By Tim Leeds
The Department of Education has awarded the second phase of the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) grant to Montana State University-Northern.
MSU-Northern will receive more than $690,000 over the next three years in the implementation phase of the grant. The grant will be used to provide support for pre-service teachers, supervising teachers and faculty at the university to integrate and model the use of technology to enhance learning in the classroom in the information age. The university will receive more than $290,000 each year. The first year began June 1.
Greg Jergeson, grants and sponsored research director at MSU-Northern, said the awarding of this national competitive grant demonstrates the skills and expertise the faculty at the university possess.
"It certainly enhances our ability to compete with larger institutions and shows that what MSU-Northern can offer is valued in the national forum," he said. "The grant highlights the ability of all grant partners to cooperate and get the job done."
"This is a great time for pre-service teachers to be attending MSU-Northern," said PT3 Grant Director Curtis Smeby. "They will be exposed to and be a part of the learning process. These federal dollars will go a long way to supporting innovation and opportunity at MSU-Northern."
In this stage of the grant, MSU-Northern adds new partnerships with Fort Belknap College, Fort Peck Community College and Stone Child College. The partnerships with the Havre public schools, the Golden Triangle Curriculum Consortium, St. Jude Thaddeus School and the Office of Public Instruction will continue in this phase of the grant.
Jonathan Richter, grant coordinator, said it has been a collective effort between the university faculty and students and the area partners to make this possible.
"We're really hoping to inspire a true partnership," he said.
Implementation of the plan will include developing cohort groups consisting of pre-service teachers, supervising classroom teachers and college faculty to create multi-media classroom modules; development of a teacher resource center available to area teachers; hands-on electronic workshops demonstrating mater teaching techniques in specific content areas; development of individualized professional development plans including electronic portfolios, and creation of multi-media resource carts used to integrate technology into the classroom.
The university has also retained the services of Dr. Helen Barrett of the University of Alaska-Anchorage, a leading expert on the development of e-portfolios, for one year to assist in the implementation of the grant and in the search for NCATE accreditation. Barrett will assist in designing an system for educators to create an e-portfolio which will detail how they meet standards required, for a variety of audiences.
Richter said Barrett will also help the college assess where it is at and where it can go with teaching the use of technology in the classroom, and will also be helpful in the search for NCATE accreditation.
Barrett will hold an open session at the university campus on Tuesday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. Richter said people interested in attending can contact him at 265-3781 for the location of the session.
Richter said the cohort groups are a good example of the partnership the grant will inspire. The students, K-12 supervising teachers and the university faculty will work together to build a multimedia presentation for use in the classroom. Richter said the presentations could include creating "multimedia educational snippets" of local sites and events.
Both Smeby and Richter said the collaborative support from grant partners, faculty, administration, staff and students in all colleges at MSU-Northern have enabled the success in receiving the grant proposal. Richter said Montana's congressional delegation, especially Sen. Max Baucus, have also given great support for the program.
Richter said the nature of MSU-Northern really met the aim of the grant, which helped in receiving the funding. He said the location in a rural area and incorporation of traditionally under-served populations and minority groups were part of the aim of the grant. Richter said the inclusion of three tribal colleges as partners also helped the university to receive the grant.
For additional or specific information about the grant and how you can become involved, contact Smeby at 265-3517, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or Richter at 265-3781, e-mail email@example.com.