyre said.
Another spin off of the grant includes the use of compressed video to link with teachers in northern Wisconsin through desktop video conferencing.
McIntyre said the video equipment costs about $500, including the video board and a camera.
This fall, three UW-Eau Claire student teachers will intern at schools in Spooner, Turtle Lake and Frederic in $3,000 paid positions thanks to the video conferencing capacity, McIntyre said. McIntyre, Robert Hollon and Mona Majdalani will supervise the students.
"Not only will we be driving up there to see the students, each one will get a case with a portable computer and a camera that they will be able to set up in the classroom so we can watch from UW-Eau Claire," McIntyre said.
The system is called Suportel, or Supervision Using Portable Teleconferencing Technologies.
Because of the success of the CESA 11 grant, Hollon and McIntyre wrote another grant for CESA 10, which includes Eau Claire. It received $56,000 in funding and will begin work this fall with teachers in the CESA 10 district, working with UW-Eau Claire's pre-service teachers as technology mentors.
For more information on the department of Curriculum and Instruction project, visit http://www.uwec.edu/academic/ci/vltc/vltc.html on the World Wide Web.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 7, 1998