Dallas, TEXAS — With support from federal research agencies, professional associations and leading hardware and software manufacturers, a new program to train teachers from around the country in new ways to apply computers to solving scientific problems in the classroom will be launched in November at SC2000, the annual conference of high performance networking and computing.
Supporters of the program are the National Science Foundation, Association for Computing Machinery, Compaq Computer Corporation, High Performance Systems, IEEE Computer Society, Microsoft Corporation, NASA, Shodor Education Foundation and Wolfram Research. The program will be launched on Nov. 4 when SC2000 convenes in the Dallas Convention Center. The conference continues through Friday, Nov. 10.
The program, initiated under a $1.13 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will bring together 25 teams of four teachers each for a week of immersive training at SC2000 followed by monthly seminars and a Summer Institute the following summer in Huntsville, Alabama. A second group of 25 4-teacher teams will begin a similar training program at SC2001 next year in Denver. The results of the project will be a comprehensive set of classroom modules that follow national education standards and are available to all high schools across the country.
Thanks to a donation of state-of-the-art laptop computers from Compaq Computer Corp., the teachers will literally receive hands-on training in using computers to facilitate scientific research in the classroom. The teachers will take the computers back to their schools after the week of training to continue participation in the 18-month program. This project will also utilize the modeling package Stella from High Performance Systems, Excel from Microsoft Corporation, and Mathematica from Wolfram Research as modeling and simulation building blocks for the classroom. The program is designed to incorporate computational science, an emerging method of scientific investigation that complements the traditional methods of theory and experimentation. Computational science allows researchers to test theories through computer modeling and simulations and then check the accuracy of their work by comparing the results with those of laboratory experiments.
The participating teacher teams were selected earlier this year and represent 18 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, along with a U.S. Department of Defense school for military dependents in Germany. The teams are mainly composed of high school teachers, and 44 percent of the teams come from lower-income areas. More than half of the teams represent schools with high minority populations, and about two-thirds are from rural school districts.
SC2000 is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture. For more information about the conference, go to http://www.sc2000.org/ .