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Technology Summit Explores Computing's Role in Education

Along the back of Lerner Hall were the vendors. A dozen or so technology companies that were hawking wares from digital blackboards to hand-held computer tablets. At the front, a huge video screen displaying power point presentations dwarfed the leaders of the conference, educational technologists from universities to the private sector.

Joshua Halberstam, an adjunct professor at TC and CEO of New York City-based Lambix, Inc., an on-line learning company, opened the event by saying, "E-learning is truly poised to transform education. But we're not there yet, not by a long shot." We need a much broader vision, an on-line roadmap, he added, and "TC is a natural home to begin the conversation."

The summit featured TC Professor Robert McClintock, the John L. and Sue Ann Weinberg Chair in Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education and head of the Instructional Learning Technology center at Columbia, and Brian Halla, CEO of National Semi-Conductors, as keynote speakers. McClintock laid out a history and some of the challenges and solutions technology poses to educators. Halla spoke passionately about his company's role in creating technology that can be used in classrooms, with emphasis on the microprocessors running in the sleek, thin, client computers.

Attending the summit were TC Professors presenting some of their research, speakers who have made outstanding contributions to educational computing, educators, administrators, entrepreneurs and students from across the country. Most came looking for answers to the questions they have about the direction of education and they found that while there are few answers, many others are asking the same questions.

"Teacher education is first and foremost about communication. It's not the cool stuff, it's how we can use technology to communicate effectively," said Ronald Verdicchio, Chair of the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at William Paterson University.

"We talk a lot at TC and it's nice to meet people who work in different settings and are interested in what TC can help them with," said Abby Lublin, a Spring 2001 graduate of the Communications, Computers and Technology in Education program at TC. "It would be nice to see actual partnerships, people who are here who can provide the money or expertise to work with the many ideas generated at TC."

Organizer of the event, Co-Director of Organization and Leadership, Peter Comeau, said, "My interest at TC has always been to use what the faculty knows to influence education and the development of educational programs and institutions. If the Internet is going to fulfill its potential as an educational tool, now is the time for TC to weigh in on the creation of tools, portals and institutions."

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