The winners of the Transformation Through Innovation grants for 2016-2017 were announced in late October. Members of the AISD information technology department visited the winning teachers at their campuses and surprised them with the good news.
Sixty-four grants were awarded, totaling $937,784.
The TI grant is funded by the 2014 Bond package and includes about $1 million in each of the bond’s five implementation years to be awarded to AISD teachers and schools who develop innovative learning environments for their students through technology.
Teachers develop their own technology-based concepts and innovative ideas and then submit proposals to get them funded. Winning grants this year included professional quality cameras for photojournalism, technology for makerspaces, iPads, Chromebooks and robotics. (Read about all the grant winners.)
The money typically purchases technological equipment for use in classrooms and libraries.
But it’s “not just about adding more,” said Barry Fox, director of instructional technology.
The grant money’s purpose is to facilitate innovative teaching methods that will truly transform the classroom and learning environment. It’s about using technology to teach in a new, more effective way.
“It isn't about the technology, it is about the learning,” said Marcus Miller, coordinator of instructional technology. “The technology is just a tool to make the learning experiences in our classrooms more effective and more efficient.
“These grants will help all AISD students develop 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking … skills that employers are looking for in the coming decades.”
More than $3.2 million has been awarded in the four years of the grant program. Next year (2017-2018), will likely be the final year for the TI grant.
“Teachers should start brainstorming now about how they might want to transform their classrooms,” Miller said. “Grant proposals will be due early in the 2017-2018 school year.”[Read how several previous grants have been implemented: Moore Elementary, Shackelford Junior High, Martin High School.]