Bell Atlantic Foundation award to Rensselaer funds approach to high school teaching

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The Bell Atlantic Foundation has granted Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute a $50,000 Excellence in Education award to support the development of educational computing technologies that will be used to enhance the teaching of advanced placement high school calculus at Troy High School. The multimedia materials will be piloted by Troy High School.

"Rensselaer has won three national awards for development of interactive learning techniques that are revolutionizing the way we teach undergraduates," said Rensselaer President R. Byron Pipes. "With this project, we are exploring the excitig possibility of transferring these techniques to the high school environment."

"Helping improve the quality of education in the communities that we serve is vitally important to Bell Atlantic," said Lee A. Brathwaite, Bell Atlantic vice president and general manager Northeast.

The Bell Atlantic Excellence in Education Awards, which range from $5,000 to $100,000, will help fund a wide array of programs that address issues of integrating technology in college and secondary school curricula. Rensselaer was the recipient of the third largest Bell Atlantic award this year.

In the calculus project, Rensselaer is working with Troy High School teacher Richard Gilbert and with Sybillyn Jennings, a psychologist from Russell Sage College, to create World Wide Web materials that will help students better understand basic mathematical principles.

At Rensselaer, the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education, the Center for Innovation in Undergraduate Education,and the Center for Integrated Electronics, Electronic Manufacturing, and Electronic Media are collaborating on the development of the ighly interactive materials.

The work is part of a large Rensselaer project to make advanced placement courses for high school students widely available, according to Lester Rubenfeld, director of CIPCE. These courses would use the World Wide Web and other new technology that unites teachers and students from different communities in a face-to-face setting that emulates a live, on-campus classroom.

"There are tremendous disparities in the availability of AP ourses," said Brad Lister, director of the CIUE. "Ongoing improvements in networks, computers, and tools for interactive learning will allow more equitable access to advanced education for students across the country."

The Bell Atlantic Foundation granted $1.5 million in Excellence in Education Awards to 64 colleges, universities, public schools and community organizations engaged in educational technology initiatives in New York and New England. The recipients were recognized for their work in developing programs that use computers and telecommunications technology to improve and enrich the learning environment.

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