Technology Literacy Challenge Fund – Internet-based, technology training session for Hawaii’s educators

President Bill Clinton has long been on a mission to educate America’s youth in technology, proposing his Educational Technology Initiative of all children being technologically literate by the dawn of the 21st Century.

His challenge has been felt all across the nation where computer filled classrooms replace old storage facilities, telecommunications equipment enhances existing communication devices, and Internet access is as available on school grounds as the nearest jungle-gym set.

Locally, the Hawaii State Department of Education is taking full advantage of the Clinton’s Technology Innovation Challenge Grant with education-based trainings like the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund Training Site (, an Internet-based, technology training session for Hawaii’s educators.

Aimed at having 10,000 educators technologically literate by June 1998, the TLCF takes a teachers teaching teachers approach to insure the growth of the technologically literate. Program coordinator Donna Shiroma explains, “We had a very intense, 3 day training session which included everything on the web site. It wasn’t just a matter of teaching those who came to the session about the Internet, but to teach these educators on how to go back to their schools and teach it as well.”

The TLCF web site was used as a tool in achieving this. In addition to covering the basics like using email and browsing the World Wide Web, this web site also offered an important Internet Overview (covering DOE Internet Policy, Acceptable Use Policy, Netiquette and Copyrights), online resources and links, and even a Facilitator’s Directory.

“Not only are they taught how to use their email, but all of the educators must learn the policies of the Internet,” states Shiroma. “Our web site has this.”

The web site even includes an interactive “Internet Driver’s License Test” to gauge one’s skills acquired at the training. Upon completion of the lessons, the educator is required to take this test to complete the training.

But why so much emphasis and energy on Internet technologies? How does it relate to students in real-life applications?

“I’m a librarian and I am always hungry for more information,” expresses Shiroma. “The Internet is such an enormous resource for obtaining such information. From an education standpoint, the Internet is the way to go. It is not only about getting the content from this huge information resource, but being able to use it to benefit ourselves.”

The TLCF Training was meant to reach each and every school in the Hawaii state district and to help facilitate Internet and technology education in Hawaii’s school system. Extensive support is also provided for those who attended the session. These are offered in the form of the web site, email listservs and distribution lists, as well as meetings with the facilitators throughout the year.

Training sites are divided into districts and named ITCs or Instructional Technology Centers. These ITCs are then responsible to go into their “sub-communities” and educate groups like how the TLCF did. With this learning infrastructure in place, the State goal of 10,000 educators technologically literate by June 1st, 1998 will be very attainable.

“We are already about half way there,” says Shiroma.

And with another training session coming up this summer (this time at a more advanced level with an emphasis on science and mathematics), there will be no problem surpassing that goal and beyond.

The future looks bright for our nation. Especially for our technologically literate keikis…

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