Islands Past Is Coming To Light, Thanks To Technology And
Cooperative Efforts With U.Va.
Sept. 9, 1999 -- As University of Virginia
faculty and students work with educators in Bermuda schools to help
them learn how to use technology in their teaching, something unexpected
has happened: some of the island's untold history is beginning to
in U.Va.'s Curry School
of Education began working with mathematics and social studies
teachers in the self-governing British colony this summer to help
them incorporate technology in their instruction. Curry faculty,
for example, are helping social studies teachers modify their traditional
instructional methods to include the use of computers and software
packages and to learn about the resources available on the Web.
accessing such primary sources as soldiers' diaries online through
the 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
interview island residents to gain first-person accounts of Bermudas
three-fifths of Bermuda's population are descendants of African
slaves. Other Bermudans include descendants of Portuguese laborers
and British colonists. The students' interviews with the island's
residents, when placed on the Internet, will serve as a means of
preserving important history.
faculty will return to the island in November to continue helping
teachers gain skill 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
very exciting to work together to tell Bermuda's untold story,"
said Glen Bull, co-director of the Center for Technology and Teacher
Education in U.Va.'s Curry School. "The work will help change
how history is viewed in Bermuda."
partnership grew out of overtures Bermuda ministry of education
representatives made last fall. After contacting U.S. education
officials to learn which institutions might help the country incorporate
technology into public school teaching, they 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.
Garofalo, a co-director of the Center for Technology and Teacher
Education who specializes in mathematics education, and Cheryl Mason,
an assistant professor who specializes in using technology in social
studies instruction, worked with Bull to develop a proposal for
how the school could work with Bermuda teachers. They proposed making
on-site visits to acquaint teachers with educational technologies
and supplementing those visits with videoconferences. Curry faculty
expect that the videoconferences will continue for two years as
a key part in the schools "collaborative education"
high-speed connections via Internet 2, faculty and teachers can
engage in discussions and share ideas in real time. For instance,
a videoconference in July on Web design allowed Curry students to
give Bermuda teachers comments 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.
addition to helping Bermuda social studies teachers, the Curry faculty
and students are helping math teachers incorporate technology in
their instruction. For example, Garofalo is demonstrating how to
involve high schoolers in mathematical thinking through the use
of graphing calculators, geometry programs, spreadsheets, and other
some schools embrace technology as a way to reduce costs, the Curry
School takes a different approach, Garofalo said. "Our emphasis
is on how technology can improve the student's educational experiences.
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."
center co-directors, Bull and Garofalo work with an interdisciplinary
group of U.Va. faculty and graduate fellows to help school districts
as well as peer institutions design, implement and assess curricula
that integrates technology into teacher education programs.
more information contact Glen Bull at (804) 924-4617 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
Joe Garofalo at (804) 924-0845 or email@example.com, or Cheryl Mason
at (804) 924-3121 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857