In 2001, the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust (OETT) was formed. The purpose of the trust is to equip schools with the technology to compete in the global marketplace. Thirty million dollars was placed in the trust by AT&T and a process was put in place for schools to apply for technology grants. Schools who are successful receive a grant with a total value of sixty-five thousand dollars. Forty thousand dollars of the grant is for technology equipment and twenty- five thousand is for professional development. All the professional development is provided by the K20 center in Norman. The K20 Center is a statewide education research and development center that promotes innovative learning. Each year approximately twenty schools are chosen as grant recipients. Since 2001,OETT has awarded twenty one million dollars to three hundred and ten schools from all across the state.
Applying for the grant is a year long process. The process began with required professional development in the spring of 2018 for educational leaders at the K20 center. After returning from the workshop in Norman, Seminole Middle School formed a leadership team of teachers for the application process. The leadership team, with input from all teachers, developed grant goals. Once our grant goals were determined, a shared vision was developed with input from all stakeholders. The technology vision for our school is, “Educators will use technology to enhance motivation and create optimal learning environments through authentic teaching to develop empowered learners who think critically and communicate effectively.” The decision was made, using our technology vision and goals as a guide, to purchase chromebooks for all classrooms upon success of the application.
Seminole Middle School was informed in March of 2019 that we were one of the successful applicants. One hundred and eighty Chromebooks were purchased with grant money. The middle school now has a set of Chromebooks in every regular education classroom. The K20 Center has been providing professional development monthly since the beginning of this school year Seminole Middle School teachers have received training on Google Classroom, apps and extensions, Green Room, Google Earth, Google Maps, and other tools and strategies to help fulfill our goal of creating empowered learners. The grant implementation process ends in May of 2020.
Applying for the OETT grant was a challenging process and our students were the driving force behind applying. Creating empowered learners who can think critically and communicate effectively is the heart of our technology vision. Classroom sets of Chromebooks will help our teachers prepare students for success. I would like to thank all the middle school staff for their hard work and dedication during the writing and implementation process. Without their commitment to our students, a successful grant would not have been possible.