K-12 Teachers Garner Awards and Recognition After Participating in CRPC's GirlTECH
Launched in 1995 by the CRPC at Rice University, the highly successful GirlTECH program provides Houston-area K-12 teachers with intensive technology training and innovative teaching strategies that impact gender equity in the classroom. Sponsored by the CRPC and RGK Foundation of Austin, Texas, the program features an annual two-week summer workshop where teachers:
Standout Teachers from GirlTECH 1995
Boone, a mathematics teacher at St. Agnes Academy, was recognized in Roberta Furger's new book, Does Jane Compute?, for her work inspiring girls in math and computing. Her mathematics Web lessons have been cited by numerous Web-based education services. She serves as a lesson author for Datacast Learning Network and participates in the Park City/Institute for Advanced Studies Mathematics, among other activities.
"When I first participated in GirlTECH, the Internet was a novel item for educational purposes," says Boone. "The 20 teachers in our class blazed trails that other educators are following daily. I am honored and awed that I was part of that development, and I continue to grow and learn."
Computer science teacher Barbara Christopher of Eisenhower High School also was recognized in Does Jane Compute?. Her school's Web site was chosen as Star School of the Month by CEARCH and was featured in a textbook about educational Internet activities. Her online lessons have been featured on various educational Web sites, and she was part of a grant-writing team that helped her school become one of the 11 beacon schools in the Houston Annenberg Challenge.
"Since my first summer with GirlTECH, the potential of Internet publishing and collaboration has inspired me on a daily basis," says Christopher. "I started the first school Web site in our district. This led to my grant-writing activities and the projects that came from them. The Annenberg Challenge grant resulted in the Eisenhower After-School Technology Center and the Dynamic Website Project. I am currently working with several teachers on a multimedia training center funded last year by a Texas Technology Integration in Education (TIE) grant."
Woods is a technology specialist at Drew Academy, a magnet school for math, science, and fine arts. Until this year, she taught at Reed Elementary and used her GirlTECH experience to sponsor computer clubs, science activities, and field trips. She now is working on a proposal for a GirlTECH class that would use a synergistics laboratory and eight science- and math-related modules for girls to progress through. She is collaborating with the lab teacher, science coordinator, and math program director for the district, and has the endorsement of her principal, who will present the idea to the director of magnet schools for Aldine and the area supervisor.
"We don't have the final okay on this program yet, but if it is a go, I plan to have a speaker in the class once a month," she says. "We also have a distance learning lab that I plan to use, and will have a live feed from a female scientist, engineer, or mathematician every couple of weeks. I never would have had such ambitions were it not for my involvement in GirlTECH."
Standout Teachers from GirlTECH 1996
"An educator's responsibility has grown beyond the classroom walls and leads us to play an active role in specialized knowledge," says Lee. "GirlTECH offered the knowledge to help me respond to the needs of my school and science curriculum. The technology education gained helped with effective student assessment and demonstrated how computers in the classroom can be part of a well-managed program."
North, a computer science teacher from Elsik High School, has incorporated a web mastering course into her school's curriculum using skills she gained from GirlTECH. She facilitated a group of eight computer science teachers across Texas and from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to write the performance descriptors for the computer science Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS). They were able to develop this technology application area online, without having to meet. The area was passed 15-0 by the Texas State Board of Education. She recently served as president of the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Computer Science Special Interest Group and has made numerous presentations at conferences. In addition to her teaching activities, North uses her skills to benefit her community.
"I am active in community work and am education chair and treasurer of the Alief Community Association," she says. "We have a Web page that I hope will facilitate building the community. It was the spirit of giving and commitment that I gained from being around other hardworking teachers that gave me the motivation to do this work."
Jo Leland (right) and GirlTECH co-director Cynthia Lanius
Standout Teachers from 1997Jo Leland, a science teacher from Hidden Hollow Elementary, and Marilyn Turmelle, a computer science teacher from Klein Oak High School, already are gaining recognition and reaping the benefits of their GirlTECH training. Leland's school was selected to participate in the Symbolic Migration of Butterflies in 1997 and 1998, in which students in the United States and Canada make butterflies in the fall that are mailed to an organization called Journey North. The school is one of the "official Tulip Gardens" for Journey North, meaning the results of its program and approximately 10 others worldwide are reported as a means to track and predict the northern coming of spring. The butterflies contain friendly greetings written in Spanish to the children of Mexico. Leland built an online interdisciplinary lesson based on the project that includes connections with science, math, art, social studies, letter writing, Spanish, and word processing.
Turmelle worked with a small group of faculty members to write a successful grant proposal for $100,000 earmarked for wiring Klein Oak High School for Internet access. She enlisted four girls to help with a school-wide survey on current Internet access at home. The girls wrote and distributed the survey, analyzed the responses, and even signed the grant proposal. Turmelle is using the new technology made possible by the grant at her campus.
"My participation in GirlTECH has heightened my awareness of the lack of girls in computer science," says Turmelle. "Hearing other people talk about the problem underscores what I have noticed in my classroom. The greatest benefit of the program is the network created by the participants. There is a positive attitude and a willingness to experiment and share that is extremely rewarding."
| GirlTECH is co-directed by Dr. Richard Tapia, CRPC Director of
Education and Human Resources; and Cynthia Lanius, a former mathematics teacher at Milby High School and
CRPC Associate Director of Education, Outreach, and Training. Tapia won the
1996 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and
Engineering Mentoring and was the keynote speaker at the 1998 event (see
"Tapia Gives Keynote Address at White House Mentoring Award Symposium").
Lanius won a 1996 Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowship from the American
Association of University Women Educational Foundation.
Plans are underway for next year's GirlTECH workshop, with a proposal to bring three teacher/university teams associated with the Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) Education, Outreach, and Training (EOT) program. (See "PACI Projects at the CRPC," Winter 1998 Parallel Computing Research.) For more information, contact Lanius at email@example.com.
For more information about GirlTECH, including the special accomplishments of many other participating teachers, see http://teachertech.rice.edu/. For general information about the program, contact Danny Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org, 713-348-6011, or 713-348-5136 (fax).
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