Technology mini-grant program funds projects across the state

CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) representatives Laurence Walters and Flemming Jensen hand Superintendent Larry Shumway a $50,000 check for the Teachers and Technology Mini-Grant Program

Twenty-four classroom technology projects will receive funding this year through the Utah CenturyLink Teachers and Technology Mini-Grant Program. CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) handed a $50,000 check to the Utah State Office of Education earlier today to fund the grants. Each mini-grant recipient will receive up to $2,500 to implement small-scale technology projects, such as using iPads to improve classroom communication, iPods for Kindergarten reading, Kindles for reading, iPHIT for P.E., and apps to show students how they can “touch the world.”

The Teachers and Technology Mini-Grant Program is in its fifth year. Over that time, a quarter of a million dollars has been awarded for113 classroom projects, reaching more than 6,000 students throughout the state. Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway thanked CenturyLink for the company’s continued generosity.

“This program is making a direct impact on thousands of Utah’s public school students, not the least of which is fostering their interest in science and technology,” Shumway said. “That is a great contribution.”

Laurence Walters with CenturyLink said, “Education is the key to our future, making sure we give our children the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, especially with the incredible leaps in technology we see every day.”

Superintendent Shumway looks at a student book of illustrated poems created with design software purchased with a Teachers and Technology Mini-Grant.

CenturyLink Marketing Development Manager Flemming Jensen says even though Qwest has changed its name since its merger with CenturyLink on April 1, the company’s commitment to the Teachers and Technology Mini-Grant Program will remain the same. 

“Qwest has been a strong proponent of education for years and years,” Jensen said. “And this will continue on a strong local level as CenturyLink has done in all the 37 states it serves.”

The program has helped teachers purchase a wide variety of technology for their classrooms, including computers, interactive white boards, projectors, classroom response systems, science and math equipment digital cameras, video equipment and document cameras. USOE Education Technology Specialist Rick Gaisford said the diversity of the projects funded with the mini grants is impressive.

“These projects range from putting a Wii station in a special ed. classroom to improve socialization skills to purchasing GPS devices for a reenactment of the Utah pioneers and installing flat screen televisions that project experiments conducted under microscopes so the whole class can see it.

“This is the first grant that I had ever written and I involved my students throughout the process, which has now proven to be very successful as they are helping me spend the money and implement the grant. What an amazing experience this has already been for my class!” – Coral Canyon Elementary teacher Jennifer LeBaron

“The grant greatly enhanced my teaching through technology. By applying for matching funds, I was able to further increase the use of technology in my own classroom.” – Lara Dean, Salt Lake City School District

“Using the interactive whiteboard, students presented data and projects to the class. Students documented their projects using photography and then used these pictures to illustrate and explain their projects.” – Laurel Steele, Salt Lake City School District

“The 8-9 grade creative writing class became the clients of my commercial art and digital illustration classes. The writing students filled out a questionnaire concerning their stories. The art students then took this information and created the storybook covers […] on computers and software provided through the Teachers and Technology Program.” – Ms. Dietrich, Treasure Mountain International School

Here’s an example of what one Utah school was able to do with recording equipment purchased with the help of the Teachers and Technology Mini-Grant Program. East Hollywood High School, a public charter school in West Valley City with a special emphasis on film (hence its name), used the grants to purchase sound equipment and a high definition camera package. In the 2009-10 school year, they began a series of feature-film-length adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays with Macbeth (see trailer below) on a $400 budget. The following year, with the help of the new production equipment, the class filmed Much Ado About Nothing (trailer also below) and is reportedly producing Hamlet now.


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