WASHINGTON - The Verizon Foundation Tuesday (March 27) announced a $31 million investment to provide free online educational resources to teachers, students and community organizations through Thinkfinity.org, Verizon's comprehensive online portal to 50,000 standards-based, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided by some of the nation's leading educational organizations.
The $31 million commitment, which will be distributed over three years, will allow leading educational organizations to continue to produce and expand the number of interactives and other educational resources available at www.thinkfinity.org.
The Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, which is deploying the most advanced wireline and wireless broadband networks in America. Thinkfinity is the Verizon Foundation's signature educational and literacy program, and includes the program formerly known as Verizon MarcoPolo, and the Verizon Literacy Network.
"Thinkfinity is a tremendous asset for teachers, students, parents and community organizations," said Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president - public affairs, policy and communications. "It's appropriate that our foundation supports a literacy and education program that is built on the technology that Verizon is deploying. The broadband networks we are building can provide a student anywhere, anytime access to the world's richest educational content created by the leading experts in the fields of history, science, mathematics and the arts."
Content for Thinkfinity is provided through the following 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 and ProLiteracy Worldwide.
Also on Tuesday, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History was announced as Thinkfinity's 11th content partner. The museum's electronic outreach program creates experiences that incorporate qualities of a museum visit with the flexibility and interactivity of online tools. As a partner, the museum plans to help create family and after-school offerings on Thinkfinity.org.
"Producing interactive, engaging lessons plans is a necessity to reach our children in the classroom today," said Charmona Whitfield, an instructional technology teacher for grades K-6 at Mosby Woods Elementary School in Fairfax, Va. "Because our kids have iPods, cell phones and X-boxes, they need to truly interact with what they are learning. To simply stand in front of them and talk is not enough. Thinkfinity makes learning fun."
Whitfield said Thinkfinity also provides practical benefits to teachers. "It's a time saver," she said. "It's concise, easy to navigate. You have very quick access to tried-and-proven lesson plans."
Thinkfinity combines authoritative, standards-based K-12 educational content and robust professional development with research and evidence-based resources and practices for literacy across the lifespan.
Research published in the Peabody Journal of Education (2006) showed that providing state-of-the-art educational resources had a positive effect on student achievement, especially in schools that traditionally lacked such resources.
"Thinkfinity is an exemplary online platform for delivering high-quality resources to a wide range of stakeholders that support lifelong learners in school and beyond the school day," said Dr. Trina Davis, president-elect of the International Society for Technology in Education. "Taking an integrated approach in providing stellar resources and focused professional development assures that the needs of 21st century learners will be met in schools and communities across the country."
The Verizon Foundation 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.