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18 Vermont and New Hampshire Students Were Announced as Winners of the Kodu Challenge Game Development Contest!
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 01:36:55 PM Wed 07/18/2012

 

Manchester, VT – July 18, 2012 – Congratulations to the winners of the Kodu Challenge, a game development contest for 4-12th grade students residing in Vermont and parts of New Hampshire.  The contest, sponsored by Microsoft and run by members of Digital Wish, encouraged students to create fun, innovative games using Microsoft Kodu Game Lab software.  To reward the students’ creativity and hard work, nine students went home with an Xbox console with Kinect, and 10 more received Xbox games, courtesy of Microsoft!  You can read more about the Kodu Challenge at http://www.digitalwish.org/kodu-contest/index/home.

Winners came from all across Vermont and New Hampshire and included students of all ages.  In fact, the Grand Prize winner for the 7-12th grade category, Robert Barlow (pictured on the left), an eighth grade student from Twinfield Union School, has yet to enter High School!  Robert won with his unique and detailed game Star Racer. Moretown Elementary School boasted the most winners:  Hannah Goodman, 4-6th grade Grand Prize winner with her game Hannah’s World; Erin Magill, 1st Place winner with her game, Erin’s Dirt Bike Canibals; and Bailey McHugh and Anja Samsom, the self-proclaimed “Green Monkeys”, 2nd Place Winners with their game Eat the Star.
 

Other 1st Place winners, each awarded an Xbox with Kinect for their efforts, were:

  • Owen and Casey with their game Golden Apple Defender; East Dover, VT
  • Leland Peschl; Middletown Springs Elementary, VT
  • Matt with his game Bob v04; Pownal Elementary, VT
  • Zander with his game Farm Trees; Fairfield, VT.

 

3rd Place winners were awarded with an Xbox game, valued at $50!

  • Anil, Kunaal, Rohan and Vasant with their game Final Air Hockey
  • Boone, James, Russell and Chris with their game Cycle Survival

The games were outstanding and the judging was fierce.  Kodu Judge and Digital Wish employee, Sky Kochenour, talks about how tricky it was deciding upon winners.  “It was great that we had so many high-quality games, but that also made it much more difficult to judge them!  We weren’t just differentiating between good and bad.  We were differentiating between good and great.”

The contest concluded at the end of Digital Wish’s after-school program that was started this year to teach students in 4-6th grade the fundamentals of game development using Kodu Game Lab, a Microsoft game development program.  The students discovered that Kodu software was incredibly easy to use. Within the first class period, all the participants succeed in building a 3D world with terrain, objects, characters, and controls.  Over the course of just 4 class periods, the students were able to produce complex behaviors, paths, reactions, dialog and surprisingly advanced gaming strategy.

For educators, adoption of the Kodu software has been made quite easy. There is a wide array of included tutorials that allow students to literally follow along and try out complex features that challenge them think critically and use their problem solving skills. Upon teaching an introductory lesson to Kodu, Digital Wish’s Executive Director, Heather Chirtea, noted that “Kodu gives students the ability to solve complex problems using nothing more than simple mouse clicks.  By the end of the first lesson, students were soaring through the basics and moving on to discover creative new ways they could program their characters!”

A big ‘congratulations’ goes out from Digital Wish to all the winners of the Kodu Challenge and a ‘thank you’ to Microsoft for donating the prizes, and to everyone who participated in both the contest and the after-school program!

About Digital Wish
Digital Wish is a nonprofit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms. At www.digitalwish.org, teachers make technology wishes, and donors make those wishes come true with contributions, bringing technology to needy classrooms in all 50 states. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 29,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 56,000 teachers, and delivered over $12 million in technology products to American classrooms directly impacting over 500,000 students.
 

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Invite Your Students to Enter the Kodu Game Design Contest for K-12 Vermont Classrooms - Win Xbox Kinect
Posted by Jonathan Gallup at 07:31:53 PM Thu 04/19/2012

April 19, 2012 - Manchester, VT - Students as early as 4th grade, are building incredible 3D computer games with just one class period of training!  Through May 18th, 4-12th grade students across the state of Vermont will be given the opportunity to participate in a game design competition sponsored by Digital Wish.  Kodu Challenge is a game design contest broken down into two categories, grades 4-6 and 7-12, and each member of the the grand prize winning team will be awarded an Xbox 360 with Kinect, courtesy of Microsoft. Runners up will receive Xbox game bundles.  You can visit the Kodu Challenge website here: http://www.digitalwish.org/kodu-contest/index/home

