(Seattle, WA) The Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today that teachers at Eckstein Middle School and Garfield High School have been awarded $10,000 Qwest Foundation Teachers and Technology grants for learning projects that integrate digital technologies into their classrooms.

(Seattle, WA) The Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today that teachers at Eckstein Middle School and Garfield High School have been awarded $10,000 Qwest Foundation Teachers and Technology grants for learning projects that integrate digital technologies into their classrooms. 

The two grant awards are among nine given statewide by the Quest Foundation to help teachers create 21st century learning environments that use real-world technologies to solve real-world problems. 

At Eckstein Middle School, teacher Eric Miller’s sixth-grade class will use the grant to integrate social justice, the environment and public health into the learning goals outlined for their Heroes of Africa project. Miller’s students will come to understand Africa today through research, data gathering, interviews, reflection and collaboration. Following an in-depth analysis, they will design multimedia products that interpret and communicate what they’ve learned about the continent, and what they think will help to solve its societal, industrial and environmental problems.  

The grant award came as no surprise to Eckstein’s principal, Kim Whitworth. “Eric Miller provides multiple opportunities for students to integrate technology into their learning as process and product,” Whitworth said. “I am continually impressed with what his students know and do with technology and information literacy. He is one of those teachers who consider what the future holds for our current students and those to come.  He thinks outside the box of traditional learning to provide them with the tools they will need to be successful now and in the future.”   

Because Miller’s classroom includes both regular and special education students, he plans to organize students into teams that include those who are academically strong as well as students who are struggling with reading disabilities and those who are hearing impaired.  

At Garfield High School, the teaching team of Corey Louviere and Janet Woodward won a grant for a photo exhibit project designed to engage their two classes in an exploration of the history and culture of Seattle’s Central Area. Garfield High School, built in 1922, is one of many historical landmarks in the community that they plan to research.  

Students will document the multi-cultural topography of the area, where six bus lines converge, and the rich diversity of its neighborhoods, commercial and community centers. In a series of field trips, students will photograph specific scenes, take notes and interview residents. Each student will select his or her best image for the exhibit and prepare statements that interpret the photograph and its context. The best 20 photographs will be curated for public exhibit in museums, libraries and community centers. 

Since 2007, Qwest Foundation support has made it possible to award grants to 60 Washington state educators (individual teachers and teacher teams) who use digital technologies to improve their instructional practice, and engage and motivate their young learners. Informally, Qwest Foundation awardees participate in a professional learning community through which they network, share expertise and inspire each other’s creative development as teachers.  

The winning projects were evaluated and selected by representatives from OSPI, the Governor’s Office, Qwest Foundation, Microsoft and several Washington educators.

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