Verizon Awards $60,000 Grant to the Florida Center for Instructional Technology to Train Teachers to Use Innovative, Free Online Resources at Thinkfinity.org

The USF College of Education's Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) has received a $60,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to raise awareness and train teachers to use the free educational resources available on Verizon Thinkfinity.org.  The grant was announced here Thursday (Aug. 6) before a class of teachers at FCIT.

Verizon Thinkfinity.org is a free, comprehensive Web site containing thousands of educational resources, including standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans, online educational games, videos and other materials provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational organizations.

"Providing these resources to teachers will ensure they will have a continual supply of engaging, standards-based resources to reach their students," said Roy Winkelman, Ph.D., director, Florida Center for Instructional Technology.

Verizon Thinkfinity.org offers elementary through high school teachers resources across eight academic disciplines, from science to English to mathematics, to improve student achievement. Thinkfinity.org is designed to help teachers gain access quickly to high-quality online resources.

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation's leading educational organizations, Thinkfinity.org also offers a free, robust professional-development program for teachers and trainers.

FCIT will partner with the Florida Department of Education to raise awareness of Verizon Thinkfinity.org and schedule online and in-person professional development opportunities statewide to help Florida teachers make the most of the free resources.

"Teachers have an incredibly challenging and important job, and that's why Verizon is proud to partner with many of the nation's leading educational organizations to provide these world-class educational resources to every teacher in reach of the Internet," said Michelle Robinson, Verizon, president - Southeast region. "Through Thinkfinity.org, teachers will quickly and easily find the compelling resources needed to engage their students and improve student achievement."

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

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

The USF College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is fully approved by the Florida Department of Education. The USF College of Education is the 4th largest public college of Education in the nation. For more information about the USF College of Education, visit: itunes.usf.edu or: www.coedu.usf.edu.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.