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January 1993


While classes at most schools were winding down, CRPC, in collaboration with the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP), was just gearing up for GirlTECH '95, a one-year, NSF-funded teacher training program aimed at encouraging more young women to pursue careers in mathematics and science.

At the kick-off meeting, held on May 15 at Rice University, a diverse group of 22 Houston-area K-12 mathematics, science, and computer literacy teachers received IBM notebook computers with internal modems and software for Internet connection in preparation for their training.

Over an intense, four-week training session in June, these teachers first examined how technology can more effectively be used in K-12 classrooms and how it can be made more appealing to girls. Next, participants used their notebook computers to develop teaching materials that would not only be pedagogically sound, but also appeal to girls. These 22 GirlTECH teachers then test-drove their materials before an additional 100 teachers attending a concurrent RUSMP workshop.

By joining forces with RUSMP, a program initiated in 1987 to bridge the Rice mathematics community and Houston-area mathematics teachers, GirlTECH participants not only received valuable feedback on the teaching materials they had designed, they automatically became part of an existing network of more than 600 CRPC- and RUSMP-trained teachers.

Throughout the upcoming school year, GirlTECH teachers will use their notebook computers in their classrooms and at workshops and conferences to access the Internet and share their newfound expertise on gender issues and computer technology.

GirlTECH project leaders include Ken Kennedy, Linda Torczon, Richard Tapia, and Project Manager Cynthia Lanius, who estimates that, "In the first year alone, these 122 newly trained teachers will impact at least 30,000 Houston-area students." In addition to her commitment to GirlTECH, Lanius, whose daughter is an engineer, teaches high school mathematics, serves as a Mathematics Support Teacher for the Houston Independent School District, and directs two projects linking Houston- area schools to RUSMP.

To carry GirlTECH's focus on gender issues and technology into the classroom, Lanius proposes that GirlTECH "graduates" establish GirlTECH "Student Councils" at their schools. In the years to come, she envisions that these student councils will become autonomous and self-supporting, and spread GirlTECH outside Houston to Texas and the nation.

For more information on GirlTECH '95, contact the URL: http://teachertech.rice.edu/. For information on other CRPC Women's Programs, contact the URL: http://www.crpc.rice.edu/CRPC/Women/.

Left to right: Houston middle school teacher Kirk Francis, high school teachers Stacey Reinstra and Steve Simmons, and middle school teacher Chandra Jones participated in GirlTECH '95, where they learned how to effectively bring computer technology into the classroom and encourage more young women to pursue careers in mathematics and science.

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