May 9, 2006
06-082

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations, Dr. Barry Hojjatie, Coordinator of Pre-engineering

$69,000 HP Technology Grant Awarded to the VSU Pre-EngineeringProgram

Valdosta State University was selected as one of 40 two- and four-year colleges and universities nationwide to receive the 2006 HP Technology for Teaching grant, which is designed to transform and improve learning in the classroom through innovative uses of technology.

During the 2006-07 academic year, grant projects through this program will impact more than 4,000 students. VSU's award package of HP products and a faculty stipend is valued at more than $69,000 and will benefit the university's pre-engineering program, part of the department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences.

Each of the HP Technology for Teaching grant recipients will use HP wireless Tablet PC technology to enhance learning in engineering, math, science, computer science or business courses. VSU's project, "Using Mobile Technology to Improve Visualization and Computational Skills of Engineering and Science Students and to Facilitate Student Learning," will use these resources to apply mobile technology in 3-D spatial visualization, a core skill necessary in all engineering and science students.

According to Dr. Hojjatie, principal investigator (PI) of the grant project and the coordinator of the VSU Pre-Engineering program, 3-D visualization is challenging to teach and learn. Mobile Technology will enable for more interaction, collaboration, and mobility, thereby enhancing learning outcome of this subject. Application of Tablet PCs and mobile technology will make teaching and learning other engineering and science courses more interactive, meaningful and enjoyable, Hojjatie said.

In addition to the recent grant award, VSU's pre-engineering program has had other student-related achievements such as: a grant from National Science Foundation to support undergraduate research; five student research presentations at several conferences including the 2006 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Georgia Academy of Science, and the VSU Symposium on Undergraduate Research; the transfer of several students to Georgia Tech including some under represented female and African American students through the Regents' Engineering Transfer Program (RETP); and scholarship awards to three students from the Lowndes County area.

"The Technology for Teaching award is very special because it is an interdisciplinary research related to application of state-of-the-art technology in teaching and learning that involves collaborations with the biology and geosciences programs at VSU," said Hojjatie. "We expect that it will give more national visibility to our university, especially since it occurs during our centennial celebration year."

As the co-PI of the project, Professor Homa Hooshmand from the VSU Biology Department, who is also a certified secondary school teacher, will apply the mobile technology to teaching biology courses and will interact with local high school students on activities related to this project. Also, Professors Brian Bossak and Mark Groszos will investigate other applications of the wireless equipment in courses related to geosciences. The project has also received a commitment from VSU's Information Technology Director Joe Newton, who will be responsible for the installation and maintenance of the equipment and other support related to instructional technology activities.

The 2006 HP Technology for Teaching grant program is awarding grants totaling more than $7 million to 130 kindergarten through 12th grade public schools and 40 two- and four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Puerto Rico. From 2004 to 2006, HP has committed $36 million in Technology for Teaching grants to more than 650 schools worldwide to support HP's broader education goal of transforming teaching and learning through the integration of technology.

"The HP Technology for Teaching initiative focuses on transforming teaching and learning through technology," said Bess Stephens, vice president, Philanthropy and Education, HP. "By integrating mobile technology in meaningful ways into their classrooms, instructors can increase student achievement and interest and prepare them for greater success in the competitive global workforce."

More information about the 2006 HP Technology for Teaching program and grant recipients is available at www.hp.com/go/hpteach . For specific information about the VSU Pre-engineering program, contact Hojjatie at (229) 333-5753.