Campus News

Bowdoin Partners on Rural Education Technology Project

Story posted December 08, 2005

A project in which Bowdoin College is partnering with the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine, and the University of Maine at Machias has been awarded a $1.2 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The three-year grant, to be administered under the auspices of the Island Institute, will fund the CREST (Community for Rural Education Stewardship and Technology) project, which is designed to encourage students in a pilot group of Maine island and coastal schools to pursue technology-related careers.

CREST will provide participating teacher-student teams with a combination of technology training and oral history skills with a goal of better preparing rural students for a future in a diversified Maine economy. The hope is that students will complete the three-year program with a new appreciation of the unique history and culture of their communities - and new skills that will help them contribute to a sustainable future for these communities.

"This grant provides important national recognition of the strength and potential of Maine's coastal and island schools, teachers, and communities," said Philip Conkling, president of the Island Institute. "Schools are often the single most critical factor in these communities' viability, and the NSF CREST grant will provide additional resources to build on the solid work that island schools already are doing."

Anne Henshaw, adjunct assistant professor of anthropology and director of Bowdoin's Coastal Studies Center, is one of four principal investigators under the NSF grant.

"For Bowdoin, this work represents an important opportunity to engage with coastal and island communities in meaningful work that builds educational and technological capacity," Henshaw said.

Henshaw will be teaching participating student-teacher teams the skills of interviewing community members and collecting oral histories, while learning to use digital audio recorders, databases, video cameras and multimedia "to convey the tapestry of a community and culture."

Using these techniques, Henshaw noted, "kids learn about the history and culture of their communities and the role that their neighbors play in the identity of a place."

For more information about the CREST project, visit the Island Institute Web site.

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