Funding, Grants & Awards

Pittsburgh School Uses Local Grants To Inject Technology into Classroom

An elementary school in the Pittsburgh area is taking advantage of grants from local nonprofits to use technology to enhance learning for its students.

Students at Jefferson Elementary School are already using a STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — lab that was constructed last school year with the help of a $20,000 grant from the Alleghany Intermediate Unit Center for Creativity. The room is lined with robotic kits, laptops, an Apple TV and 3D printer.

Under construction now is the SpotEd Media TV studio, thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Spark Fund for Early Learning at the Sprout Fund. The impetus for the grant was "JE TV News," a daily TV show in which students tape news segments about what's going on around school.

Currently, students tape the show in an art classroom while workers and volunteers transform a now-defunct computer lab into the TV studio. The studio will double as an instructional space for any teacher who wants to inject technology into his or her classroom.

The grant will give the school a green screen, three video cameras, a sound system and a teleprompter.

"We reinvented the space," said Principal Christopher Very, in a report on Trib Live. "We're trying to dissolve the traditional barriers of learning. We want to be on the cutting edge of education."

While the studio is still under construction, student TV producers and teachers already are taking advantage of the video cameras. Art teacher Adam Gebhardt is using them to videotape class demonstrations.

"For some reason, me in front of the students is not as exciting as me in a video," Gebhardt said.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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