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High-tech education focus of NYSUT conference

It only took 23 short seconds to calculate, but it is still longer than it takes a calculator.

Using the binary system, teachers simulated how a calculator works during a high-tech conference Thursday, July 24.

The human calculator is only one of several activities more than 70 teachers from throughout the Capital District participated in during a two-day conference at the New York State United Teachers headquarters in Latham.

The program, designed to provide teachers with knowledge of the growing high-tech industry in the Capital District, including companies like IBM and Applied Materials, gave math, science, engineering and technology teachers the tools to teach students about semiconductors and alternative energy industries.

A valuable part of the teacher's job is not only to teach but connect the dots, said Lisa Anderson, vice president for the SEMI Foundation, with headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

SEMI, created in 2003, promotes awareness of the growing high-tech industry.

More than 4,000 students and 500 teachers nationwide have participated in SEMI's conferences.

"The idea is you have industry people talking to teachers," Anderson said. "This is a type of exposure teachers don't usually get."

Anderson said programs like these provide an education to the teachers about industry jobs, which they can relay to their students.

"We're really exposing teachers to what their students could be and how to get there," Anderson said.

This is the first time SEMI has partnered with NYSUT.

"This is the beginning of a very productive relationship with the high-tech industry," said Bernie Mulligan, spokesman for NYSUT.

He said the high-tech industry is the future of the Capital District and that NYSUT's future is dependent on being able to provide the education needed to enter the industry.

He said next year SEMI's national conference will be held in Saratoga, and he hopes NYSUT can be an active participant in the conference.

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