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2009 News Releases
Dr. Mano Talaiver of Longwood’s ITTIP receives national award
February 17, 2009
Dr. Manorama (Mano) Talaiver, director of Longwood University's Institute for Teaching through Technology & Innovative Practices (ITTIP), has been selected for a national award for her science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) work with low-income and minority students and rural school divisions.
Talaiver is the recipient of the 2009 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Promotion of Elementary Education. The award will be presented Feb. 21 during the 23rd Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Global Competitiveness Conference, in Baltimore. The conference is sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation, US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, and the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The award is for K-12 education, not simply elementary education.
"Dr. Talaiver is without doubt the premier leader of educational technology in the United States," said Dr. Pat Fishback, director of science education emeritus at the Science Museum of Virginia, where Talaiver was director of learning technologies from 2000 until joining the ITTIP in June 2005. "She is well known for her expertise, energy, and creative power."
The ITTIP, founded in 1999 and based in South Boston, is an outreach of Longwood that helps teachers integrate technology and disseminates research-based best practices in schools. It serves 35 school divisions in Central and Southside Virginia and works closely with the Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium. Talaiver is the project director for the Central Virginia Technology Consortium, which includes 15 school divisions, in which she works with teachers and administrators in technology integration in classrooms.
The ITTIP has received math and science partnership grants from the Virginia Department of Education for the past three years. Thanks to a $891,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), 90 middle school students and six teachers from five school systems (Dinwiddie, Halifax and Prince Edward counties, Petersburg and Hopewell) are learning interactive game design and computer programming skills. The three-year project, commonly called "Digispired," began in June 2007.
"Forty-six percent of the Digispired students are African-American, and some of the others also are from low-income backgrounds," Talaiver said. "We're hoping the project will be refunded. If it is, the students will learn mathematics, science and engineering principles behind game controllers, and they will create the games using a very professional 3D game authoring application. It would be called Digispired II: Workforce Investigation Inspiration for STEM."
In collaboration with Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering & Technology, the ITTIP launched a marine engineering project, funded by the NSF, in November 2008. "We will train students and teachers to investigate marine technology careers, learn marine technology principles, and build an underwater robot called SeaPerch," Talaiver said. "The academy is called MarineTech, and it involves four school divisions in Southside - Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Prince Edward counties - and two in Central Virginia, Chesterfield and Prince George counties."
The past two years ITTIP has sponsored a two-day STEM Summit at Longwood, which attracts K-12 teachers and administrators. "The first one focused on computational thinking and the second one (Jan. 29-30) on STEM learning for all students, especially those with special needs," Talaiver said.
Talaiver is a native of Sivakasi, India, who came to the United States in 1981. In addition to her previous position at the Science Museum of Virginia, she was a technology specialist with the Chesterfield County schools (1996-2000) and at the Mathematics & Science Center in Richmond (1988-96), and she was a math, sciences and computer teacher at Richmond Christian School (1986-88). In India, she was a faculty member at Lady Doak College in Madurai from 1970 to 1981, becoming professor of mathematical economics, and also held several administrative positions, including dean of students her last two years.
Talaiver is president of the telelearning special interest group of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). She has been involved with ISTE's annual conference and is on the program committee for this year's conference, to be held June 29-July 1 in Washington, D.C. She is a board member of the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition.
She has an Ed.D. from the University of Georgia, an M.A. from the Victoria University of Manchester, an M.S. from Madurai University, and a B.S. from Madras University.
Talaiver was nominated for the award by Bonnie Bracey Sutton, a George Lucas Foundation Fellow, with whom she has worked on national and international projects.