Grant to bring learning innovations to eastern North Carolina schools

An East Carolina University partnership with North Carolina State University was one of 19 programs nationwide selected to share in $7 million in grants for new and innovative learning programs.

The partnership will lead to release of an intelligent game-based learning environment entitled “Crystal Island” to rural middle school students throughout eastern North Carolina.

In Crystal Island, students work to solve a science mystery as they learn about microbiology. The game will help students achieve Common Core State Standards, new North Carolina state guidelines that establish what students need to learn in each grade.

Initial tests with more than 1,000 students have demonstrated significant learning gains in both science and literacy with the program.

The partnership is a collaboration between the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education in the ECU College of Education and the IntelliMedia Group at NCSU.

The grants are provided through Next Generation Learning Challenges, a collaborative program aimed at applying technological innovations to enhance learning and improve college readiness. Funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

ECU’s NGLC director Roger Conner said, “We believe learning technologies and next generation models can produce transformative change…for both teachers and students.”

For additional information on the Next Generation Learning Challenges, visit http://nextgenlearning.org/. Contact ECU’s NGLC director at 252-328-6922 or e-mail connerr@ecu.edu.

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Teacher training to focus on new statewide standards in mathematics education

Public school teachers in Beaufort, Pitt and Hyde County will attend a professional development program on newly adopted state standards for mathematics education, June 20-23 at the Beaufort County Educational Technology Center in Washington, N.C.

The program is designed to help teachers understand and incorporate new common core requirements for mathematics that will apply to all North Carolina K-12 classrooms beginning in the 2012-13 academic year.  It was developed through a collaboration between nine teacher leaders and the Beaufort County School System, along with East Carolina University’s Department of Mathematics; Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education; and Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education.

The Common Core for State Standards in Mathematics requirements were adopted after research showed inadequacies in mathematic achievement in the United States. The core materials define what students should understand and be able to do in mathematics at each grade level. The guidelines also address performance in areas such as problem-solving, reasoning, argumentation, application to real life and strategic use of available mathematic tools.

Teachers will need to update their skill sets to incorporate the new standards, and this training should help them do that. Through funding from NC Quest Cycle VIII, more than 25 teachers will participate in the program.

Sessions will include hands-on activities at different grade levels in data and measurement, numbers, algebra and geometry. Teachers who complete the program should leave with materials they can use in the next school year.

For additional information about the professional development program, contact Roger Conner at 252-328-6922 or e-mail connerr@ecu.edu. For more details on the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/new-standards/.

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Lifelong Learning Program summer class examines Kerouac, Beat Generation

Alex Albright

East Carolina University’s Lifelong Learning Program will present “Satori in Rocky Mount: Jack Kerouac’s Carolina Road,” a class on the Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac’s role in it, June 21 in Braswell Library, Rocky Mount.

ECU English professor Alex Albright will lead the class, focusing particular attention to 1947 through 1956, when Kerourac was in North Carolina. Students will visit houses from Kerouac’s novels, “The Dharma Bums,” set partially in Rocky Mount and “On the Road,” in which a fictional town depicts Rocky Mount. Students are encouraged to read both novels in advance to better appreciate the class. A library exhibit on Rocky Mount’s history will include samples of Kerouac’s correspondence, in his own handwriting or from his typewriter.

Albright is director of creative writing in ECU’s English Department, where he has taught since 1981. He has published numerous articles on Kerouac, especially his time spent in North Carolina, and has taught honors courses on the Beat Generation.

Students will depart for the class from the Willis Building at First and Reade streets in Greenville.  Class is scheduled from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. The program fee, including transportation and snacks, is $25 for Lifelong Learning Program members and $45 for non-members. Registrations by June 20 will be accepted on a space-available basis.

The Lifelong Learning Program is an outreach program for adults 50 and older who enjoy learning in a relaxed atmosphere. Additional summer classes include Pilobolus and More, June 30 and an Art Appreciation Tour of the North Carolina Museum of Art, July 20.

For additional details about the program or to register, call the Office of Continuing Studies at (252) 328-9198 or visit http://www.llp.ecu.edu.

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ECU, community college faculty collaborate on science teacher recruitment

East Carolina University faculty met with faculty from 14 community colleges June 7 to discuss ways to encourage more individuals to pursue a career in science education.

Science education faculty shared ideas and information to help community college faculty advise students interested in a science education career. Assistance with transfers to ECU were also part of the conversation.

Dr. Linda Patriarca, dean of the College of Education, encouraged the collaboration. She said, “As an employee of a community college, you are strategically placed to find individuals who show promise but may not have thought about science or science teaching.”

The event served as a kick off for a new teacher initiative through which faculty from the College of Education’s Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education work with community college faculty with the ultimate goal of filling public school classrooms with highly qualified science teachers.

The following community colleges were represented: Bladen Community College, Cape Fear Community College, Carteret Community College, Craven Community College, Central Carolina Community College, College of the Albemarle, Edgecombe Community College, James Sprunt Community College, Lenoir Community College, Pitt Community College, Sampson Community College, Vance Granville Community College, Wake Technical Community College, and Wilson Community College.

Additional information about science education opportunities may be found at: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/msite/Science/index.cfm.

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Contact:  Laura Bilbro-Berry, East Carolina University

Phone: 252-328-1123, Email: bilbroberryl@ecu.edu

 

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