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Education School earns grants

The Curry School of Education now has $5.5 million more to use toward the instruction and training of current and future teachers in classroom technology because of three different grants they received this week.

The first two grants came from the U.S. Department of Education. A $2.8 million grant was bestowed upon the Education School's Center for Technology and Teacher Education. This grant will be given out over three years.

"In the next decade about half the nation's teachers will be replaced - we need to make sure they have [technology] teaching ability," said Glen Bull, associate Education school professor and Center for Technology and Teacher Education co-director.

Teachers will learn about technology use in different disciplines; for example, in math disciplines, teachers will be instructed in graphing calculator use. In science fields, instructors will learn how to connect probes and sensors to computers to collect scientific data, Bull said.

The Department of Education also requested that the Education School use the grant to do a national leadership conference on technology use next summer, he added.

The second Department of Education grant, totaling $1.5 million, was given to help fund Education Prof. Robert McNergney's program in the Education School.

There were about 537 proposals for grants, and about 225 were recommended for funding, McNergney said.

The grant will help fund a program where teachers "use technology to solve problems in schools," he said.

He added that through the program, teachers will learn how to use a set of Web-assisted courses developed by the Education School.

"Instructors from public schools will come to Charlottesville, and the University will teach them how to use those Web sites," McNergney said.

The third grant is a $1.2 million grant from Virginia Educational Technology Alliance. The grant will help the Education school support VETA's mission, which is, among other things, to "design, implement and disseminate model technology training initiatives that train teachers to integrate educational technologies into specific content areas; to share resources, expertise and research with post secondary and K-12 educational institutions in Virginia."

James Cooper, professor and former Education School dean, said the grant will help in "working with faculty in arts and sciences who are using technology to transform the way they study and think about their discipline."

Cooper said there were two important uses for the grant.

The first one is "to identify the number of resource centers for biology, history, political science, geography," etc., he said.

He added that the second aim is to "work with those faculty to make material more available to elementary and secondary school teachers."


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