Education Compact Hosts Information Technology Expo For Area Students

DARTMOUTH, MA. The SouthCoast Education Compact today hosted the region's first Information Technology Expo at the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The IT Expo was designed to be a learning activity to evaluate a student's development of essential skills that are congruent with sound education practices and enhance education purposes. It also provided a competitive opportunity to highlight the importance of technology skills to area high school students as well as emphasizing their role as essential skills for education and career development.

DARTMOUTH, MA. – The SouthCoast Education Compact today hosted the region’s first “Information Technology” Expo at the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The IT Expo was designed to be a learning activity to evaluate a student’s development of essential skills that are congruent with sound education practices and enhance education purposes. It also provided a competitive opportunity to highlight the importance of technology skills to area high school students as well as emphasizing their role as essential skills for education and career development. 

By participating in the IT Expo, approximately 150 area high school students from public and parochial school districts received a “IT Competency Certificate” demonstrating their skill and mastery of information technology. Funding for the IT Expo was provided in part by an EdLink grant from the Verizon Foundation. 

“The Expo is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” according to Wareham Superintendent Wayne LaGue. “First, it serves to engage them with other high school districts from across the SouthCoast and this interaction will broaden their perspectives. Secondly, the involvement of businesses in their education in such a powerful and 
meaningful way will once again emphasize the importance of education for their future success.” 

The participating districts included New Bedford, Fall River, Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Somerset, Wareham, the Fall River Diocese, Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School and Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School. 

“The IT Expo is a major initiative of the SouthCoast Education Compact and is the initial step in the development of an Information Technology competency process for area students,” said UMass Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. “ The Compact partners are focused on ensuring that the SouthCoast region will have a workforce competent to compete in a knowledge-based economy.” 

The SouthCoast Education Compact is a partnership of business leaders, school superintendents, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Bristol Community College. It is dedicated to improving educational attainment in the region. Such action is seen as a key ingredient for the retention and attraction of skilled workers and to the future economic, political and social well being of the area and the Commonwealth. 

Modeled on the successful regional science fair format, the IT Expo was designed to help students develop necessary communication, analytical, production, technical, and organizational skills. Organizers provided students with constructive avenues for individual expression, initiative, and creativity, as well as motivated students to assume responsibility for self-improvement and self-discipline. 

“When students leave high school, whether they enter the workforce or college, they will be expected to use technology,” said Education Compact Director Lee Blake. “Our students should know how to select the right technology tool to perform a task, locate information on the Internet, analyze that information for relevance and accuracy and synthesize and present it in a professional manner.” 

During the morning and early afternoon sessions, participating students received an overview of the Expo and were tested on their IT competencies. Following the tests, students participated in workshops and made presentations about their group or individual projects. Several members of the UMass Dartmouth faculty offered workshops covering a wide range of IT topics such as, telemedicine, computer-aided diagnosis, quick time video streaming and the world of work. Information table were also available at the Expo. 

The IT Expo concluded with an award ceremony at which participating students received their IT participation certificate. In addition, students who met an agreed upon score received a Technology Competency Certificate. Students who attain at high levels of achievement were also rewarded with special prizes provided by area businesses. 

The Expo is aligned with the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Curriculum Frameworks, specifically the PreK-12 Instructional Technology Standards. 


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