Mass. Center To Seek Ways To Better Use Technology in Teaching

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One of the largest teacher-training institutions in Massachusetts has received a $10-million federal grant to build a state-of-the-art research center to investigate ways to better incorporate technology into science and mathematics teaching.

Bridgewater State College will use the grant to help improve its Old Colony Center for Technological Applications, which has also received support from the National Science Foundation.

Researchers are already at work under the center's aegis to devise ways to integrate math teaching into the middle- and high-school science curriculum.

The federal grant will allow the college to provide researchers with a technologically advanced new building and to expand the center's work, said David Wilson, a spokesman for the college.

The total cost of establishing the new facility is estimated at $12.5 million, he said.

The federal money came in the form of an item in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill that President Bush signed into law in early August.

The grant was inserted in that bill by Representative J. Joseph Moakley, Democrat of Massachusetts, whose home district includes the college.

Funding Called 'Crucial'

The federal money will allow Bridgewater to become a "major force nationally in teacher education," said John W. Bardo, the college's vice president for academic affairs.

Mr. Moakley said in a statement that funding for the center "is crucial because it will educate and train workers, thus provid[ing] a qualified regional labor force that will be a major attraction to new business." He added that southeastern Massachusetts, the region from which the college draws a majority of its students, is experiencing an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent, the state's highest.

The new building is designed to contain full-scale science and electronic laboratories that double as television studios. Science-education programs recorded in the labs will be transmitted by satellite around the region and across the nation.

Mr. Wilson added that the grant will fund the development of a fiberoptic communications network linking buildings on campus and the campus with other schools.

The building also is planned to contain a "teacher technology resources center," where educators can sample the latest electronic teaching tools, including videodisks and microcomputers.

The college hopes to develop and disseminate a national model for cooperation and partnership between educators and the private sector in the teaching of math, science, and applied technology.

The center also is expected to have an impact on teaching in the region's elementary and secondary schools through in-service programs for teachers and direct "hands on" programs for students.

Ground is expected to broken for the new building next spring.

Vol. 11, Issue 04, Page 8

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