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October 17, 2006

ULM professor creates statewide technology competition

A ULM professor has organized a statewide competition that will encourage technology integration in Louisiana high schools. The Louisiana High School Technology Challenge, which will take place entirely online, is a first for Louisiana.

Michael Beutner, associate professor of instructional technology, organized the innovative competition with the help of several volunteers. Beutner hope the challenge will instill a passion for teamwork, celebrate outstanding student achievement and attract more female and minority students to professional and technical careers in technology.

“As Louisiana prepares for a brighter future after the severe impact of Hurricane Katrina, our schools need to encourage students to apply skills that will help them to productively contribute in a modern and progressive society,” he said. “The main purpose of this competition is to demonstrate how our students can use technology creatively as a tool for life-long learning.”

In the competition, students will be rated on the following challenges: searching the Internet for reliable information and citing sources, writing grammatically correct sentences, and downloading files. Students will also have the option to create web sites, spreadsheets, T-shirts and flyers.

Participants must have a clear understanding of Blackboard, e-mail and Internet research.

Beutner projects that 20 percent of all high schools in Louisiana will participate. If that happens, over 100 high school teams will compete. With an average team size of 10 students, over 1,000 students will be competing in this innovative challenge.

Every high school in Louisiana is eligible to enter a single team composed of up to 15 students under the guidance of a team coach.

On the day of the competition, each school’s team will meet at an Internet-accessible location in their school to complete challenging tasks online.

A qualified team of judges at ULM will examine and evaluate each team’s work. The results, along with the winning team’s work, will be posted online after the competition. Participants and team coaches of winning teams will receive individual and group awards, and every participant will receive a free ULM T-shirt.

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