Kodu Challenge invites students to create a fun, innovative computer game using Microsoft Kodu Game Lab, a game design software that requires no experience.  Students can enter either as a team of up to 4 people, or as an individual. Each individual or team may only submit one game.  Kodu Game Lab is a free program and can be downloaded here: http://fuse.microsoft.com/page/kodu

The students are discovering that Kodu software is incredibly easy to use. Digital Wish has been teaching the Kodu software in its after-school clubs, where high school students act as mentors for elementary kids in grades 3-6. Within the first class period, all the participants succeed in building a 3D world with terrain, objects, characters, and controls.  Over the course of just 4 class periods, the students are developing complex behaviors, paths, reactions, dialog and surprisingly advanced gaming strategy.

For educators, adoption of the Kodu software is made easy. There is a wide array of included tutorials that allow students to literally follow along and try out complex features that challenge students to think critically and use their problem solving skills.  Upon teaching an introductory lesson to Kodu, Digital Wish’s Executive Director, Heather Chirtea, noted that “Kodu gives students the ability to solve complex problems using nothing more than simple mouse clicks.  By the end of the first lesson, students were soaring through the beginning tasks and moving on to discover creative new ways they could program their characters!”  

For more information, visit the Kodu Challenge website here: http://www.digitalwish.org/kodu-contest/index/home

About Digital Wish
Digital Wish is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms.
The www.digitalwish.org website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for classroom technology. Here, teachers can make technology wish lists...and supporters make those wishes come true. PTA’s and PTO’s can start online fundraisers for new classroom technology in just a few mouse clicks, complete with credit card processing. Over 28,000 classroom technology wishes have been granted!

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish’s Apps Center for Education Helps Teachers Identify Android™ Apps for the K-12 Classroom!
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 12:20:14 PM Tue 03/20/2012

Manchester Center, VT – March 21st, 2012 – Funded by a grant from the Motorola Mobility Foundation, Digital Wish has just launched the Digital Wish Apps Center, the newest tool designed to help teachers find the best educational applications designed for the Android™ operating system.  With so many apps currently on the market, this tool was created to give teachers an easier way to filter through them based on search criteria such as grade level, subject, free/paid, and ratings by fellow educators. In just a few mouse clicks, educators can find apps that fit their topic and grade level, then immediately download them from from Google Play™.

School technology budgets have been cut so far that many classes have very limited or no access to technology. Yet, at the same time, students are bringing their smartphones to class. Without adequate technology funding, some schools that have historically banned cell phones are taking a hard look at the devices students are bringing into the classroom and teachers are discovering some fantastic apps that turn these smartphones into learning tools. According to classroom trainer Eric Bird, “The ability to use student devices can give a whole new population of students access to learning technology, who would otherwise have to go without.”

“We are thrilled that Digital Wish has leveraged our Empowerment Grant to link classroom needs with mobile technology resources, ultimately helping to transform educational communities,” said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Mobility Foundation.   

As a nationwide trend, an increasing number of schools are looking at tablets as an alternative to costly computers. Digital Wish’s Apps Center was developed to help educators identify the perfect app among the thousands available in Google Play.  Digital Wish Program Developer, Sky Kochenour explains, “The tablet market is taking off, and apps are being developed so quickly that it has proven extremely difficult for educators to sort through the masses and select the appropriate apps to use in the classrooms. The Apps Center is a catalyst for changing the educational pathways to technology.”

With the prevalence of tablets and mobile devices in the classroom, the Apps Center gives teachers the ability to find what they are looking for quickly and conveniently.  They will spend less time searching, and more time teaching. Digital Wish carefully pre-screens all apps before they are showcased in the Apps Center to determine their appropriateness for teachers.  This allows teachers to go to directly to the Apps Center, do a quick search, and locate apps that are relevant to their needs.

Visit the apps center and give it a try for yourself.

 

About Digital Wish

Digital Wish is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms.

The www.digitalwish.org website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for classroom technology. Here, teachers can make technology wish lists...and supporters make those wishes come true. PTA’s and PTO’s can start online fundraisers for new classroom technology in just a few mouse clicks, complete with credit card processing. Over 28,000 classroom technology wishes have been granted!

