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Expanding Investment and Greater Use of Technology in Education

by Employee ‎02-04-2014 01:25 PM - edited ‎02-05-2014 10:22 AM

Today, I was at Buck Lodge School in Maryland with President Obama as he stressed the importance of an initiative to connect, within the next five years, 99% of our nation’s classrooms to the Internet through high-speed broadband and wireless. Called ConnectEd, this effort is a critical element of 21stcentury education, and if we want to maximize its benefits for students, the government, private and non-profit sectors must all play a role in its success.


Rose pic for blog.jpgWe are driving the  21st century education agenda by ensuring that teachers know exactly what to do with the high-speed broadband networks available in schools and that they understand how best to integrate technology into their classroom in the most impactful ways. 


When teachers are trained properly and given the right support, the results of a technology infusion in the classroom are eye opening.  We developed the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS), a program specifically focused on comprehensive, ongoing teacher training in technology in 24 schools in underserved communities across the country.  The program is designed to train teachers to use technology effectively, and to increase student interest and achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) partners with us on this initiative.


A year into the program, we asked teachers to evaluate the impact of the training.  The results show that 59% of teachers were able to individualize their instruction, 52% of students showed increased technology proficiency, 40% of students had increased ability in problem solving and 37% showed increased academic achievement. In addition, VILS students said they would be more inclined to major in a STEM field than students who were not given the opportunity to study using technology.


If teachers get trained, it makes a difference.


Just ask Alexia Fornhan, a science teacher at Assabet Vocational High School in Marlborough, MA., one of the participating VILS schools.  A number of students in the school had consistently failed a state standardized test in biology, which prevented them from graduating and increased the likelihood that they would drop out.  After one year in which science teachers were trained in using technology, all the biology students passed this test.


This one story mirrors countless others. That’s why we understand the urgent need to expand these opportunities for more teachers and students across the country.  Over the next three years Verizon will invest up to $100 million in our education work to ensure that more students – particularly those in underserved communities – benefit from technology enabled education and digital learning. These initiatives include efforts to expand technology-training programs to all teachers in the country by offering a free virtual interactive course that will give middle school and high school teachers the tools to integrate technology in the classroom.  We also will work with a number of underserved schools to provide all educators with both the technology and a school-wide, intensive immersion teacher training program designed to reshape the classroom into a personalized 1:1 learning environment, and one that inspires student interest and proficiency in STEM.  


With 3 million STEM jobs unfilled, we want to leverage the tremendous education potential of technology.  In doing so, we will improve economic outcomes for our next generation and improve the competitiveness of our country.  With our investment in education we aim to break through education barriers that have long faced students in underserved communities and provide as many students as possible with skills that will shape a whole new future for them.






Making a Difference for Our Customers & Communities
The Responsibility Blog — Learn how Verizon is using communications technology to connect people to the larger resources of the community—education, health care, accessibility and safety—in ways that make lives better. Visit the Verizon Communications Corporate Responsibility Report. We hope you will share your views with us.

To view vital speeches given by our authors, visit our speeches page.

About the Authors

Rose Kirk

V.P. of Global Corporate Citizenship and President of the Verizon Foundation

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Rose leads Verizon's global corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic strategy, which focuses on applying Verizon's technology to improve education, healthcare and energy management.

James Gowen

Chief Sustainability Officer/
V.P. of Services Operations

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James oversees Verizon’s supply chain, vehicle fleet, investment recovery, purchasing and materials management and sustainability initiatives.

Jack McArtney

Director of Corporate and Community Responsibility

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Jack promotes digital wellness and online safety. He works with parents, educators, service providers, application developers and industry leaders to foster responsible use of Verizon's mobile and broadband networks.

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