EUGENE, Ore., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that before today's middle school students graduate from high school, the number of jobs requiring skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will more than double. As schools around the country strive to ensure that their students are building the skills required for success in higher education and STEM careers, the Verizon Foundation, in collaboration with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), will provide schools in underserved areas with the professional development necessary to achieve this critical 21st century goal.
Through a $295,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, ISTE will provide educators at 12 underserved schools around the country with year-long professional development that will prepare them to facilitate, model, integrate and apply existing mobile technologies to support digital-age STEM learning. These schools are part of the Foundation's Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program.
This blended professional development model – which includes both live and virtual training -- will be based on an individual needs assessment conducted at each school.
"Almost every career today – whether it is in a STEM-specific field or not – requires skills in science, math, and, particularly, technology," said Don Knezek, ISTE CEO. "Ensuring that educators – at all levels – can use technology to personalize learning, engage students, and help them navigate the path to success in our increasingly global and digital world has long been at the core of ISTE's mission. We are proud to share this goal with the Verizon Foundation and to have been selected to support this important initiative."
Studies show that minorities, women, and people from low-income backgrounds are underrepresented in the STEM workforce, while demand is high and growing.
Over the past 10 years, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than other jobs.
To help ensure that students are on a path to 21st century success and help bridge this digital divide, educators from the VILS schools will also collaborate with ISTE inside the Verizon Foundation's professional learning community at community.thinkfinity.org. This free online community for educators will feature discussion topics, resources and answers from subject matter experts and ISTE faculty. The year-long initiative will conclude with a virtual conference in spring 2013, where the participating schools will have the opportunity to showcase their successes.
Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education and technology for the Verizon Foundation, said: "As a technology company, we know firsthand that Verizon's progress and innovation come from a well-educated workforce. Our commitment is to use our foundation's resources to ensure tomorrow's workforce is prepared to meet the growing demand of jobs needing skills from STEM education. ISTE's experienced professional development team will provide insights into the apps and tools educators can readily use to get students engaged, especially in STEM."
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 exposition, the ISTE leadership conference, and the widely adopted NETS, ISTE represents more than 100,000 professionals worldwide. For more information, visit iste.org.