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Nortel Teacher Training

Nortel Teacher Training

JAN. 02, 2002-Technology coordinators and teachers from 13 north Texas independent school districts recently attended a Nortel Networks "Train the Trainers" technology workshop. This workshop was designed to prepare educators for teaching wireless technology to middle school students. The Nortel Networks training was co-sponsored by Collin County Community College District (CCCCD), Nortel Networks and the National Science Foundation/Advancing Careers in Technology and Science (ACTS) Project.

The workshop was organized by Robert Long, manager of community relations at Nortel Networks' headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario; Beth Kolman, manager of community relations for Nortel Networks' Richardson site; and Jean Burt, ACTS Project grant manager for CCCCD. The college recorded the training workshop for future reference and dissemination.

Nortel Networks donated 50 technology kits, each valued at $200. The "NetWorks" kits include a teacher's manual, a notebook of activities, a board game and additional material to teach middle school students about wireless communication. Each kit can be used with 25 students. The participants also received a booklet of activity modules that middle school teachers wrote during the wireless teacher training sessions taught by CCCCD engineering technology professors this past summer. The workshop training included an introduction to networks, a history of communications, sound, telephone science, binary numbers, digital switching, digital versus analog explanation, wireless, fiber optics and random error overviews. Participants also learned how to play Nortel's Network Game designed, in part, by Robert Long.

According to Long, this training has been successfully done in England, Atlanta, Georgia and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario. "Students have an interest in math and science but lose it in middle school. That is why this is targeted at middle school students. This is a way to convert our business into the science and math at the middle school level. The curriculum covers topics that link into the real world, and it provides the hands-on activities that, for most teachers, is a big plus. We are hoping they will train the teachers and we can deliver more kits out to schools that would like them," he said.

Beth Kolman agrees with Long. "The earlier you get them [students] involved and interested the more likely they are to go into career fields using math and science," she said.

Paul Beeler, director of career and technology education, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD was impressed with the quality of the instructional materials. "Our young people need to know what career opportunities are available for them. Middle school years are an excellent time for young people to explore different careers, and these materials are perfect for encouraging students at that grade level to explore careers in the telecommunications field. We plan to put these materials in the hands of our technology education teachers on every middle school campus," he said.

For more information about the teacher training, contact Jean Burt, NSF grant manager at 972.377.1582 or email