Published Online: August 8, 2006
Published in Print: August 9, 2006, as Minnesota Teachers Get Engineering Software

Technology Update

Minnesota Teachers Get Engineering Software

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A high-tech firm has offered Minnesota teachers free mechanical-engineering and design software potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars in a bid to foster student interest in math, science, and engineering.

The Needham, Mass.-based Parametric Technology Corp. will give science and technology teachers software worth $5,000 per computer. John Stuart, the company’s senior vice president of education and partners, said the technology would allow students and teachers to create complex, 3-d designs and assemblies and is the same as that used to design cutting-edge products like Motorola telephones, Dell computers, and John Deere tractors.

After receiving training to use the software, teachers will each be licensed to install it on 300 computers.

While such other states as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have implemented similar programs on a smaller scale, the company said, Minnesota will make the technology available to every public and private school teacher. Schools or districts will pay to train the teachers themselves, a cost that Mr. Stuart estimated at $100 to $150 per teacher.

Minnesota public schools have more than 2,800 science teachers and more than 430 technology teachers, according to the state.

Fewer than 10 percent of Minnesota high school graduates pursue degrees in engineering, and of those, only about half earn a degree. Earlier this year, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, signed legislation mandating more rigorous high school mathematics and science courses.

Vol. 25, Issue 44, Page 15

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