Fermilab Seeks Partners to Narrow the Digital Divide

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Program enables partners to provide online classes for teachers on integrating Internet technology in the classroom.

As school districts throughout the country struggle to provide staff development for their teachers to use computers and the Internet for classroom projects, Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is ready to help.

Fermilab is now offering educational agencies a partnership program, providing them with the mentoring and materials needed to develop their own online courses for educators. Fermilab’s program is open to teams from universities, colleges, state education agencies, educational associations or foundations, national laboratories and museums. The program is free of charge.

In the past six years, Fermilab has worked with a total of 200 teachers in 18 states to develop leadership teams for using Internet technology as a tool for student investigations on real-world issues. A group of K-12 classroom teachers in collaboration with Fermilab staff teaches and regularly updates the online course. But the steadily increasing demand for the course has more than exhausted Fermilab’s capacities. To help remedy the situation, Fermilab is offering the LInC online partner program to help other agencies learn how to offer their own online courses.

Fermilab is particularly eager to partner with agencies that will develop leadership teams for urban, rural, or economically disadvantaged areas to help bridge the digital divide. Agencies that can reach a large geographical area, develop pre-service teachers, or target minority students as well as science and math instruction, are especially welcomed.

The LInC partnership program includes a 14-week interactive online course, which starts in January, a Facilitators’ Academy in the summer at Fermilab (travel paid by grant funds), and extensive mentoring from Fermilab as agency teams develop and offer their own online course. The program also includes a $1200 stipend for team members who are K-12 teachers and an optional 6 hours of graduate credit.

Interested agencies must complete a short online registration form by September 11 to indicate their intent to submit a full application by September 25. For more information and application forms, see www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/announce.shtml, or e-mail Laura Mengel ed-linc@fnal.gov.

LInC is sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Friends of Fermilab, and has been funded by U.S. Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory) and the National Science Foundation.

Fermilab is a Department of Energy National Laboratory, operated by Universities Research Association, Inc.