Computers to lead way for aspiring teachers College lab to prepare students for classes

April 29, 1996|By Lisa T. Hill | Lisa T. Hill,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Western Maryland College is about to provide a new technological link for Carroll County's public school teachers and some soon-to-be teachers.

Beginning in the fall, the college will open a computer laboratory that will not only complement college programs in library science and education, but will bring together county teachers and their student teachers before they work together in the classroom, said Dr. Kenneth Pool, dean of the library science graduate program.

Dr. Leroy Panek, an English professor and director of corporate and foundation relations at Western Maryland, said county teachers will go to the Westminster campus for a workshop over several days to learn how to use the computers.

Participants who are scheduled to begin student teaching will take an experimental course called Instructional Technology. Later, the students and cooperating teachers will work together on a lesson plan they will use in the classroom when student teaching assignments begin next spring.

"This is something no one has ever done before," said Dr. Panek. "Not only will it benefit the college and public schools, but it will serve as a model for new forms of education."

Dr. Panek said the program should make it easier for students to go into teaching after having worked with the teachers to whose classrooms they will be assigned.

"This is showing cooperation between our school and the public schools," said Christine Mathews, director of information services at Western Maryland.

Dr. Pool and Dr. Panek surveyed Carroll's cooperating teachers -- local teachers who play host to student teachers every year -- to find out how much they knew about computers.

Dr. Panek said the public schools all have new computers, but most teachers haven't been fully trained on them.

The survey showed that although nearly everyone knew how to use computers for word processing, only about 8 percent knew how to use multimedia programs or the Internet.

"We know that teachers need access to technology they can use as a teaching tool," said Gregory Eckles, director of curriculum and staff development for Carroll's public schools.

"But we need to also provide training."

Multimedia presentations employ graphics, sound, video clips and text as a high-tech teaching device.

"For teaching it is important because everyone learns in different ways," said Mrs. Mathews.

And Western Maryland's students will be able to use the computer techniques when they leave for teaching jobs.

The six Macintosh computers in the laboratory, which were dedicated last week, are the result of anonymous donations in honor of Dr. Margaret Woods Denman-West, who founded Western Maryland's library science graduate program.

Dr. Pool said the technology suite is only half finished and will be expanded within the next several weeks with the installation of Windows-based computers. By next fall, there will be 15 computers, he said.

College officials also are awaiting word from a national foundation that is expected to provide funding to allow students access to the Internet and the World Wide Web and to build their own multimedia presentations, Dr. Panek said.

Pub Date: 4/29/96

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