Februrary 22, 2002
UW-RF Technology Help Draws National Attention
When faculty in the teacher education program at UW-River Falls realized that new teachers needed more training in the use of technology, they applied to the U.S. Department of Education for a PT3 grant and were awarded $243,661 for a three-year project to conclude in August 2002.
Some two years into the project, the UW-RF program has been recognized as a national model by the Department of Education, and its success story is being featured on the DOE's Internet site, at www.pt3.org.
With the PT3 grant, so named because it is a grant to Prepare Teachers of Tomorrow for Technology, education students at UW-RF have learned how to create an electronic version of the traditional student portfolio they are required to present during their student teaching seminar.
Said Professor of Teacher Education Mary Lundeberg,, PT3 program leader, "Under the leadership of Associate Professor of Teacher Education So-young Zeon, we designed a program to help students create reflexive multimedia portfolios to document their learning experience and help communicate who they are to faculty and employers. The PT3 Grant has helped us implement the program."
"We want each portfolio program to be unique, so we switched our Web editors to DreamWeaver to allow students more freedom in constructing their websites," said Lundeberg. "The students can download their websites onto a CD-ROM to send to prospective employers. "
"The use of video, or iMovies, has also emerged as an effective component because it is interactive and easy to edit.. In addition, students repeatedly review their work and see it in new ways when creating and editing iMovies, and they become better at critiquing their work."
Lundeberg and others are working to help students make more use of their protfolios. "Some of our partnership schools in Wisconsin now want e-portfolios from prospective teachers. We are actually writing a proposal to extend our PT3 grant to allow teachers and others to help students transition their multimedia portfolios into a more job-oriented portfolio," she said.
Because the UW-RF budget provides for limited information technology help, the PT3 grant committee instituted the Technology Leadership Cadre, composed of tech-savvy students, to help UW-RF faculty and teachers in area schools integrate technology into their programs. The students in the TLC are all majors in elementary, secondary and agricultural education.
"The TLC students have really made a difference by mentoring faculty through workshops and providing assistance to teachers in the field," said Lundeberg. "A number of faculty have said that they would never have implemented technology-based projects had there not been the support of the TLC students."
The partnership schools assisted by the TLC include public schools in Hudson, Prescott and River Falls, and St. Bridget's Catholic School in River Falls.
Lundeberg said the students in the TLC have gained valuable experience through the work they have done. "If you provide students with a network of others who can support them and give them increased responsibilities, they then become leaders themselves," she said. "A number of students have stated that being a member of the TLC has been the most important aspect of their education at UW-RF."
The PT3 program is in its third year. According to Zeon, at the end of year two it had served more than 1,530 students, coordinated over 162 workshops, and provided immeasurable assistance to individuals.
She added that, so far, seven graduate students and 45 undergraduates students in teacher education , as well as 21 faculty members, have worked in the program.
Editor's Note: Here is a listing of UW-RF students (by hometown, name, major and year) who are currently participating in the PT3 program.
Annadale, Heather Ruprecht, Health and Human Performance Education,
Bloomington, Shaun Rau, Broad Field Social Studies (History) Education, Junior
Cottage Grove, Laura Rupp, Elementary Education, Graduate
Fridley, Erin Donley, English Education, Junior
Grand Meadow, Brad Sween, Biology Education, Senior
Maple Grove, Stacy Valen, English Broad Area Education, Junior
Owatonna, Kari Pelinka, Elementary Education, Junior
Woodbury, Jessica Groza, Broad Field Social Studies (History) Education, Senior Rebecca Weiss, English Broad Area Education, Junior
WisconsinBarron, Gina Schmitz, Elementary Education, Junior
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