Visualize better math and science

National Center for Supercomputing Applications

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The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and East Carolina University are partners in a program that will use advanced visualization technologies to improve math and science education in rural middle and high schools.

The program, Rural Educators using Visualization to Inspire Teacher Advancement and Learning to Improve Science and Mathematics Education, or REVITALISE, is funded in part by the National Science Foundation. Several four-person teams of educators will be chosen to participate in the program, which is free to the teachers, schools and schools districts that participate in the program.

Applications (www.eot.org/revitalise) must be submitted by Oct. 15 to be assured of consideration.

The selected teams will take part in two workshops and a two-week annual summer institute where they will learn how to best communicate over the Internet and be introduced to the concept of visualization. According to REVITALISE, visualization is "the process of presenting data in a form that allows rapid understanding of relationships and findings that are not readily evident from raw data."

Teams will learn how to use these tools in a classroom setting and will collaborate to develop a curriculum and instructional content that can be published on the Web.

"We want to use the program both to try and excite kids about math and science, and also to foster a community of teachers who can work together on ways to educate kids," said Scott Lothrop, project manager for education, outreach and training at NCSA, and who is the coordinator for the REVITALISE program in Illinois, where NCSA is located.

The assumption is that each school will have at least have computer and Internet access in the classroom, he said, but otherwise the program will supply the visualization and modeling tools as well as $65-a-day stipends the teachers can use as they wish.

Program officials hope that REVITALISE, which at first will link teachers in Illinois and North Carolina, will be the basis for a much broader national program in the future, Lothrop said.

The program will run for four years and host two sets of teacher teams for two years each. The first workshop is set to start Dec. 7.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

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

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