AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The UTeach Institute, a notable teacher-preparation organization at the University of Texas at Austin, has teamed up with Verizon to launch a program that is helping tomorrow's educators effectively use mobile technology to improve student learning and interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math).
The initiative, begun in September and called the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Higher Education program, currently is available to students in UTeach secondary STEM teacher preparation programs at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Kansas at Lawrence, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and the University of Texas at Austin. The partners plan to expand this program to four more universities, starting early next year.
The initiative was announced on Monday (Dec. 2) at an event at Kealing Middle School in Austin.
Under the program, math and science majors pursuing secondary teaching certification through UTeach programs work with K-12 students, integrating mobile technologies into inquiry-based lessons. This integration greatly expands the resources and instructional tools available to teachers to engage students in relevant and exciting applications of math and science.
The program will also develop lessons and support materials based on best practices on integrating mobile technology into STEM teaching and learning, and they will eventually be added to the UTeach curriculum and available at UTeach's 35 partner universities nationwide, reaching more than 6,200 students.
In addition, the National Math and Science Initiative – a national organization that focuses on improving student performance in STEM subjects – is working with the UTeach Institute to make the UTeach curriculum and preparation program available to even more colleges and universities.
Verizon's support for the Innovative Learning Schools Higher Education program totals more than $1 million. It includes a cash grant awarded by the Verizon Foundation to UTeach, and Verizon Wireless' donation of more than 400 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets with LTE service.
"While the future teachers we will one day graduate are very tech savvy, it's one thing for them to use that technology personally, and another thing entirely to use it to help kids learn and achieve," said Michael Marder, executive director, UTeach Science Program. "This program we've launched with the Verizon Foundation is needed today as more students and classrooms across the country have mobile devices. The training we're providing our students will help them better use mobile devices as learning tools."
Justina Nixon Saintil, director of education and technology programs for the Verizon Foundation, said: "There's a need for math and science teachers to not only be experts in their fields but also be proficient in using technology to engage students and inspire them to go into STEM fields. This partnership with UTeach and NMSI will provide an innovative curriculum and technology to the educators who will be integral in teaching the scientists, engineers and innovators of tomorrow."
The Verizon Foundation is focused on improving teaching and learning of STEM subjects, particularly through the use of mobile technologies. Preliminary results from a similar program providing ongoing professional development on mobile integration in the classroom to existing middle and high school teachers – called the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program – showed increased improvements in learning STEM subjects and engagement in STEM.
Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than $300 million to support education initiatives.
About UTeach and the National Math + Science Initiative
The National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI) partners with the UTeach Institute to expand the UTeach secondary STEM teacher preparation program to universities across the country. Originally developed at the University of Texas at Austin, the UTeach program is currently being implemented at 35 universities nationwide. UTeach answers the challenge to train more math and science teachers through a program designed to combine a rigorous STEM degree with secondary teaching certification. The UTeach program model calls for a unique collaborative partnership between the colleges of science, liberal arts and education in preparing teachers who have deep content knowledge in their STEM discipline, are proficient in core scientific and mathematical practices, and are able to apply appropriate STEM pedagogical strategies to promote student mastery of core concepts, principles and practices in mathematics and science. To learn more about the growing national network of UTeach programs preparing the next generation of science and math teachers, visit www.uteach-institute.org. To learn more about NMSI's work in transforming schools to prepare more students for success in college and careers, visit www.nms.org.
About the Verizon Foundation
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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