Additional Participants

Organizational Partners

Foster Student Innovation Center
Maine Department of Education
Maine International Center for Digital Learning
The Mathworks

Project Period

October 1, 2007-September 30, 2013

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number

0737583

Submission Date

12-23-2013

Abstract

This project will connect researchers at the University of Maine with students and middle school teachers, both at the University (during a summer workshop) and at participating schools (during the academic year) to utilize computer modeling and visualization of geological processes in the classroom. The proposed project will have 60 participating teachers each with 120 contact hours at the University of Maine, as well as 180 students, each with 20 contact hours at the University of Maine. The focus of this project is to integrate computational modeling with the existing science curriculum at the middle school level. This will be accomplished largely by collectively utilizing existing laptop computer computational power and networking capability to run computer models, both locally and at the University supercomputer, and to create high resolution interactive visualization displays (from the same laptops) to view the output. The specific goals are to: 1) develop numeric simulation and visualization tools for geodynamics with the involvement of middle school teachers and education experts; 2) train middle school teachers on the integration of such tools in the teaching of the existing curriculum topics; 3) stimulate middle school students' interest in science and technology and improve their knowledge and performance in these areas; and 4) disseminate such tools and effective pedagogies enabled by them to all middle schools in Maine, with the promise of the tools and methods serving as a model for other schools contemplating the use of laptop computers in the classroom. The project takes advantage of the fact that every seventh and eighth grade student and teacher in the state of Maine is issued an Apple laptop computer. These computers are all networked together and to the outside world via wireless networks within the classroom. Additionally, all schools and libraries within the state of Maine have high speed (wired) Internet connections. Another factor that is leveraged is the University of Maine's 512 CPU cluster supercomputer that is also based on the Apple platform, as well as a number of researchers who perform numerical modeling using this cluster.

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