 

About Motorola Mobility Foundation 

The Motorola Mobility Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Mobility. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Mobility seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. The Motorola Mobility Foundation focuses its funding on education, community, health and wellness and disaster relief. For more information, on Motorola Mobility Corporate and Foundation giving, visit Motorola.com/give.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish Awarded A.D. Henderson Foundation Grant to Develop Sustainability Tools for School Technology Programs
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 06:22:14 PM Tue 03/06/2012

Manchester Center, VT- March 6, 2012- Digital Wish has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the A.D. Henderson Foundation for the Vermont School Modernization Initiative, which supplies classrooms the computers, training, and curriculum necessary for students to develop 21st century skills. These funds will support the research and development of resources to help schools identify and secure sustainable funding streams for their technology programs.

The Vermont School Modernization Initiative has provided curriculum, training, and computers to 1,269 fourth through sixth grade students and 79 teachers in 28 schools across Vermont. Just as Digital Wish has modeled technology implementation strategies, this new grant will allow Digital Wish create new resources that will help schools develop sustainable funding strategies.  In order to ensure that schools have clear paths to future funding to sustain their new technology programs, Digital Wish will develop an online sustainability course that includes a comprehensive list of proven ideas for the reallocation of school budgets, community engagement strategies, and checklists of often-overlooked sources of funding.

For administrators, Digital Wish will develop online tools that will auto-generate a starter list of relevant sustainability tasks and fundraising strategies based on a school's current socio-economic status, PTA engagement, staff readiness, and technology integration progress. Additionally, through the School Modernization Initiative, a collaborative learning curriculum unit will help encourage community support.  

By September 2012, Digital Wish will be able to supply each of the 28 Vermont School Modernization Initiative schools with a comprehensive sustainability guide, impacting not only the 1,348 direct program participants, but also thousands more students in the same schools and districts across the state. To further share this knowledge, articles on re-budgeting, sustainability, and leadership will be published nationwide and Digital Wish will automate as many resources as possible so that schools statewide and nationwide can benefit from newly developed online sustainability tools.

About Digital Wish
Digital Wish is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms. The www.digitalwish.org website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for classroom technology. In addition to making over 28,388 technology wishes come true for American educators, Digital Wish provides a host of fundraising ideas and allows teachers to craft a technology wish list so that parents and community members can make a classroom contribution and invest in America’s future.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

BLACK FRIDAY ALERT: Take Advantage of Huge Discounts on Technology Every Hour on Digital Wish- Teachers can Purchase, Parents can Donate!
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 06:13:17 PM Wed 11/23/2011
November 23, 20111 - Manchester Center, VT -- Digital Wish will be giving away 25 Flip Camcorders every hour, providing 40-50% discounts on Dell computer bundles, Livescribe Smartpens, and Kodak video cameras, and offering 2-for-1 promotions on software tools. They have been working together with manufacturers to set up a fantastic schedule of Black Friday hourly deals for the holidays. PTAs and classroom supporters can stretch their holiday giving dollars further by donating any of the great technology promotions on www.digitalwish.org. Educators can take advantage of the deals to utilize their scarce technology budgets.

Most of the deals are limited time / limited quantity so be sure to plan accordingly. The most current schedule is here: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/news?id=155

*Will be available through Monday.

Start a Fundraiser - Earn a Flip:

PTAs and supporters who plan to give over $500 in technology this holiday season, should do their giving at www.digitalwish.org. Digital Wish will donate a free Flip video camera to any classroom that receives at least $500 through an online fundraiser by December 31st. Let Digital Wish match your donation with a 4-hour professional-grade Flip camcorder, worth over $200, this holiday season! Start a fundraiser here:

http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/fundraisers



Every Hour – Starting at 6:00am EST, we’ll donate 25 Flip Mino HD video cameras every hour. Limit one per customers. $24.95 processing and validation fee applies.


*5:00-6:00AM Kodak 2-for-$199 Waterproof Video Camera Kits with rechargeable batteries, HDMI cables and media software (normally $149 each, no limit, 250 available).


6:00-7:00AM Loaded Dell Latitude 2120 Netbook Bundles – up to 48% off - includes Windows 7 Pro, MS Office 10, 2GB RAM, 250 GB hard drive, webcam, 10.1” monitor upgraded to 1366X768 resolution, 6-cell battery upgrade that lasts the school day, 3-year extended on-site warranty, added shoulder strap, (normally $1,200, 50 units available, you can not get this price anywhere else).


