Educators Rate Thinkfinity.org 'Best Site' for Free Lessons and Materials for Second Consecutive Year

NEW YORK - For the second year in a row, Thinkfinity.org has been named the top site to download free lesson plans and educational resources, according to a survey of readers of Edutopia magazine, which covers innovation in education.

Thinkfinity.org, previously known as MarcoPolo, is the Verizon Foundation's comprehensive online portal and program to more than 50,000 standards-based, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided by some of the nation's leading educational organizations.

Voted "Best site to download free lessons," Thinkfinity was chosen over other well-known education Web sites including Education World, PBS and Scholastic. "The expansive site offers hundreds of lesson plans, as well as a deep range of professional development and training material," Edutopia wrote in its April/May issue announcing its survey results.

Edutopia, published by the George Lucas Foundation as part of a mission to reinvent schools for the 21st century, recently conducted its second annual survey of the magazine's readers, most of whom are educators and higher-education professors.

Content for Thinkfinity is provided through 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Reading Association, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

"Thinkfinity has simplified classroom preparation -- it just makes it a lot easier," said Gilda Haddox, a technology integration specialist at Franklin Elementary School in Parkersburg, W.Va.

Haddox recalled using Thinkfinity.org to assist a social studies teacher who wanted to incorporate the Internet into her lesson plans on eight topics ranging from Ben Franklin to the Mohave Desert to George Washington.

Haddox clicked on the "search" function at Thinkfinity and quickly found substantive information on each topic.  "Within an hour, I had found four Web sites for each topic and placed them in electronic folders in the teacher's inbox," Haddox said.

The Verizon Foundation recently announced a $31 million commitment to Thinkfinity.org to continue to provide free online educational resources to teachers, students and community organizations.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 59 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 242,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.