ThinkQuest Comes to NYC
Starting with a pilot program in 2002, ThinkQuest New York City introduced a program in which students work in teams with the support of adult mentors to develop educational Web sites. The teams, consisting of up to six students, work with teacher coaches. Teacher training for the pilot program was conducted in conjunction with the Center for Development at City College of New York. The ThinkQuest philosophy is based on student-centered, Internet-enhanced, project-based learning. It is expected that through the program, young people will develop technology skills, gain knowledge in specific subjects, and learn interpersonal skills.
The ThinkQuest New York City program is an offshoot of the ThinkQuest Internet Challenge, which was launched in 1996 by the Advanced Network and Services, Inc. This program has already brought on-line learning to over 100,000 children in more than 100 countries, and has created a library of over 5000 educational Websites, which are used by millions of students and educators each year. The New York City program was launched last year in cooperation with the Department of Education, Office of Instructional Technology. By the end of the 2002-2003 school year, it is expected that 200 educators will be trained, who in turn will bring the program to schoolchildren throughout the five boroughs. Program evaluation is being conducted by the Center for Children and Technology, EDC.
In a time of fiscal austerity, it is particularly noteworthy that this program has been launched with private support. Sponsors include AOL Time Warner Foundation and the Mark and Ania Cheng Kingdon Family Foundation.
In a recent letter, Caroline Kennedy, CEO of the Office of Strategic Partnerships, New York City Department of Education wrote: “These are challenging times that call upon us all to find new ways to meet our common goal of providing New York City’s 1.1 million public school students with a first-rate education. Chancellor Klein is committed to developing vital public-private partnerships that marshal the resources of the business, nonprofit and educational communities to reform our schools and give our children the chance to make the most of their potential. That is why the Department of Education is proud to work in partnership with ThinkQuest.”#