*7:00-8:00AM 2-for-1 Video Podcasting, $99 for 2 (no cap, limited time)


*8:00-9:00AM Livescribe Smartpen Bundles, Buy 2-Get one free! Includes the Livescribe 8GB Echo smartpen, micro USB cable, Livescribe desktop software, extra ink cartridge, Smartpen 101online training course, K12 Idea Book, k12 Deployment Guide, MyScript software for handwriting to text transcription, and stylus (not available to schools in Florida, no cap, ends 11/21 at midnight EST).


9:00-10:00AM Flip MinoHD Mobile Lab - Buy an Equipped Mobile Lab Without Cameras and we'll fill it with 10 FREE Flip video cameras. (27 available, no pre-orders) http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/product?id=112515


*10:00-11:00AM Limited-quantity scanner/ inkjet printer/ copiers with FREE ink special (15 available until sold out). Software BOGOs - Buy one, get another free! Selected software titles include podcasting, video editing, keyboarding, early learning, early music, phonics series, (no quantity limit, limited time offer).


11:00-12:00PM Retro Hour - Software that runs on older computers - slashed prices at 50%-84% off (One hour only, 70 different CD-ROM titles are $12.99 each with free shipping).


*12:00-1:00PM Animation hour – Buy Stop Motion Pro Software and get a free Microsoft HD webcam (Limited time promotion, pre-order now) http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/product?id=9212 . Also, discounts on clay animation starter kits.


1:00-2:00PM Special Education Hour - 30% off On Track Reading Series and Leaps and Bounds series. Buy a Skoog, get a bundle FREE (limited time promotion).


2:00-3:00PM Buy the Pyramid Math 3D Game Series ($79, 3-CD set) and get a Calculator FREE (worth $20).


*3:00-5:00PM Vocab Videos - 75% off SAT test-prep subscriptions (one hour only, not available anywhere else)  PSAT scores come back in December and SAT and ACT test dates are fast-approaching, so now is a perfect time to help your students learn essential vocabulary with Vocab Videos!  The Vocab Videos system uses hilarious short videos to illustrate the meanings of 500 frequently-tested words, showing students what words mean instead of just telling them. Subscriptions feature study tools including quizzes, worksheets and a multimedia digital flashcard maker, so students can practice using the words. Teachers can monitor their students’ progress from their educator accounts. Help your students by taking advantage of this very special Vocab Videos offer! (Two hours only!)

4:00-5:00PM Multimedia Mobile Lab – $250 Off!  Rolling crate with photography and video equipment at a substantial discounts.


About Digital Wish

Digital Wish is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms. The www.digitalwish.org website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for classroom technology. Here, teachers can make technology wish lists... and supporters make those wishes come true. PTA’s and PTO’s can start online fundraisers for new classroom technology in just a few mouse clicks, complete with credit card processing. Over 26,000 classroom technology wishes have been granted!

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Animation Enthusiasts - Get a Microsoft Webcam Free, When You Buy Stop Motion Pro Studio HD on Digital Wish!
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 09:42:44 PM Tue 11/15/2011

Manchester Center, VT- November 15, 2011 - If you want to engage your students, just assign an animation project! Educators who buy Stop Motion Pro Studio HD animation software will receive a free Microsoft high-definition webcam ($39.99 value). Stop Motion Pro is so easy to use, that students from 3rd grade onwards can shoot impressive frame-by-frame animation sequences using nothing more than simple mouse clicks. The frames are automatically assembled and played back in a flip-book style sequence. Teachers and their supporters can purchase the software and get their free webcam here: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/product?id=9212


Used in the filming of Aardman Animation Studio's Wallace & Gromit films, Stop Motion Pro makes it easy for students to produce high-quality animation projects. The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Webcam works seamlessly with the software to shoot frames of animation using clay figures, or to capture time lapse photography.


“I’ve been having a blast using Stop Motion Pro together with the Microsoft camera to make animation sequences.” said Digital Wish’s founder and executive director Heather Chirtea. “Last night, I took a time lapse sequence of a flower blooming.  I set up the webcam to take a photo every 20 minutes while I slept.  This morning, I woke up and watched an amazing video sequence of the flower blooming. It was so easy!  This should be at the top of the  Christmas list for any teacher.”   


The webcam will not only help students record footage to use with the animation software, but it also allows for a whole range of new classroom lessons and activities.  The bendable foot can be hung from any surface, and the cord is long enough to make camera set-up a breeze. It’s perfect for capturing video interviews as well.


