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E.D. Awards $1.2 Million To Spur Use of Technology

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Washington--The Education Department has awarded four grants totaling $1.2 million to school districts and education groups to spur innovative uses of educational technology.

The grants are the first competitively awarded under the Secretary's Fund for Innovation in Education: Technology program.

For the last two years, funds from this program were transferred to the National Science Foundation to support "Square One TV," an educational-television mathematics series.

The grantees, selected from among 163 applicants, have proposed to use such media as videodisks, videotape, and multimedia platforms to teach mathematics, science, and foreign languages.

The grants were made to the following recipients:

The National Science Teachers Association, which will use its $401,180 grant to develop technology-based assessment tools for its "Scope, Sequence, and Coordination" project.

The curriculum project is designed to devise alternatives to the traditional "layer cake" approach to the teaching of science to middle- and high-school students. The n.s.t.a. recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to support the project. (See Education Week, Oct. 3, 1990.)

The n.s.t.a. plans to produce interactive videodisks that would assess student knowledge by allowing students to develop models, conduct experiments, and make hypotheses. Such skills are difficult to assess using conventional pencil-and-paper exercises.

The assessment will be field tested in schools in California and Texas.

New York University, which will use its $328,000 grant to develop video homework programs for 8th-grade math classes.

The university will design and produce a pilot series of three 10- to 15-minute programs with accompanying print materials.

The Richmond (Calif.) Unified School District, which will use its $342,000 grant to develop multimedia classroom materials to teach foreign languages to elementary-school students.

The focus for the pilot project will be attempts to teach Japanese and Spanish to 4th and 5th graders in six schools.

The district will collaborate with Lucasfilm Learning, a firm founded by the filmmaker George Lucas, and the International Business Machines Corporation to produce the materials and software.

The Philadelphia School District, which will use its $162,301 grant to develop videotaped programs to improve science instruction for elementary- and secondary-school students with limited English proficiency.

The programs will be developed in English as well as in Spanish, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Russian, and in the Cantonese dialect of Chinese.

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