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March 5, 1998

State awards University $1 million for three Link-to-Learn projects

The state has awarded $1 million to Pitt for its Link-to Learn projects.

Link-to-Learn is Gov. Tom Ridge's initiative to help schools acquire and upgrade computers, train teachers to use technology effectively and develop a collection of community-based networks called the Pennsylvania Education Network (PEN). The program aims to ensure that Pennsylvania remains competitive in both education and the global economy.

The new funded projects at Pitt include $480,000 to the Development Opportunities for Educators Project, a shared project of Barbara Seels of the School of Education and Diane Davis of Pitt's Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education (CIDDE) to improve professional development of teachers and enhance parenting abilities.

"This project will serve as a catalyst for change in many areas such as design and delivery of instruction, collaboration and sharing of resources as well as new methods of cooperation and communication," said Seels.

Mike Bright and Darin Stewart of the School of Information Sciences will receive $425,000 for a project that supplies digital object resources through PEN.

"We take materials that are useful in a classroom setting, lesson plans, quotes and video clips, for example, and put them in a permanent repository for Pennsylvania's teachers," said Bright.

"Everything is classified in language that teachers understand and is designed to make it easier to develop lessons. We include not only the multi-media educational materials but also the teacher's thinking process in putting those materials together, so it's a little bit like letting the teachers compare notes and trade ideas like they do in the teachers' lounge." A Link-to-Learn project from Pitt's Johnstown campus is designed to aid Cambria County school districts by providing a database of citizen volunteers and a mechanism to match volunteers with appropriate scholastic projects. Headed by Jon Darling, the Cambria Civic Action Network Resource Model project will receive $145,000.

The state awarded a total of $6 million to 21 projects across Pennsylvania. The funded projects will involve approximately 150 public and private partners, including more than 25 higher education institutions, nearly 50 school districts, and dozens of educational and community institutions. The projects include regional community networks, regional improvement and outreach, content development, professional development, and at least two statewide initiatives.

Projects were chosen for funding through a competitive review process.

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