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Center for Technology and School Change Helps Educators Get Web Savvy

This past fall, the Center for Technology and School Change at Teachers College offered several Internet workshops to help educators dive into the digital age.

As more schools are connected to the Internet, educators need to get Web savvy and find ways to incorporate Internet technology into the classroom. This past fall, the Center for Technology and School Change at Teachers College offered several Internet workshops to help educators dive into the digital age.

"Everyone is interested in the Web," said Howard Budin, Director of the Center for Technology and School Change. "We want to make sure teachers know how to use the Web and integrate it into their curriculum." While the Center for Technology and School Change has offered Internet workshops in the past, there has since been a change in the curriculum. There used to be only one workshop several years back, according to Budin, but there was so much content to go over that the workshop was broken out into several different segments.

In addition to covering the technology behind creating a Web site, there are other issues that the workshops also address. In "Publishing on the Web as an Educational Activity," one workshop that was held in November, instructor Brigitte Magar also touched on the design and writing aspect of creating a site; selecting the right software tools; dealing with school policies; making the parents aware of the project; and the plight of convincing school officials that it's a worthwhile project.

Yukako Otsubo attended that workshop and found its attention to those other issues particularly helpful. Otsubo is a student at TC in the International Education Development master's program, and a native of Tokyo. She works with students in the High School Transitions Intensive English Language Program, which is run by the New York City Technical College. The language immersion program focuses on teaching immigrant, high school age children ways to improve their reading and writing skills, in part through the use of the Internet.

"Computers are essential and (provide) good skills and a good resource for improving language," said Otsubo. "It is also essential for (those students) to type into a computer and to feel comfortable doing that." Otsubo shows the students how to use the Internet for research, such as the correct way to search for information-including keywords and use of different search operators-and by having the students look at other Web sites to read and evaluate articles. Especially of interest to the students is information on U.S. citizenship and the Bill of Rights online.

Rena Schklowsky is another workshop attendee who incorporates Internet technology in the classroom. She runs the computer lab at P.S. 9-and recently, the school received the Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. The grant is being used for an after-school program that Schklowsky teaches. The program combines 26 fourth and fifth grade girls of mixed economic and cultural backgrounds as well as varying learning levels. The program focuses on technology and communications skills. "I want them to take ownership of the computer skills they have-not just playing games-but to learn the inner workings of computers," said Schklowsky.

Schklowsky also hopes to teach the girls how to create a Web site so they can gain an overall sense of accomplishment. "My goal is to strengthen skills; therefore, strengthening their feel for self-worth." Schklowsky believes there is a strong correlation between academic achievement and positive self-image. "It will build self-esteem since (the girls) will gain skills other kids don't have that they can then share."

For information on the Spring 1999 workshops, visit the Center's Web site at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/~academic/ctsc/.

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