Intel Teach (described in last week’s blog), is the centerpiece of Intel’s K-12 educational philanthropic efforts. The program’s goal is to provide educators with the capabilities to effectively use IT in their instruction and to change the classroom learning paradigm in a way that will better prepare students for the demands of the 21st century knowledge economy. (See my January 11 blog, IT Companies as Catalysts in Creating the 21st Century Workforce, for an overview of these requirements and the roles that IT companies can play in addressing them.)
The Intel program, which has offered professional development to over 7 million teachers since its 1998 launch, applies a collaborative approach in which Intel works with government organizations to co-fund the training and ensure that the schools have the support they need to implement program approaches with students. Unlike the educational programs of many other IT companies, Intel Teach focuses almost exclusively on providing schools with the tools and the training required for educators to integrate technology using research- proven approaches.
Intel is a technology company. It provides enabling tools, not business solutions. It approaches its education mission in much the same way, focusing its efforts exclusively on teacher enablement, They train educators to develop new teaching methodologies that align to a local governments curriculum standards. Intel does not attempt to create, or even judge the value of specific standards, nor does it attempt to proscribe the types of schools (such as whether to focus on elementary or high schools) or courses (such as social studies or math) in which these methods should be applied. It presents opportunities to the appropriate government bodies, and lets them decide where and how these capabilities can be most effectively applied.
Intel takes a similarly hands-off approach to student curriculum, specifically deciding not to get involved in creating teaching materials or even in evaluating, promoting or marketing the courseware. It confines its efforts to working with educational agencies to create training that takes an educator from basic ICT (information and communication technology) literacy to advanced training on using ICT in schools.
The company encourages teachers to share their experiences and teaching ideas with other educators. They have consciously decided not to create a formal process for reviewing third-party courseware, or even a database into which developers can expose their materials to others. The reason: Intel believes education is locally driven and content has to align to local curriculum standards to add the most value to student learning. It invests in the creation of exemplary unit plans that align to local country standards so that teachers can see relevant examples that are practical to implement in their classrooms. These project ideas also serve to guide educators in the development of their own projects. Examples of these ideas are provided at http://educate.intel.com/en/projectdesign.
Although Intel has taken a relatively hands-off approach to the development and assessment of teachers’ projects, it does closely monitor the results of its enablement efforts. As mentioned, through the use of partners, the company has trained more than 7 million teachers. This means that 7 million teachers have completed at least one level of instruction in any one of Intel’s multiple Teach programs.
Although the company does not actively monitor how many courses each teacher takes, or how they intend to apply what they have learned, it does follow-up within 18 months to determine whether teachers have changed their behavior as a result of the program. It uses three primary metrics for assessing success:
- Do the teachers use computers more extensively for their own use?
- Do they use computers more frequently and more effectively in teaching?
- Has the Intel program helped change their teaching methods?
Intel has found that after completing at least one course of Intel Teach:
- Over 90% of the teachers use computers much more extensively for their own use, such as in learning new content and getting ideas for lessons and professional development.
- 80% of them use computers more frequently in teaching, such as in teaching concepts and in applying more relevant student assessment tools.
- About 50% of the teachers claim that the course has helped them ask more open-ended questions, explore new methods of teaching content and use new rubrics for assessment.
While these results themselves are sufficient for Intel to deem its program a success, the company is particularly gratified that many teachers have begun to use computers for things that Intel has not taught. Intel believes this result validates its view that familiarity breeds experimentation—exactly the type of transformational change that Intel is attempting to spur.