Tuesday, March 31, 1998
Speaking at the Economic Club of Greater Lansing, Governor John Engler announced today that applications are available on-line for a new program that will target resources directly to teachers using technology to improve student learning. The initiative, called the "NextDay" Teacher Innovation Grants Program, supports innovative uses of available technology in Michigan schools. Teachers are eligible for grants of up to $10,000 through this program. "We are succeeding in making sure our schools have top-of-the-line computers, software and access to the Internet. Now we need to ensure that our teachers have the support necessary to use these tools to improve learning," said Governor Engler. "This program will move resources directly to the classroom so that technology can improve student performance." "The successful integration of technology into the classroom is essential for a 21st century education. We are pleased to expand our technology training for Michigan K-12 teaching and to provide support services to the NextDay program. This merges the university's academic resources with the creativity of classroom teachers to make a difference for K-12 students," said Michigan State University President Peter McPherson. In addition to the grants, Michigan State University will receive $1 million to provide support services to the NextDay program as well as to expand technology training programs for teachers, administrators and school board members throughout Michigan. Services for NextDay will include technical and leadership development for all teachers participating in the program, ongoing technical support and research to identify how technology can improve learning by ascertaining "what works and what doesn't." Approximately 200 grants each year will financially support innovative educators who have successfully integrated technology into the learning environment and want to expand, improve and make others aware of their applications. Resources will also be made available to teachers who have not yet begun to use technology in their classrooms, but have demonstrated an innovative plan for doing so in the future. "This is an important addition to our menu of training and education programs," said Doug Rothwell, CEO and department director of the Michigan Jobs Commission. "Many new technology-based learning tools are emerging that can dramatically improve classroom performance - whether in math, science or any other subject. However, most teachers are being asked to use these tools with little or no training and support. This program will change that." The NextDay initiative is part of Governor Engler's $30 million plan to advance the use of technology in Michigan schools. The outline of the plan was first announced in a cyberspeech earlier this year. Other steps include expansion of the successful Michigan Virtual Automotive College to include other important fields of study and grants to schools and libraries to establish public virtual learning campuses. "Our goal is nothing short of making Michigan the Information State in the 21st century," said Engler. "Just as Michigan muscle put the world on wheels in the 20th century, Michigan minds can keep the world moving forward in the next century." The Michigan Jobs Commission, which will administer the NextDay Innovation Grants, works to continuously upgrade the skills of Michigan workers and match workers with job opportunities. The grant program is expected to last three years. Starting April 1, grant applications and information about the program will be available at http://www.trico-associates.com/nextday or by contacting the Michigan Jobs Commission's Customer Service line at (517)373-9808.