Utah classrooms innovate with technology grants

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Back before this blog even existed, in October of last year, Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumway invited Utah schools and districts to apply for grants to fund innovative demonstration projects for using technology in the classroom. More than 400 applications, totaling more than $13 million in requests, were received and reviewed. Seven of these proposals were selected in January to share a total of $375,250.

“We commend all those who took the time to prepare proposals and whose interest shows the overwhelming desire of Utah educators to use technology that will benefit our 21st Century students,” said Utah State Office of Education’s Rick Gaisford, an Educational Technology Specialist. He adds, “[The recipients of the grants] were chosen because they have the potential to revolutionize learning and management in our schools.”

The seven selected demonstration projects range from podcasts to improve teacher quality to new ways to track at-risk students and a pilot of an online math textbook. The recipients are from large and small districts throughout the state.

The 2011 recipients of the State Superintendent Innovation Grant Awards include:

Jennifer Lightfoot, Kindergarten teacher, Viewmont Elementary, Murray School DistrictMs. Lightfoot will receive $16,035.73 to create and implement individualized digital literacy and numeracy centers for kindergarten students. The program will allow students to experience a lesson or objective multiple times in a variety of ways suited to individual learner needs.


Alpine Elementary and Traverse Mountain Elementary, Alpine School DistrictAlpine Elementary and Traverse Mountain Elementary will receive $43,532. The two schools will incorporate a cross-school initiative where general and special education students will share, edit, compare and practice literacy and numeracy skills. The students and teachers will collaborate on specific core objectives using technology. Parents will be able to view progress and apply the same technology at home for homework practice and engagement.


Parkside Elementary School, Murray School DistrictParkside Elementary will receive $50,000 to create a teacher-specific podcast library of quality instruction demonstrated by effective teachers in Language Arts, Mathematics and Science. The videos will be accompanied by educationally relevant applications. The videos can be used by teachers who wish to view an exceptional lesson or by students for independent review and study. The podcasts will also be available for parents to use at home.


Piute High School, Piute County School DistrictPiute County School District will receive $43,000. Piute High School will use the grant to enable teachers in a rural setting to re-design and transform their classrooms into 21st century learner environments. Using extensive professional development and additional funds from the district, students in ninth grade will be provided with tools and lessons based on a new, innovative, technology-driven delivery system. Piute will ensure the project’s continuance by purchasing additional technology every year for the next 4 years until all students have 1:1 access to learning.


Canyons School DistrictCanyons School District will receive $48,120 to support data-based decision making for students at risk for academic failure. Instructional coaches and intervention assistants will use technology to keep dynamic assessment data, provide immediate feedback to students and to adjust instruction. Video observations will also be recorded by coaches to provide feedback to teachers on instructional delivery.


Iron County School District and Southwest Educational Development Center (SEDC)Iron County and SEDC will receive $24,563 in a collaborative effort to provide professional development and classroom technology focused on enhancing mathematical instruction for at-risk and low-performing students through the use of Technology Engaged Activities for Math (TEAM). The project will focus on third grade students at three elementary schools. The goal of the project is to use technology to teach and practice fundamental arithmetic operations specific to all standards in the new mathematics core.


Jordan School DistrictJordan School District will receive $150,000. Jordan will use the funds in partnership with the Utah Education Network (UEN) to develop media-rich on-line core professional development modules, develop and pilot a ninth grade mathematics electronic textbook and share deliverables statewide. The project will ensure that students and teachers will have a smooth technology-integrated transition from the old to the new core and will create resources that can be used in schools throughout the state.

(Photo by woodleywonderworks http://bit.ly/eYgM4M)

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