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100 High-School Teachers Sought for Development in Latest Computational Technologies

February 15, 2001

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The National Science Foundation awarded a $1.03-million grant to a consortium of nine educational institutions to train 200 high school math and science teachers in the latest computer technologies. One-hundred teachers will begin the program at SC2001, the annual conference on high-performance networking and computing, to be held November 10-16 in Denver.

Consortium members include the Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE Computer Society, East Carolina University, Krell Institute, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, NPACI/San Diego Supercomputer Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ohio Supercomputer Center, Shodor Education Foundation, Inc., Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Leading industry partners have pledged major support. Compaq donated laptops, so teachers can continue participation when they return to their districts. High Performance Systems donated Stella modeling software. Microsoft Corporation donated Microsoft Office Premium and Windows operating system licenses. ACM, IEEE Computer Society and National Aeronautics and Space Administration sponsored 15 teacher teams. Cisco Systems and SBC DataComm donated wireless cards. And Wolfram Research donated Mathematica. The Shodor Education Foundation and the SC2001 Conference provided teacher support funds.

Teams with two science teachers, one mathematics teacher and one school administrator from the same school district or cooperating districts will be selected from a national pool of applications. Teacher teams can learn more about the program and submit applications through the "SC2001 Teacher Team Application" link at http://www.sc2001.org/education.shtml. Applications are due by Monday, May 28, 2001.

Jeffrey C. Huskamp, SC2001 Education Chair and principal investigator for the grant, explained that the first step will be to instruct the teachers to use the tools, techniques and technologies of computational science at the SC2001 conference, as a way to spark interest and pursue scientific methods in their classrooms. "Computational science can open unexplored worlds, from subatomic particles to the distant reaches of our universe, in the class room," Huskamp said. "This program will help teachers motivate students to expand their interest in scientific inquiry and problem solving through hands-on modeling, simulation and visualization. Once they get started, we expect students to use their knowledge as a springboard to greater discoveries."

After the SC2001 conference, selected teachers will refine their new teaching methods and incorporate them into their daily lessons over the next 18 months. The following summer teachers will attend a two-week program at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. In between, monthly on-line seminars and teleconferences will provide ongoing support and additional topics.

"We hope that teachers learn to use computational science as a motivator for students not only to learn science and mathematics, but to realize the thrill of scientific inquiry and problem solving," said Edna Gentry of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. "As a result of teacher and student involvement in computational science, students learn how to apply scientific method, develop higher-order thinking skills and learn to communicate better."

For the first time, the NSF-funded teacher enhancement project will combine experienced staff from high-school-teacher professional-development programs across the country. The goal is to create teacher leaders in computational science in 18 months, so they can incorporate computational science into their school districts.

SC2001 is an industry leading, high-performance computing and networking conference, sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and IEEE Computer Society.

In the Gordon Bell Prize special category, Alan Calder, B.C. Curtis, Jonathan Dursi, Bruce Fryxell, G. Henry, P. MacNeice, Kevin Olson, Paul Ricker, Robert Rosner, Frank Timmes, Henry Tufo, James Truran and Michael Zingale were cited for their High-Peformance Reactive Fluid Flow Simulations Using Adaptive Mesh Refinement on Thousands of Processors.

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SC2001 is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society and ACM