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K-12 teachers, administrators build computer skills June 12-16

Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor
(217) 333-2894;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- More than 200 Illinois teachers and administrators will be building up their computer and Internet skills at eight locations June 12-16 through summer institutes organized by the University of Illinois College of Education.

The institutes -- dubbed "A Moveable Feast III: Teachers Learning About, Creating With, Technology" -- will be held at Bloomington High School, Centralia High School, Danville High School, Lake Park High School (in Roselle), Mattoon High School, Quincy High School, Urbana High School, and the UI College of Education.

Another 150 or more educators are expected at a second week of institutes, July 10-15, at all the same sites except Centralia and Lake Park. St. Joseph-Ogden High School (St. Joseph) also will host an institute that week, and Lake Park High School will host an institute the week of July 17-21.

The institutes are now in their third year, having expanded from three sites and less than 150 registrants in 1998, to nine sites and more than 400 expected to register this year.

"Technology has been one of the main goals for the college, and another has been professional development and outreach, and I think this speaks to both of those," said Cathy Thurston, the director of the college's Office of Educational Technology. "We're trying to prepare the new teachers that we have coming through our student teaching program to be armed with the tools they need to teach in classrooms, and we're also trying to meet this professional development need of existing, in-service teachers."

Participants in the institutes will spend the week familiarizing themselves with various office, Web and multimedia applications and resources, Thurston said. The main focus, however, will be on learning how to integrate those technologies into their classes, and doing so in alignment with the new Illinois state learning standards.

To add to the program, the college has purchased a Web server and set up the means for participants, after the institute, to share their work, archive best practices, and network over the Web.

"One of the strongest things that came out of our evaluations last summer was how much teachers loved the collaborative nature of this, and networking with other teachers," Thurston said.

Learning more about the Web not only will benefit educators in their teaching, Thurston said, but may be necessary for meeting state guidelines that now require recertification every five years.

"Technology's going to be not only an area in which they'll want to be upgraded, but it's also going to be a means by which many of them are upgraded A lot more of [teacher training] is going to have to be done via the Web and online venues, and teachers need to be comfortable with the tools to be able to do this."

Along with the "Moveable Feast," the college has moved forward in a variety of ways in recent years to improve its support of educational technology and to explore how and where it can best be used in the classroom.

The college has two online master's degree programs, one of which graduated its first students last month, and will be starting another online program this fall. It also has a program to encourage faculty members to explore the use of technology in their classrooms and has made significant upgrades in its infrastructure and staff to support efforts on campus and off.

Some spots remain open for the "Moveable Feast," especially during the weeks in July. To register, one must be a classroom teacher or administrator in grades K-12, with some computer and software knowledge, and be ready to integrate technology into the curriculum.

For more information or to register, call Conferences and Institutes at the UI, at (217) 333-2888, or check the Web site at

Sponsoring the institutes along with the UI and the hosting school districts are Microsoft Corp., Casio Corp., State Farm Insurance in Bloomington and Mount Carmel, the Illinois Prairie Higher Education Consortium, and the Illinois State Board of Education's Area Three Technology Hub.