Visits Part of Summit
By Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
One expects brilliant keynoters, erudite professors, the business
sector and educators to exchange ideas at various panels when
Teachers College, Columbia University organizes a special 3-day
technology conference such as this one.
What is novel and extremely effective is being out in the field
to see programs in action in the community. And that is just what
Professor Joshua Halberstam, Chair, Education Techology Summit
and Bruce Lincoln, Manager of Community Outreach at the Institute
for Learning Technology (Teachers College) arranged for participants
Playing to Win is a program located in Harlem since 1990. In partnership
with the Boys and Girls Harbor of New York and affiliated with
Columbia University, 100 people are taught computers each day
including an after-school program for elementary school children,
teens, and career training for adults at night. Princeton graduate
Rahsaan Harris is the director of the program, while a cadre of
10 bright and energetic young people teach at nine computers.
There is a math and science upward bound program; young people
learn to be entrepreneurs and inventors. Probes, provided by a
corporation, can take kids to Great Adventure; legos are used
to introduce robotics. Shaneefa, a current student in the program,
dreams of owning her own computer company. Via field trips to
Sony Wonderlab and making digital journals, students like Shaneefa
learn a variety of skills. Play to Win is just one of 136 Community
Technology Centers (CTC) in New York City.
Among the many attendees, Mary McFerran, the Director of Education
Technology at the Fieldston School, found the visits extremely
useful. Our next stop was The Harlem School of the Arts, founded
by New York City opera diva Dorothy Mayer. Our tour, led by Bernard
Phillips, showed how software such as Music Ace (ages 8-12) and
Practica Musica help in the students' learning and progress. Some
of the software aids in composition, some can print out each part,
which can be heard and modified easily. Different melodic lines
and instrumentation can be heard immediately by the student composer,
thereby allowing instant modification. One can't help but think
of Beethoven as a mature composer, deaf and only able to hear
the music in his mind!
In a wrapup, Lincoln, noted that we are at the epicenter of the
technology movement, that we have a more technology oriented city
council that we are seeing cablevision and RCN now giving money
to learning and contributing to CTCs. His hope is that education
becomes a ubiquitous, seamless process.#
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