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A new federal grant is helping an Old Dominion University program train teachers to use technology in their classrooms in one rural Virginia county.

The university's consortium with teachers in the Brunswick County school system near Lawrenceville, Va., recently received a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It is one of the largest grants ever received by the university's Darden College of Education.

The program, titled ACTT Now -- Aligning Certification with Technology Training - is under the direction of Dwight Allen, professor and eminent scholar of educational curriculum and instruction at Old Dominion.

The grant will be used to train the 71 teachers in the Brunswick County schools - a third of their faculty - who are taking classes in a Brunswick-based master's degree program from Old Dominion. Classes are offered on site and are supplemented through the university's TELETECHNET distance learning network, the largest of its kind in the country.

In addition, the funds will be used to support interns who will be placed in the schools beginning this fall and support professors in teaching methods classes by adding technology to their classrooms.

Teachers also will be trained to enhance preparatory classes for the Virginia Standards of Learning tests by making curricula available on the World Wide Web.

"It's a much higher level of impact than one would expect to have," Allen said. "We'll help retain almost all of the uncredentialled teachers in the county and upgrade many of the others to a master's-degree level. And we will be able to work with them over a three-year period."

Brunswick has turned into a proving ground for the commonwealth's technology efforts. The county was cited by the U.S. Department of Education for using federal subsidies to get school districts on the Web, train students to be Webmasters and train teachers to teach Web design classes.

Approximately 2,800 students attend schools in Brunswick County, located between Interstates 95 and 85 east of Lake Gaston on the North Carolina border.

This article was posted on: August 3, 2000

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