Teachers get technology grant
February 12, 2008
Twenty Treasure Mountain International Middle School students attending the Teton Science School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this Sunday will now be outfitted with 10 video cameras in order to document their six-day experience learning about field ecology, fire science and plant succession thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Qwest Foundation’s Teachers and Technology program.
Leslie Stark, a technology teacher at Treasure Mountain, and Meghan Zarnetske, a ninth-grade Earth-science teacher, applied for the grant money this past fall in hopes of enriching their field trip by adding a technological component. The pair were surprised with a check from Qwest on Monday.
Stark and Zarnetske were given just one of the 22 grants Qwest is awarding during the month of February, totaling $50,000 in donations across the state for teachers who use technology an innovative way.
Qwest media relations representative Gary Younger said the company worked in conjunction with the Utah State Office of Education and educators from across the state to determine which of the 92 applications they received would be awarded grant money. "It was a difficult process," he said. "We would have funded all of them if we could."
Jerry Fenn, Qwest president for Utah, said the program is "a wonderful opportunity to support education and the use of technology to educate our youth." He added that the program has been "wildly successful" in Utah, as well as the 13 other western states where it is offered.
Besides being able to buy cameras with their grant money, Stark and Zarnetske are also funding one student’s trip expenses through the Technology Student Scholarship they’ve created.
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Zarnetske said this is the first time they’ve taken students to the science school, and the trip was made available to any interested ninth-grade student.
The cameras will be very beneficial, she added, because they will bring a more tangible component to the trip for students.
Stark said she will help the kids edit and post their videos onto the Internet via vlogging and blogging so that "students in Park City and across the globe will be able to look at it."
She continued that they plan on putting the information up onto sites like TeacherTube, a YouTube Web site for teachers.
Zarnetske said she hopes the technology will help synthesize some of the concepts students will learn on the trip, as well as help bring the experience back for students who were not able to attend the science school.