IBM fueling teacher training
- By Brian Robinson
- Sep 25, 2002
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,
"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.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.