The Verizon Foundation has awarded Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education a $150,000 grant to help equip teachers with the tools and skills needed to prepare students for success in today's digital society.
The grant, announced Thursday (Jan. 14), will support a certificate program called Educational Leaders of the 21st Century. It will consist of three online courses that will enable educators establish a foundation for using technology in a variety of educational settings.
"This program directly addresses the knowledge gaps that teachers are managing daily in the classroom and helps them harness the power of technology to engage students and encourage learning in new and exciting ways," said Richard De Lisi, dean of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. "We are very fortunate to have been selected by Verizon to further our goal of helping teachers promote meaningful learning and develop practical applications for use in the classroom."
The new program will use Verizon's net-based Thinkfinity (www.Thinkfinity.org), and the first course will be available to teachers in January 2011.
Verizon Thinkfinity contains tens of thousands of free, engaging educational resources that make learning fun, including K-12 lesson plans, in-class activities and educational videos that can be found quickly and searched by grade level, keyword and subject.
In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation's leading educational organizations, Verizon Thinkfinity offers a comprehensive professional development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of Verizon Thinkfinity tools.
"This is a great opportunity to empower teachers and students by using technology to improve teacher training and student success," said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey. "Verizon and Rutgers have a unique opportunity to jointly ensure the future success of today's young people by providing a critically important professional development opportunity for teachers across the state and, potentially, around the world."
Dr. Erica Boling, associate professor in the Department of Learning and Teaching at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, will oversee the development, implementation and evaluation of the program over the next few years. Boling's previous research includes the study of online learning communities and the dispositions of educators regarding integration of technology in the classroom. She was also recently named co-editor for the Literacy Research Association (formerly the National Reading Conference).
"We are facing the unfortunate reality that education systems aren't keeping pace with the dynamic new ways that information is being made available," said Boling. "The Educational Leaders of the 21st Century certification program will be unique in its capability to actually leverage the very medium on which we are offering training as a tool to reach a wider audience of teachers."
About the Verizon Foundation
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 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 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 $24.4 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 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
About the Rutgers Graduate School of Education
Founded in 1923 in New Brunswick, N.J., the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) community creates new knowledge about educational processes and policies. GSE is a national leader in the development of research-based instructional, professional, and outreach programs. The faculty and staff at GSE strive to prepare educators who create effective and equitable educational opportunities for all learners. The GSE offers several masters and doctoral programs for professional educators who work in PK-16 environments. Additional information is available by visiting www.gse.rutgers.edu or calling 732-932-7496.