Two electronic networks are utilized in this project. Both are "gatewayed" through the UIUC campus network. The first network is the statewide electronic "FrEdMail" system on which principals, teachers, and students in K-12 schools around Illinois can at minimal cost exchange information and comments about curriculum and instruction with each other and with faculty and staff at UIUC. The second network is one developed by the College of Education over the past several years for its faculty, staff and students. These two networks are being expanded by merging with NetIllinois via collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education.
The College of Education at the University of Illinois has been operating a FrEdMail electronic bulletin board that is interlinked with over 300 other FrEdMail bulletin boards across the country.
Nearly all of the faculty at the College of Education have microcomputers on their desks which are interconnected to the campus-wide electronic network. Most of them use Eudora, a client-server electronic mail interface, that makes it easy for them to send and receive electronic mail over the Internet. We also have microcomputers dedicated to student use, which are interconnected to the campus network. Many students have been using the accounts provided by the university and the Eudora email application. An electronic "gateway" already exists between our FrEdMail node and one of the campus mainframe computers on the Internet, so communication between K-12 teachers and students on FrEdMail and our faculty and students on Internet has been relatively transparent. Thus much of the "infrastructure" needed to implement the TTa model has been created.
During the second year of this project, we continued to develop cutting-edge client-server communication tools for educational network interaction, which are being evaluated through innovative interaction frameworks called Teaching Teleapprenticeships to improve the preparation of science and mathematics teachers. We have been developing computer-based communication and organization tools that support these novel frameworks. In this second year, we have also been able to extend the range of these frameworks, integrating the use of computer-based networks into teacher education in several productive ways. We have continued evaluating their implementation in the diverse settings in which we first introduced them during the first year of this project, using those evaluations to improve the frameworks during the second year. In addition, we have implemented a number of new frameworks in additional teacher education courses. All these efforts have moved us closer to the goal of this project, to develop a variety of frameworks for using computers and networks to improve the education of science and mathematics teachers in ways that can be implemented across the nation.
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