Published: June 19, 2001

Editors: The media is invited to visit the ITL Laboratory on June 21 or June 22 when K-12 students will be using the new laptop computers in the pre-college engineering class "How Do Things Work?" The class, made up exclusively of older elementary and middle-school girls, meets both days from 9 a.m. to noon in ITLL room 150.

K-12 students and teachers are among the first beneficiaries of a gift of 18 laptop computers, including 12 wireless models, and a wireless base station donated by IBM to the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The equipment, which incorporates the latest advances in wireless technology, is being used in the university's summer engineering outreach programs of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Outreach programs include "Engineering in Everyday Life" classes for local youngsters, several weeklong, hands-on engineering workshops for K-12 teachers and the "Engineering Success Institute" targeted at underrepresented students from Denver, Boulder and the St. Vrain Valley.

Starting in the fall, the equipment also will be used by undergraduate students in engineering research and design projects.

The laptop computers, which are valued at approximately $60,000, arrived the last week of May and were immediately set up to run experimental modules that demonstrate engineering principles to students.

This week, 20 elementary and middle-school girls will use the advanced equipment to create computer-controlled electro-mechanical systems in the hands-on design and build class, "How Do Things Work?"

Besides providing advanced, top-of-the-line technical equipment for young students, the donation has enabled the ITL Laboratory to expand its offerings by adding a third section of the popular "How Do Things Work?" class in July.

"The demand for that class was very high and we had been turning away tomorrow's budding engineers," said Jackie Sullivan, co-director of the ITL Laboratory and Program. "Now we don't have to, thanks to the vision and generosity of IBM Corporation.

"The partnership of IBM and other generous donors has enabled the ITL Program to develop one of the most comprehensive K-12 engineering outreach programs in the country," Sullivan said. "Exposing youngsters early to the joys and challenges of engineering and technology is critical if our nation is to continue to lead the world in invention and innovation."

The equipment donation is part of an overall gift from IBM's Shared University Research program valued at more than $80,000, which also includes computers given to the VLSI lab in the department of electrical and computer engineering and to the Women in Engineering Program.

"IBM is delighted to support the ITL lab in its growing outreach to young students," said George Promis, director of technology alliances for IBM Printing Systems. "Its emphasis on encouraging and educating underrepresented minorities in Colorado is very much in line with IBM's own K-12 education initiatives, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the University of Colorado's College of Engineering."

For more information about K-12 engineering outreach programs sponsored by the ITL Laboratory, call (303) 492-7222 or visit