IBM fueling teacher training

IBM Reinventing Education

With a "catch them while they're young" approach, IBM Corp. is putting $15

million into a grant program that will provide technology aimed at boosting

the skills of public school teachers in training.

The program, part of IBM's Reinventing Education initiative, will give

27 schools of education in nine states aid in the form of research, technical

expertise, technology and cash. The nine Reinventing Education grant teams

— a school district or state education department, plus one or more colleges

of education — will receive about $1.5 million each in resources from IBM.

A core component of the program will be a Web-based instructional platform

called Riverdeep Learning Village, which grantees will be required to meld

into their existing systems for teacher training and professional development.

The Riverdeep Learning Village offers online access to such things as lesson

planning tools and enables student teachers to seek answers from peers and

educators in other institutions.

The grant program also will link the institutions with IBM researchers

to help create even more new tools that teachers can use, said Stanley Litow,

the company's vice president of corporate community relations.

It's all a part of IBM's goal of producing systemic change in education,

Litow said.

"The U.S. needs around 2 million teachers in the next five years, and

they will come mainly out of the teacher training institutions," he said.

"To pretend you can improve the quality of learning [at public schools]

and not look at this pipeline does not make sense. Systemic change means

focusing on new teachers."

IBM's 8-year-old Reinventing Education initiative now serves about 65,000

teachers and 6 million public school students around the world, with the

aim of using technology to jump start lasting reform that will result in

higher student achievement.

The most recent grant program brings the total worth of the initiative

to $70 million.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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