K-12 Teachers Trained in Creating Internet Resources for the Classroom

Thirty-four Houston-area K-12 mathematics, science, and computer science teachers received intensive computer technology training and explored diversity issues in the computational sciences at an annual workshop held July 6 - 17 at Rice University. Supported by the CRPC and the RGK Foundation of Austin, Texas, the GirlTECH/Mathematical and Computational Sciences Awareness (MCSA) Workshop was the latest of 12 annual CRPC workshops aimed at encouraging minorities and women to pursue math and science careers.

Over the course of the two-week workshop, the teachers learned to use online resources as a research, teaching, and collaboration tool; created their own homepages, designed and published Web-based math and science curricula, and created homepages for their schools; made a one-year commitment to advanced training (three Saturday sessions) and to an integration of technology into their teaching practices; received year-long Rice University Internet accounts and the software needed for Internet access; gained an awareness of the latest research in the computational sciences and heard from business and industry leaders about their expectations of students for the 21st century; became members of the CRPC's ongoing teachers' technology electronic support group that communicates throughout the year; and established student technology projects at their campuses to ensure a transfer of knowledge to their students.

"Technology does not discriminate, but offers an opportunity for the broadest and most diverse population to contribute and grow," said program co-director Dr. Richard Tapia, CRPC Director of Education and Human Resources. "Our workshop addresses and strengthens this trend." Tapia won the 1996 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Co-director Cynthia Lanius, a former mathematics teacher at Milby High School and CRPC Associate Director of Education, Outreach, and Training, won a 1996 Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowship from the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. "I am always inspired that teachers will voluntarily give up two full weeks of a very much needed vacation just to increase their knowledge and skills,"she said. "This year's teachers really hit the computer lab like gangbusters."

Master teachers for Internet training included Marcella Dawson of Saint Anne's School (Houston), Karen Shaw of Revere Middle School (Aldine ISD), Molly Silha of Grantham Middle School (Aldine ISD), Marilyn Turmelle of Klein Oak High School (Klein ISD), and Judy Woods of Reed Intermediate School (Aldine ISD). Philip Blaiklock of the CRPC served as technical coordinator.

"The workshop technology teachers were awesome, very patient and understanding. I learned more than I could have ever imagined," says Tracey Zienteck of Durham Elementary. "The lectures were very thought-provoking. I was aware that the gender equity problem existed, but did not realize that it was so prevalent in the field of math and sciences."

"I committed to GirlTECH so I could learn all this neat technology involving the Internet and computers," says Peggy Schweiger, a physics teacher at Klein Oaks High School. "I was surprised to discover that what had the greatest impact on me professionally was the message that teachers must evolve and continously challenge and encourage their students. The GirlTECH presenters were there because of a desire to help teachers do a better job. In different words, they all said the same thing: be the type of teacher who can see the spark of greatness that all children carry, and nurture this spark so that it grows."

Plans are underway for next year's 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 lanius@rice.edu.

For samples of work by this year's GirlTECH/MCSA participants, see http://teachertech.rice.edu/Participants/. For general information about the program, contact Danny Powell at danny@rice.edu, 713-348-6011, or 713-348-5136 (fax).

Chuck Koelbel of the CRPC conveys some of the main concepts of parallel computing to GirlTECH 98 participants through an entertaining juggling analogy.

GirlTECH98 participant Diann Resnick, from Bellaire High School in the HISD, enjoys a lunch break.

GirlTECH98 participants Sharon Sanford (Worthing High School), Vernetta Howard (E.O. Smith Education Center), Pamela Dugar (Cunningham Elementary), and Ruby Prince (S. C. Red Elementary) discuss what they are learning about computer technology.

GirlTECH98 participants hear Rice SaS students describe their advanced research projects and also hear the minority students at Rice describe what teachers can do to encourage their K-12 minority students to pursue science, math, or engineering careers.

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