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Education Department Boosts Technology, Study Abroad Initiatives Through New Grant

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All Hiram College student teachers will now receive an iPad mini to use during clinical experiences and keep post-graduation, thanks to a new grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

This is just one of the new initiatives that will be possible from the $184,330.51 the education department received from Ohio’s Race to the Top Funds, in the form of an Ohio Educator Preparation Program Performance Grant. The money, to be spent over five years, was earned because of the department’s high marks in preparing future teachers for the workforce.

“The Education Department is pleased to be recognized for the work we do in preparing teachers,” said Roxanne Sorrick, associate professor of education and department chair. “This grant recognizes the strength of Hiram’s teacher licensure program and offers opportunities for us to build on technology initiatives already in place. Our goal is to prepare teachers who are able to step in to the 21st century classroom and meet the needs of every student.”

Hiram College scored 24.5 – far above the state average score of 14.3 – in the following criteria, used to determine which programs received grant money:

  • Licensure test scores
  • National accreditation
  • Value-added data
  • Field and clinical experience hours
  • Field and clinical placement diversity
  • Pre-service teacher survey results
  • Clinical preparation of candidates/professional development for practitioners

In determining how to spend the money, education faculty decided to start with technology because of the ever-changing nature of the classroom. Students will receive their iPad mini during their junior or senior year so that they may use it in clinical experiences and student teaching.

This initiative builds on a $100,000 eTech Ohio grant the department received in 2011. The eTech Ohio grant allowed Hiram College to partner with three area public schools to integrate iPads into the curriculum. The department iPads are available for education students to check out and use in clinical experiences.

“It is critical that our teacher candidates are prepared to teach in classrooms that are increasingly focused on the use of technology,” Sorrick said. “The goal is to strengthen teaching and learning at the PreK to 12 level and to ensure that students leave school prepared for college and career. This grant will enable us to take the next steps to ensure Hiram teacher candidates are among the best in the field.”

To ensure technology funding is still available after five years, the department will also create a technology endowment.

In addition, the grant will provide sixteen $500 study away scholarships for education students over five years. Hiram education students currently participate in summer study abroad trips to the Dominican Republic, where they teach young people about health. The money may go toward that trip or toward trips currently in development where current students can work with alumni across the U.S. teaching in more urban, diverse school settings.

Finally, the grant will increase accessibility to Hiram’s professional development courses for working teachers, currently offered through the education department. The grant will allow teachers to take two-credit-hour courses for the price of one credit hour. These grant-specific courses will be offered beginning summer 2015.

Learn more about education at Hiram College.

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