In 2000 Dr. Paul E. Resta, Dr. Jere Confrey and Dr. Anthony Petrosino of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction received a three-year, $800,000 Department of Education “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology” (PT3) grant for project INSITE, Inventing New Strategies for Integrating Technology in Teacher Education, a collaborative project between the College of Education, the College of Natural Sciences and the Austin Independent School District. The project was granted a one-year, no-cost extension and ended in May 2004.
The goal of the project was to develop a scalable model for technology-infused educational preparation for the next generation of middle and high school teachers of mathematics and science. The project supported the UTeach Program for science and mathematics educators and facilitated collaboration between College of Education teacher education faculty, content faculty in the College of Natural Sciences, and the cooperating teachers in AISD. Students in this program received a technology-rich experience, with technology integrated into the curriculum of their Education methods courses, Natural Science content courses, and in the classrooms of their AISD cooperating teachers. The students were then well prepared to integrate technology into their own teaching.
Activities of the project included setting technology requirements and standards for the students’ portfolios, supervising graduate students who assisted faculty with technology integration, and training cooperating AISD teachers in the use of technology.
Dr. Resta is the Director of the Learning Technology Center and a professor of Instructional Technology in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Dr. Confrey was Director of the Systemic Research Collaborative for Education in Math, Science, and Technology (SYRCE) and a professor in Science and Mathematics Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the time of the project. Dr. Petrosino is an assistant professor in Science and Mathematics Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Melissa Tothero coordinated project activities. Dr. Jill Marshall served as the project’s liaison to the College of Natural Sciences. Youngwoo Kim created and managed the INSITE Web site.
The project’s website was launched February 2001. It was the hub of the INSITE cybercommunity, providing a space where members could share expertise and find the latest science, math and technology education news.
Highly skilled math and science teachers were chosen as PT3 Fellows each summer of the project. They attended Technology Leadership Learning Community workshops and then served as cooperating teachers for the UTeach student teachers and as technology mentors to other teachers in their schools. Each Fellow received a Dell Notebook computer, an LCD projector, a Palm handheld, and a stipend.
Training for PT3 Fellows was provided in a unique way. The teachers were asked what they wanted to exploring and what software and equipment they wanted to learn to use. During summer workshops they received a laptop computer, Palm handheld, and multimedia projector, funded by AISD, and are trained to use them in their own curriculum. They created something they can use later in their teaching, such as a PowerPoint presentation or a Web site.
Back in the classroom, the teachers had access to a technical help "hotline" and received further training during the year. PT3 Fellows said they appreciated the professional treatment, and that they had the support they needed to effectively model technology use for the UTeach preservice teachers.
The Outreach Lecture Series, led by Jay Banner, a professor in geological sciences, paired some of the best College of Natural Sciences professors with UTeach students to transform lectures into PowerPoint presentations. Each team created a CD containing a presentation with related support references. The professor then gave a public presentation of the material. AISD teachers attending the lecture received the CD-ROM free of charge. With distinguished faculty such as Dr. Brent Iverson and Dr. Leon Long participating, the ultimate goal of the Series is to inform public school teachers of the range of scientific research at UT so they can share this exciting information with their students. INSITE underwrote costs of CD-ROM production and publicity for the Series.
Efforts related to College of Education methods courses included the redesign of Functions and Modeling, a required course for preservice math teachers. Through INSITE support, assistant instructor Kevin LoPresto developed an instructor's manual explaining how to use technology in the now technology-integrated course. INSITE also provided a wide range of technology equipment for this course and other UTeach methods courses, including calculators, software, projectors, and storage carts.
INSITE's support was one of many reasons that UTeach is an outstanding model for teacher preparation and technology integration. Its success was recognized in February 2002 when it was given the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) NETS*T Distinguished Achievement Award for excellence in technology integration. The award went to only six institutions in the country for exemplary technology integration in teacher preparation programs.
Project INSITE met its goal to develop an integrated, technology-infused experience for secondary mathematics and science teachers. The 67 PT3 Fellows not only used technology effectively in the classroom but also used technology to help other teachers support learning opportunities. The project also benefited 350 preservice teachers. The level of each participant’s technology integration, as documented using LoTI scores, is available from the INSITE project office.