Partnerships for Improving Teacher Education

One theme that has emerged during the second year of the Teaching Teleapprenticeship project has been the need for partnerships for improving teacher education. We have been working closely with scientists and mathematicians, especially the faculty on our campus, many of whom are world class leaders in their fields. We are also working cooperatively with the Extramural Education branch of our University, the central university administration and our College of Education to improve network access for undergraduate students and for teachers taking continuing education classes. Our long-term goal is to help provide ongoing support for all K-12 schools in the state.

We have been also working with national organizations such as the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, with whom we are running joint workshops for teachers and other network infrastructure building efforts. For example, we are working jointly with NCSA to develop a WWW resources specifically oriented toward K-12 education in Illinois. We also are working with NCSA to develop CCNet, a prototype high speed network that explores a variety of advanced technologies (including cable and spread spectrum radio) for connecting urban, suburban, and rural areas.

We are working with the Illinois State Board of Education, NetIllinois (a non-profit organization that has as its goal the construction of a state-wide network in Illinois) and the Illinois Computing Educators to develop and implement plans for a K-12 state-wide IP network. Waugh is a member of the state-wide Coalition for Technology Committee, and also represented Illinois at the recent Secretary's Conference on Technology and Education in the Spring in Washington DC.

We have recently joined in a partnership with Microsoft to explore the use of their software tools in education. We plan to continue to work closely with NCSA, ISBE, Microsoft, and other groups to create a consortium of teacher education organizations throughout the state to work jointly toward the use of technology for improving teacher education.

We also have been working cooperatively with several other NSF-funded projects, including the Community of Explorers project, the Geometry Forum, the CoVis and National School Network Testbeds, and the Global SchoolHouse Project. Many of the methodologies and concepts developed in our project have proved useful for these and other leading research and development projects.

Through a matching grant arrangement with Apple Computer and the College of Education, this project has been able to acquire 60 PowerBook 145 laptop computers, which have been used by undergraduate students in several of the College of Education's innovative student teaching programs to provide a "bridge" between the College and K-12 schools. These groups were involved in school-based frameworks in which many of their classes are held in K-12 schools, co-taught by university and K-12 faculty.

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