- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

MIAMI, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Cellular phones are everywhere, even some places where they're not supposed to be — like some schools — yet only a few have a clue to how they work, and that's a matter of concern for the nation's educators.

About 160 university deans and professors educators on Friday began a three-day meeting in Miami to figure out how to better educate the populace on the nation's burgeoning technology, including communication.

They want to produce better public school teachers who can pass along technological knowledge in schools all the way from kindergarten to high school graduation.

Douglas Gorham, manager of pre-college education for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said technology has become pervasive in society and does not just involve computers, as many people think.

Conference co-chairmen Peter Crouch, dean of engineering and applied sciences at Arizona State University, and Walter Gmelch, dean of education at Iowa State University, are seeking an educational alliance.

"The technology our kids are being asked to appreciate is becoming more sophisticated at an alarming rate," said Crouch. "We need help from our educational friends."

Gmelch said they want to see "students and teachers improving their grasp of technology as a whole. We're hoping to improve the technological literacy of society first among the teachers and then, of course, the students. We want to increase their understanding."

Crouch said the Miami meeting is the second in a series. The first was in October 2001 and resulted in a campus plan of action.

"One of the things we would like to see come out of this meeting are an update of those plans and new plans," Crouch said.

He said they are making headway, as illustrated by participation by 67 institutions in Deans Summit II this weekend compared to 27 or 28 in the first conference.

The meeting is both a conference and a workshop. A series of 26 presentations will look at educator-engineer collaborations in teacher preparation, community outreach and engineering education.

In the workshop portion, the deans will formulate action plans for new programs at their campuses to enhance teacher preparation in science, mathematics and technology.

As a result of the first meeting, Binghampton, Louisiana State and Baylor Universities formed technology learning centers sponsored jointly by their education and engineering departments.

Other programs raised the level of math, science and engineering content in curricula for public school teachers, provided workshops, seminars and courses for in-service training and offered technology support to teachers at local schools.

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