Grant to bring whiteboard technology to Winterquist Elementary in EskoSixth-graders at Winterquist Elementary in Esko are hungry for technology.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Sixth-graders at Winterquist Elementary in Esko are hungry for technology. That was evident Tuesday as they waited in a computer room to help surprise their teacher with technology grant.
As they became antsy, the school’s technology coordinator, Lisa Donelson, invited them to use the computers while they waited, and in less than a minute, all had logged on and were clicking away.
The idea that technology can be used to actively engage students and help them learn is not new. Finding the money to equip schools with the latest technology is a common challenge, however. To help meet that challenge, sixth-grade teacher Brian Wickenheiser applied for a $5,860 Qwest Teachers and Technology grant recently.
Tuesday afternoon, as students and staff gathered and anxiously waited, Wickenheiser was surprised when Andy Schriner of Qwest presented him with a large check, giving the school the funds to help create two pilot classrooms with the school’s only interactive whiteboards and LCD projector technology. The use of whiteboard technology lets teachers present digital media and lets students directly interact with it.
“I’m shocked and very excited,” Wickenheiser said upon receiving the check.
“It will allow students to become even more engaged in learning.”
Wickenheiser’s lesson plans include having students predict the number of lines, rays and line segments needed to make a construction, then plan and construct a virtual drawing on the interactive whiteboard.
He also said it was important to expose students to high-tech tools early on.
Schriner said the panel judging the grant applications was particularly impressed with this proposal because it allowed for more than just one whiteboard.
“The grant was great because he wrote it to benefit the most people possible,” she said.
Wickenheiser is one of 15 Minnesota public school teachers to receive a 2008 grant, which is administered by the Minnesota Business Partnership Education Foundation. The grants are being presented individually to the recipients in their schools over the next few weeks.
Now in its second year, the Qwest Teachers and Technology Grant Program received applications from more than 60 public school teachers around the state. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected 15 of those proposals to receive grants this year totaling $96,000.