Although microprocessors are certainly Intel’s most important product, education is, by far, its most important charitable endeavor.
Although microprocessors are certainly Intel’s most important product, education is, by far, its most important charitable endeavor. Intel directly contributes approximately $70 million per year to funding a broad range of educational endeavors—and this number does not even include the roughly $30 million of grants provided by the Intel Foundation.
These educational programs, all of which are managed primarily through Intel’s Corporate Affairs Department, are divided into three broad buckets:
- The Intel World Ahead Program is Intel’s comprehensive program for supporting global education markets with it’s products, services and philanthropic programs. This program dedicates resources to connecting the next billion people, in all corners of the world, to technology tools. Although it entails a broad range of efforts, including providing access to IT and communications tools and the providing of localized content and services, education is a primary component. The educational objectives of this program include—and leverage—the same resources as the company’s Higher Education and K-12 programs.
- The Intel Higher Education Program focuses primarily on developing and promoting specialized technical curricula, research, and competitions in areas including microelectronic, multi-core and mobile technology design, and parallel computing architectures. It also partners with the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to encourage and prepare today’s students to become technology entrepreneurs. Both efforts are intended to encourage and develop the type of talent pipeline required by Intel, its partners and its customers.
- The K-12 Education Program focuses on helping schools and teachers to use IT to transform education, to encourage students to study and excel in math and science and, more generally, to facilitate the type of critical thinking and the analytical and collaborative skills required in a knowledge economy. These efforts include a range of project-based learning approaches, online education tools, and the Intel Teach professional development program. They are supported by a number of complementary community-based programs, such as the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Intel Learn Program and the Intel Science Talent Search that allows children to access IT-based schools and develop new skills and interests outside classroom settings.
The Foundations of Intel Teach
Intel Teach is the centerpiece of Intel’s K-12 educational efforts. Teach is a professional development program that provides educators with the type of online tools and training that will allow them to effectively employ technology to transform their lesson plans and grading methodologies, develop professional learning communities and expose their learnings to their peers. The program is intended to facilitate the use of project-based approaches to help students learn high-order, 21st-century skills in areas including problem solving, critical thinking and communications.
Although Intel, like many other IT companies, began its educational program by donating hardware and software to schools, it soon recognized that transforming established educational paradigms and teaching models requires much more than products. It requires a comprehensive enablement program though which teachers learn to effectively use technology to improve their own productivity and to integrate it through their teaching and assessment processes.
This led creation of Intel’s ACE (Applying Computers in Education) program, under which Intel trains teachers on the effective use of computers and on computer-enabled learning methods. Although the program ramped from training 300 teachers in 1997 to training 2,500 in 1998, then-CEO Craig Barrett was not impressed. He set a goal of training a minimum of 100,000 teachers and backed that commitment with a big investment.
In response to this challenge, the Corporate Affairs Department transformed ACE into its new Intel Teach program. This program, which was launched in the U.S. and rapidly spread it to other (initially English-speaking) countries, consisted of a number of modules (Essentials, Elements, Thinking with Technology, and so forth) among which educators could choose one or many.
Between 1998 and 2002 Intel trained a total of 1 million teachers in 25 countries. Although the tech industry crash slowed momentum, Intel Teach is now offered in more than 50 countries and has trained over 7 million teachers.
Although the Intel Teach program is created and managed centrally, Intel recognizes that one size does not fit all. The program is, therefore, managed locally and implementations are tailored to the very different needs and requirements of individual states and countries, Intel conducts conferences for state education policy leaders and helps them understand how technology can help them address their specific objectives. It can then assist these government organizations identify the types of efforts best suited to their needs and help them select districts and schools in with which these efforts can most effectively be developed.
Intel does not work directly with schools or train individual teachers. Instead, it recruits and trains NGOs and professional educational content developers, who then apply Intel Teach methodologies and tools to the training of individual teachers. It also works to assure that its objectives and approaches are aligned with groups such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), that promote the role of technology in education.
Intel also coordinates some of its Teach efforts with the education programs of some of its IT vendor partners—especially Microsoft and Cisco—to develop best-in-class models for deploying technology in education. Although the partners’ objectives and approaches sometimes diverge (such as in Intel’s covering of MacOS and Linux, in addition to Windows), their efforts, technology focuses and capabilities are still quite complementary. (See, for example, my March 28 and April 4 blogs of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning program.) Intel, for example, provides basic Word and Excel training and positions Microsoft’s peer mentoring courses as follow-ons to its own Essentials and Elements courses.
I’ll discuss the objectives and results of Intel’s Teach program in next week’s blog.