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NMC’s School of Education Director Wins Information and Communication Technology Award (May 26, 2011)

One of the Northern Marianas College’s faculty members, together with a team of other educational professionals, recently won a national award for his work in integrating technology in curriculum development.

Dr. Joseph Peters, who works as NMC’s director of the School of Education, won the “Best Use of Technology in Education and Training” category in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Excellence Awards.

The ICT is an organization based in Ireland that recognizes achievements in the technology industry. Peters’ team was lauded for creating an online national science curriculum for K-8 that can be as a standalone curriculum or as a supplement to textbooks. Peters’ son was also a member of the team.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, known primarily for publishing and distributing textbooks and other educational materials, recruited Peters and his peers to work on an online program called Science Fusion, which teaches elementary science through an interactive online learning program. The program duplicates the science textbook editions issued to schools nationwide so that the students and teachers have the option of learning and teaching with both.

Peters indicated that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had sought his participation in the development of the program because of his expertise in writing elementary science education textbooks and strong background in technology. He was a part of the team that wrote digital curriculum documents, developed the digital storyboards, and assisted with the quality assurance for the completed online materials.

"It was a great honor to be notified by HMH and told that this product had won the excellence award," said Dr. Peters. "It feels good to have your expertise and passion recognized.”

The Science Fusion program includes interactive content screens, integrated assessment, supportive teacher resources, and interactive online laboratories.

“More than anything, I'm happy to have created a program that will allow K-8 students to learn science interactively, in a fun and new way,” added Peters.

The team, composed of international members, each an expert in their field, coordinated with one another through phone calls and through online communications.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Peters and his team,” said Barbara Merfalen, Dean of Academic Programs and services.

The program will be officially launched in the near future and made available nationwide. Dr. Peters hopes that the CNMI will look at this option for the Public School System.

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