SAN ANTONIO, June 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To help ensure that more students learn the skills necessary for success in higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the Verizon Foundation and the International Society for Technology in Education will expand an innovative professional-development program for teachers at schools in underserved areas. The expansion, announced on Monday ( June 24) by the foundation and the ISTE, will build on the initial success of the program, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, which was launched at 12 schools last summer.
The expansion will add 12 more schools to the VILS program this fall. The Verizon Foundation, which provides funding through grants to the ISTE and the participating schools, will increase its funding to $1.6 million to cover the 24 schools that will now be in the program. More than 12,000 students will benefit from classroom environments that effectively integrate technology and exhibit NETS standards. ( NOTE: For a list of the current and newly named Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, see the end of this release.)
Under the program, teachers receive two years of professional development that will prepare them to better incorporate existing mobile technology into classroom learning with strategies that support teaching the so-called STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – and making these subjects more appealing to students.
The professional development pathway includes on-site and virtual training and is based on a needs assessment conducted at each school at the onset of the program."For schools to realize the potential of mobile devices as powerful learning tools, teachers must be supported with the professional development necessary to integrate these tools into teaching and learning," said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis. "Our partnership with the Verizon Foundation supports ISTE's overall mission of ensuring that educators at all levels can use technology to personalize learning, engage students and help them navigate the path to success in our digital world." Increased Student Engagement, Improved Performance According to the recently released "EdTech: Revolution In Education" report from STEMconnector, 80 percent of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. require STEM adequacy; but the U.S. is currently not graduating enough students who are able to fulfill this growing need, and as many as 3 million STEM jobs have gone unfilled. The VILS program is making a difference in preparing students to qualify for these jobs. For example, participating teachers report that 37 percent of students showed improvements in learning STEM subjects. In addition, 38 percent of the students showed increased engagement, and 52 percent demonstrated increased proficiency with mobile technologies.