$5 million donation to develop technology in Idaho classrooms


by Kim Fields


Posted on November 26, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 1:44 PM

BOISE -- The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation announced on Monday a $5 million grant to enhance technology in Idaho classrooms. The grant money will be used to establish two Doceõ Centers for Innovation + Learning, one at the University of Idaho and one at Northwest Nazarene University.

"Students at all grade levels desperately need teachers who, not only don't fear technology, but embrace it to help students adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century," says Jamie MacMillan, Executive Director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

Educators at the Doceõ Centers will study best practices of technology.  For example, they will examine who a certain piece of technology is best for, when it's best to use that technology, and how might the technology be used to enhance learning.

"What we might learn is that it's very effective at the junior high level and it loses its effectiveness the older a child gets," said Corinne Mantle-Bromley, Dean of the University of Idaho's College of Education.

Mantle-Bromley said the technology studied at the Doceõ Centers could include a wide variety of forms from handheld devices to videos.

"A lot of technology is used without any research basis behind it, and we are really excited to provide the research with K-12 teachers and make sure we are disseminating best practices based on having studied the technology," said Mantle-Bromley.

"The ultimate objective of the centers is to improve student achievement in P-12 classrooms through the effective use of technology," said Dr. Paula Kellerer, Dean of the School of Education, Social Work and Counseling at Northwest Nazarene University. "It's not about finding one solution that fits all, but finding many solutions that can be used at the right time for the right student. Every student can learn. Every student can succeed. We are here to help teachers find resources, equip them to use those resources effectively and to share the stories of success with other teachers, with Idaho, and the Northwest."

The Doceõ Centers will be launched in the spring of 2013.

The current, $5 million funding is for one year. The grant can be renewed for up to three years based on achievement.

"We're going to research and our indicator is going to be student achievement. We want to know if it makes a difference for students," said Kellerer.