Founded at the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1988, the Stanton/Heiskell Center for Public Policy in Telecommunications and Information Systems provides a forum that brings the private and non-profit sectors together with the education community to study the impact of technology on teaching and learning and its effect on school organization and reform. The Center focuses on key education, and social policy issues that have widespread implications: issues regarding student achievement and professional development. Our goal is to expand educational and economic opportunities and disseminate studies and reports that assess how the tools of technology can be used to promote teaching and learning in the school, the home, the community and the workplace. By exploring and studying the impact of technology on low income communities, we are demonstrating its effectiveness as a 21st Century resource for teaching and learning.
Two major studies, Project TELL, Telecommunications for Learning, a seven-year longitudinal study (1990-98) and currently Project Stretch (2000- present) have identified successful strategies to stimulate learning among underserved students.
Project Stretch, a computer-based literacy program developed by the Stanton/Heiskell Center in 2000, supplements and enriches the curriculum (www.projectstretch.com.) Over the past ten years, Project Stretch has grown from one computer lab in a middle school complex in Harlem to over 30 schools throughout the city, extending from 3rd to 12th grade in charter schools and public schools. Our objective is to support teachers to excel and become comfortable in using new information and communication technologies in order to help students gain competencies in the core curriculum and the required mandated skills. Through our program, teachers learn to develop new and more socially relevant practices. To assist us achieve these goals, we partner with schools, parents, the community, the government, the nonprofit and private sectors to form a more integrated school community that helps to empower students.
The Project Stretch learning environment, http://projectstretch.gc.cuny.edu/stretchmoodle/, is a supplemental resource providing teachers with the tools and strategies to help students achieve. The integration of the stretchmoodle and Web 2.0 tools facilitate the growth of teachers by changing the way that they interact with the students, the subject matter and their practices. By encouraging a collaborative learning environment among teachers and students of the city's public and charter schools, the Center promotes learning practices that connect the everyday lives of students to the world via the classroom. Most importantly, the moodle offers an additional source of data that provides evidence of student progress.
Stretch staff, doctoral students at the Graduate Center, mentor teachers on a weekly basis in their computer labs to assist teachers integrate the required skills into their daily lessons and curricular activities.
Project TELL, a partnership created in 1990 between the New York City Public Schools, the Stanton/Heiskell Center, and Verizon, was among the first studies to analyze the effect of educational technology on low-income students. Computers, printers, and modems with access to electronic networks were placed in the homes of 125 intermediate public school students who read at the 25-50 percentile. A sophisticated electronic learning community was developed that supported the students from the 6th through the 12th grade. A majority of the students entered college. Verizon provided tuition assistance to those TELL students who were admitted to college. Project Stretch grew out of this research.