BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Middle School in Piedmont, Alabama is one of twelve schools across the United States selected to be a part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program, an initiative of the Verizon Foundation and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Under the program, teachers receive two years of professional development that will prepare them to better incorporate mobile technology into classroom learning with strategies that support teaching STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – and making these subjects more appealing to students.
The professional development regimen includes on-site and virtual training and is based on needs assessment conducted at each school at the onset of the program.
In order to be eligible for the 2013-2014 grant, schools had to be located in underserved areas and demonstrate that they had made mobile devices available to students already. Through an initiative known as MPower Piedmont, the Piedmont City School District had already provided students with lap tops, MacBooks, iPads and iPods for math and reading instruction.
"We are thrilled to have Piedmont Middle School selected to participate in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program. The Piedmont City School District is already making strides in empowering students to learn through the use of mobile technology," said Jonathan LeCompte – president, Verizon Wireless Georgia/Alabama region. "Through this program's comprehensive professional development, Piedmont administrators and educators will be able to further enhance the learning process through the use of mobile technology, like smartphones and tablets."
The $50,000 cash grant for the VILS program can be used to offset the cost for teachers to attend training and conferences, substitutes and stipends for participating teachers and peripheral tools to extend the use of technology such as eBooks, probes and microscopes. The grant funds cannot be used to purchase mobile devices nor can they be used for broadband access.
Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program launched in 12 schools in the fall of 2012. On June 24, 2013, the Verizon Foundation and the ISTE announced that the program was expanding to 12 more schools for the 2013-2014 school year.
The expansion will bring the total to 24 schools participating in the VILS program this fall. The Verizon Foundation, which provides funding through grants to ISTE and the participating schools, will increase its funding to $1.6 million to cover the 24 schools that will now be in the program. More than 12,000 students will benefit from classroom environments that effectively integrate technology and exhibit National Educational Technology standards.
Thinkfinity.org a Comprehensive Resource for VILS, Other Educators
In addition to the tailored professional development, VILS teachers can access the Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity.org site, a free resource that enables them to collaborate with one another and with ISTE instructional consultants; find Common Core-aligned lesson plans; and participate in an online community where educators across the country share best practices on mobile learning.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in advancing excellence in learning and teaching through the innovative and effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education. Home to ISTE's annual conference and expo and the widely adopted NETS, ISTE represents more than 100,000 professionals worldwide. For more information, visit iste.org.
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company's innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon's philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).
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SOURCE Verizon Foundation