Origins of MVHS  

Our Vision

Preparing students to "do" science in the real world of the future means guiding them in "doing" science now. The Maryland Virtual High School of Science and Mathematics entails bringing to the classroom the same team problem solving, technology rich approaches currently used in research and business. Computational science has become a powerful paradigm to complement other approaches. Computational tools, ranging from spreadsheets on microprocessors to advanced molecular modeling tools on supercomputers, are allowing scientists to model processes too costly or impossible to investigate in other ways.

Creating a Virtual Community of Teachers using Computational Science

In October 1994, Montgomery Blair High School was awarded a three year grant totalling over $1,500,000 from the National Science Foundation for an innovative program designed to extend Blair's expertise in computational science studies and Internet use for science resources, mentoring, and collaboration to schools throughout Maryland. Each school was provided with a direct connection to the Internet through a dedicated 56kbs line or a frame relay 128kbs line. This connection allowed students to search and communicate on-line simultaneously through local area networks attached to the school Internet hub.

The grant introduced the teachers to powerful computer systems and software tools to solve problems through computational science techniques. The selected teachers from each school received training in the computational science paradigm and its place in science curriculum, as well as instruction on math and science software. They planned and field-tested collaborative computational science projects that allowed students from schools geographically distant from one another to collaborate on problems of common interest.

The project schools acted as seed sites in expanding the understanding of networking technology for school use throughout Maryland. Students throughout the state used the Internet to gather resources and to interact with peers to share research, and exchange text, video, sound and databases. Each participating school received a Pentium Gateway computer running the LINUX operating system and a Macintosh Powerbook. Installed software allowed the Gateway computer to serve email and school-created world wide web documents. Software tools, such as the STELLATM modeling program and Matlab linear systems software, were also provided.

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