Office Of Superintendent Of Public Instruction Awards Washington Teachers $100,000 In Grants From Qwest Foundation

Spokane, WA (PressExposure) March 08, 2007 -- The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction today announced that $100,000 in Qwest Foundation grants will fund 10 unique projects led by 17 Washington teachers who are integrating technology into their classrooms. The winners were announced today at the annual Northwest Council for Computers in Education (NCCE) Conference, being held in Spokane this year on March 6-9.

The grants spotlight and recognize K-12 public school teachers who have found innovative ways to engage students with learning technologies and improve their academic performance within a standards-based curriculum. The grant recipients will share their experience and expertise with educators statewide over the next two years.

"Technology is an essential element of the 21st century learning environment," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson. "As students develop an understanding of our world, learning technologies have great potential to build equity among learners. We can deliver diverse and culturally relevant learning experiences that relate directly to the world in which students live."

OSPI staff will work closely with directors in the state's Education Technology Support Center (ETSC) Program to manage the grant. ETSC directors say they see the Qwest funding as a way to support teachers who understand the role of technology in improving student achievement and who are ready to take this integration to the next level.

Learning technologies can customize instruction Technology has a dual role in education. It is the network backbone for administration and data systems and it provides tools that allow teachers to shape the learning environment. Learning technologies make it possible for students and teachers to individualize the learning experience and give each child a voice. Technology literacy and fluency are fundamental for students entering the 21st Century workplace and create a real-life learning environment in the classroom.

"Technology plays a critical role in almost every aspect of our lives, especially in learning," said Kirk Nelson, Qwest president for Washington. "We want to help provide Washington teachers and students with opportunities to showcase how technology can be used more effectively in the classroom."

Project Descriptions:

ESD 101, Spokane Public Schools, Bemiss Elementary School, Karen Bennie and Barbara Miller In "Classroom 2.0", created by Bennie and Miller, fourth graders venture into online publishing where they share new understandings, discuss compelling issues and publish their learning for others' consideration. Students grapple with the real issues of online publishing, scientific research, peer review and synthesizing their thinking into rich media productions aimed at teaching diverse audiences what they know.

ESD 105, Naches Valley School District, Naches Valley Intermediate School, Lani Black Students in Black's 4th grade class have been using real-time video conferencing with students in Missouri to discuss topics such as the similarities and differences between the Mississippi and Columbia rivers or what it would be like to live in a giant peach as James did. The world is brought closer together as students from across the country grapple with similar questions relating to their worlds. Students will use the grant to pod cast and share what they learn in a professional manner with students from across the nation.

ESD 112, Woodland School District, Woodland High School, Patty O'Flynn and Kash VanCleef More than 230 9th - 12th grade students at Woodland High School will benefit from O'Flynn and VanCleef's leadership in integrating "real time" student response systems into the classroom environment. O'Flynn and VanCleef have shared the system with other teachers in the school. Teachers have immediate feedback from students and are able to more closely zero in on problem spots in learning. Based on the feedback, and the resulting changes in teaching, 100% of the students in O'Flynn's class passed the math WASL.

ESD 113, Olympia School District, Olympia High School, Brian Wright, Edward Basset, Caloway Kagan Chemistry teachers at Olympia High School will use the grant to create a Mobile Data Collection Library (MDCL) to increase student access to learning technologies and encourage exploration both in and out of the classroom. The MDCL will be moved from class to class to serve more than 1400 of OHS's 1800 students. Students are challenged to learn 21st century technologies so that they will be able to solve the 21st century's future problems. Last year, 63% of OHS sophomores passed the science WASL, compared to the state average of 35%.

ESD 114, Central Kitsap School District, Cottonwood Elementary School, Sydney Calliham CNN - Cottonwood News Network: Calliham believes that students are not only explorers of knowledge, but the producers of future knowledge. Through the grant, 400 students at the elementary school will produce an innovative multimedia news program called CNN "Cottonwood News Network". Fifth graders will become peer tutors for first graders, helping them with their own classroom based assessment. The program is designed to help kids become civic-minded, inquisitive, creative and technology competent. CNN will produce school-wide broadcasts, involving all kids in a fully-functioning "company structure" similar to a news company.

ESD 121, Seattle School District, Arbor Heights Elementary , Mark Ahlness Ahlness has introduced blogging to 3rd graders in his literacy class and as he says, "In my 25 years of teaching, I have never seen anything even come close to motivating students to write like blogging does." The motivation is an audience - his students interact with journalists, professionals and scientists all over the world. Students' content is monitored and edited to receive feedback. Because of the explosion of copy his 3rd graders started writing, they recently presented and read their pieces at a "Writers Night Out" event hosted at a local Tully's and attended by writers from all over the region.

The grant will be used to encourage blogging, start kids pod casting from home (with supervision from parents), collaboratively writing and solving math problems online, creating their own "wiki", producing and creating DVD's documenting class plays, dramatic readings and original works of the students.

ESD 123, Richland School District, William Wiley Elementary School, Anne Walker Fourth graders in Walker's class organized into "food groups" and then developed PowerPoint presentations using food web animation. By dropping digital photos into their slide show, they created an animated cartoon of animals preying on one another in the food cycle. Students from other classrooms joined in to learn about the habitat project.

ESD171, Eastmont School District, Kenroy Elementary School, Veronique Paquette Paquette asked her 2nd graders to pretend for a moment that they were a biologist who had just discovered a new species of bat. How would they go about knowing it was "new" and then how would they share this information with the world? From this single question, students headed for the Web and began developing a newsletter to share their learnings with their parents and creating online "Bat Expert" journals. As Paquette says, "The teacher went from being the dispenser of information to the students being the leaders and teachers."

ESD 189, Mount Vernon School District, Lincoln Elementary School, Martha Thornburgh, Teresa Vaughn, Michael Guelker-Cone, Mary Nowicki-Sullivan Fifth grade math students at Lincoln Elementary are using video and graphics tablets to demonstrate their thinking and problem-solving process to share with others. Their movies are posted to the web and archived for other students and future class lessons. Students learn problem solving skills from each other, versus simply learning answers. Information is shared through the school's interactive "wiki". Students interact with each other to collaboratively solve problems, but they are also interacting with students around the world, including students in Kenya, Ecuador and Indonesia.

At-Large, Bellingham School District (ESD 189), Larrabee Elementary School, Elise Mueller Mueller believes her 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are moving from consumers of knowledge to producers of knowledge. Her students are using technology in the classroom to write blogs and individual articles important to them and post their knowledge to the "wiki" to contribute to a body of knowledge. The program has helped numerous students excel at writing.

One of Mueller's students, who is dyslexic and struggling with writing, began blogging about her frustrations. In addition to her parents and teachers monitoring her blog, a dyslexic writer from Shanghai posted a blog and they began sharing strategies for overcoming writing difficulties. She is now creating a "wiki" page that outlines strategies dyslexic children can use to improve their writing.

About Qwest Communications International Inc.

About Qwest
Qwest offers a unique and powerful combination of voice and data solutions for businesses, government agencies and consumers – locally and throughout the country. Customers coast to coast are turning to Qwest's industry-leading national fiber optic network and its Spirit of Service for quality products and superior customer experience. For more information on Qwest, and its various operating subsidiaries, please go to http://www.qwest.com

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Press Release Submitted On: July 22, 2007 at 1:46 pm
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