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As the computers available in schools become more powerful, more and more exciting tools are available to science and math students and teachers. Visualization tools, such as image processing, geographic information systems, modeling, and simulation software, are a class of tools with particular promise. These tools are being used in schools across the country to integrate computer use with the curriculum and to bring more hands-on inquiry to the students. A primary goal of using these computer-based tools is to aid students in developing a deeper understanding of the science and math (not the computers) and to help make difficult concepts a little easier to grasp (and visualize). In particular, these tools allow students to collect, analyze, and manipulate data, a fundamental requirement of the Virginia Standards of Learning [1]. More importantly, these tools allow students with a variety of different learning styles, especially visual learners, to help make abstract concepts into concrete expressions. Teachers can use the computers as a laboratory to study phenomena they could never fit into their classroom (like remote sensing of Earth to study land use and geology from space). One of the challenges in bringing these tools to students is how to do the faculty development to bring the tools to teachers. In this session, we'll explore the possibilities that these tools offer, examine the challenges, and try to understand how to prepare future teachers to use these and other tools in their classrooms.





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