Science Teachers Workshops for Computer Training

  • Abstract

    The generation of biomedical scientists currently enrolled in secondary schools will be required to use the computer with ease and confidence as a tool for data collection data manipulation and modeling of complex biological phenomena. To increase that pool of future biomedical scientists who are able to use computers in this fashion the teachers of these students must have a sense of confidence in the use of computers as scientific tools. The use of computers in secondary education is growing rapidly; however the familiarity of the teachers with its use has not grown at the same pace as has the placing of the computers in the classroom. This proposal has four major objectives designed to address these issues. The first objective is to present the teachers with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the latest in computer technology and to improve their ability to make use of the computers which they already have available in their schools. The second is to provide them with the opportunity to focus on individual scientific disciplines. This training will enable teachers to make educated choices of appropriate software to use in lesson plans using computers already available in their schools. Third the teachers will be assisted in adapting existing scientific software for simple data analysis so that students can learn to use computers to analyze actual laboratory data. Finally new state-of-the-art equipment will be demonstrated to the teachers and they will be exposed to software under development so that they will become aware of future trends in educational computing. This program will focus on the faculty of entire science departments from a single secondary school. The investigaors have found that the simultaneous instruction of a group of teachers from a single school produces an interactive and self-reliant unit able to use and operate computers in the classroom. This last objective includes the additional benefit of enhancing the interdisciplinay nature of discovery and science teaching. This proposal is based upon the implementation of a pilot program made possible by the cooperation and coordination between Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the New Futures Program of Pennsylvania.