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Release: Sept. 1, 1999

UI representatives to show Middle East faculty how to use technology in school

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two representatives from the University of Iowa will visit Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates this month to demonstrate how technology is being used for education in the United States.

John Achrazoglou, lecturer/program associate and coordinator of Instructional Technology at the College of Education, and Carolyn Lieberg, associate director for the Center for Teaching, will spend the first of two weeks at the University of Bahrain. They then will travel to the United Arab Emirates for a Middle East conference on learning and technology, which is being sponsored in part by the United Nations.

The trip, which runs from Sept. 8-23, is being funded with grants from the U.S. Information Agency and the United Nations.

"This will be unique," said Peter Hlebowitsh, associate professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Division of the College of Education and the University of Bahrain's initial contact when its vice president for community outreach, Emad Taqi, visited the campus this past summer. "This represents kind of a breakthrough event for the University of Iowa in that this is our first experience there. As these things always go, we're hopeful this will be a long-lasting relationship."

Lieberg, whose specialty is group dynamics and discussion, will show faculty how to employ teaching methods other than lecturing, such as "collaborative learning" that encourages students to discuss topics among themselves.

Achrazoglou, whose specialty is instructional technology, said he likely would show faculty at the University of Bahrain how to use computers and the Web for teaching and distributing class materials. While the university seems to have much of the necessary technology, he said only a small percentage of faculty members have their own Web pages.

"Based on the main university Web site, they have the infrastructure. But I suspect there's still a great need to teach how to use teaching tools," Achrazoglou said. "It's going to be a really interesting experience.