Sept. 10-16, 1999
IN THIS ISSUE
U.Va. gets $4 million cancer grant
Curry School bringing classroom technology to Bermuda
Improvements made for checking children's hearing

From the desk of. . .Tom Gausvik

Hot Links -- slave life
U.Va. Patents Foundation upgrades operations
Making hospitals safer workplaces
A solution for broken hearts
Free guide offered for sexual assault survivors
Conference on health-care ethics Sept. 16-17

Robertson Media Center open house Sept. 17

Johanna Drucker appointed to media studies chair
Newly digitized language lab makes learning a piece of kuchen

Off the Shelf

Benefit concert for Living Wage Campaign

TOP NEWS

Curry School bringing classroom technology to Bermuda

Curry School graduate student Philip Molebash, left, works with Joey Robinson, one of the lead Bermuda teachers incorporating technology into the classroom.

By Ida Lee Wootten

After U.Va. educators began working with teachers in Bermudan schools to help them learn how to use technology in their teaching, something unexpected happened: more of Bermuda's history will make its way into the electronic annals.

Faculty in U.Va.' Curry School of Education went to Bermuda this summer to help mathematics and social studies teachers modify traditional methods to incorporate technology in their instruction. The teachers are learning how to include the use of computers and software packages in their courses and what resources are available on the Web.

By accessing such primary sources as soldiers' diaries online through U.Va.'s Virginia Center for Digital History, the teachers learned new ways to make history seem personal and more interesting for their students. Having long decried the lack of Bermuda history in textbooks, the teachers decided to start a project in which high school students will interview island residents to gain first-person accounts of Bermuda's development. Their recollections, when placed on the Internet, will serve as a means of preserving the country's history.

Curry faculty will return to the island in November to continue helping teachers gain skills in using Web-based studies. In addition, a U.Va. graduate student is based in Bermuda this fall to help teachers with the digitized history project and other uses of technology in instruction.

"It's very exciting to work together to tell Bermuda's untold story," said Glen Bull, co-director of the Curry School's Center for Technology and Teacher Education. "The work will help change how history is viewed in Bermuda."

The partnership grew out of overtures last fall from Bermuda's Ministry of Education. After contacting U.S. education officials to learn which institutions might help the country incorporate technology into public school teaching, Bermudan officials learned that the Curry School has become widely known as a model for integrating technology into content areas. Bermuda officials visited the Curry School last fall to learn what services could be provided.

Along with Bull, Joe Garofalo, the other co-director, who specializes in mathematics education, and Cheryl Mason, an assistant professor who specializes in using technology in social studies instruction, proposed making on-site visits to acquaint teachers with educational technologies. They will also supplement those visits with holding videoconferences to allow real-time feedback on instructional strategies. Curry faculty expect that the program of videoconferences for the Bermuda teachers will span two years.

Curry faculty call such an approach "collaborative education." Using a whiteboard on which participants can write, the videoconferences unite Curry faculty with teachers in diverse geographic locations. Through high-speed connections via Internet2, faculty and teachers can engage in discussions and share ideas in real time.

A July videoconference on web design allowed Curry students to give Bermuda teachers feedback on their web sites. "It was rewarding to see the teachers so visibly excited about their web pages and the feedback they were receiving," Mason said.

With support from the Provost's Office, the Curry School has built two videoconferencing rooms and is planning two more in Ruffner Hall. "Collaborative education underscores the Curry School's commitment to public service," Bull said.

When it comes to math, Garofalo has demonstrated how to involve high schoolers in mathematical thinking through the use of graphing calculators, geometry programs, spreadsheets and other technologies.

"Our emphasis is on how technology can improve the student's educational experiences," Garofalo said. "For example, we use technology to enhance mathematics teaching and learning in ways that cannot be done without it. Technology allows us to represent and apply mathematics in ways that are not feasible with only paper-and-pencil methods."

As center co-directors, Bull and Garofalo work with an interdisciplinary group of U.Va. faculty and graduate fellows to help local school districts as well as peer institutions design, implement and assess curricula that integrate technology into teacher education programs.

 

Bermuda

  • A self-governing British colony consisting of seven main islands and about 170 small islets, totaling about 21 square miles, located approximately 650 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
  • Population: 62,570, about 60 percent African descent and 38 percent European, mostly British
  • Capital city: Hamilton
  • Founding: named for Spanish navigator Juan Bermudez, who discovered the islands in the early 1500s; around a century later a ship of British travelers bound for Jamestown, Va., was shipwrecked in Bermuda.


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