According to Chirtea, “We created a video of a magic carpet flying through the woods. I hooked the camera to a branch, sat my actor on a table with a carpet draped over the top, and shot 30 individual frames moving the table a little further forward, with each shot.  Then I used a paint program to erase the table legs on every frame.  When I played it back, the magic carpet flew through the air.”


Digital Wish is proud to be able to offer teachers the free webcam during the holiday season.  Get the Stop Motion Pro animation bundle and many more special educator discounts at www.digitalwish.org.



About Digital Wish
Digital Wish is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms.
The www.digitalwish.org website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for
classroom technology. Teachers make technology wish lists, and supporters make those wishes come true. Digital Wish provides a host of fundraising ideas and allows teachers to e-mail and print their technology wish lists so that parents and community members can contribute. A new fundraising feature lets PTAs, and PTOs start online fundraisers for new classroom technology in just a few mouse clicks. Over 26,000 classroom technology wishes have been granted at Digital Wish! Make a donation and invest in our children’s future.

Digital Wish Contact: John Sullivan, Communications Manager, 802-549-4572, [email protected]

###

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish Gives $100 Matching Grants on ELMO Document Cameras for Educators
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 01:10:30 PM Fri 10/28/2011
Manchester Center, VT- October 28, 2011- Digital Wish will contribute $100 towards each ELMO product purchased for the classroom at www.digitalwish.org. Schools and classroom supporters alike can now stretch their funding dollars further to make their favorite educator's technology wishes come true.  The TT-02RX document camera is available as a stand alone item, or included in a choice of two bundles. Get the grants here:
http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/product_search?ps_keywords=elmo&asearch=1

"The ELMO document camera has been one of the most requested classroom tools on Digital Wish," said Heather Chirtea, Executive Director and Founder of Digital Wish, "We're ecstatic that we can provide a $100 matching grant program on top of an already low price in these tough economic times."

The ELMO TT-02RX is the most popular document camera in America.  It boasts over 40X total zoom with auto or manual focus, which is perfect for zooming-in on small text or complex math problems.  The large display area can capture documents and objects as big as 11" x 17".  An internal 1.3 megapixel chip allows smooth capture of moving objects at a steady 30 frames-per-second motion clip.  In addition, the document camera can be controlled from up to 23 feet away with the remote control which is included in the box.  With both SD and USB ports, snapshots of student work or lessons can be easily captured and exported to another device. The Image Mate software comes with each purchase and allows the user to annotate and mark up the projected materials from their computer.

Two bundles and the stand alone document camera will each qualify for the $100 matching grant program.  One bundle brings together the powerful, but portable CRP-221 projector along with the document camera.  The other bundle includes the document camera and the award winning CRA-1 tablet, which allows the teacher to wirelessly control the document camera from up to 50 feet away.  This tablet was a winner in the 28th Annual  "Awards of Excellence" by Tech & Learning magazine.

"We help teachers at Digital Wish," said Chirtea, "By making the ELMO Teacher's Tool document camera available with an additional matching grant, we hope educators around the country will see their ultimate wish come true either from district technology funding or engaged community supporters."

Make your classroom lessons an event with the ELMO Teacher's Tool document camera.  Teachers can add ELMO products to their wish list and supporters can grant their wishes at
www.digitalwish.org

About Digital Wish
Digital Wish is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms. The www.digitalwish.org website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for classroom technology. In addition to making over 26,000 wishes come true for American educators, Digital Wish provides a host of fundraising ideas and allows teachers to craft a technology wish list so that parents and community members can make a classroom contribution and invest in America's future.

About ELMO
ELMO USA has been a global leader in education technology for more than 30 years. The company's cutting-edge innovations are shaping the future of visual communications. Foremost among these innovations are teaching tools for dynamic classroom presentations. ELMO's groundbreaking document cameras and visual presenters benefit students by enabling instructors to incorporate stimulating high-resolution visuals into their lesson plans. These value-priced, full-featured teaching tools offer a level of interactivity and spontaneity that static transparencies or "one-dimensional, pre-planned" laptop and desktop computer lessons simply do not. For more information about ELMO's classroom solution products, visit www.elmousa.com or call 1.800.947.ELMO begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1.800.947.ELMO end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish 1:1 Computing Initiative Spans 27 Vermont Schools - Impact Data Available
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 08:55:53 PM Tue 10/25/2011



 


Manchester Center, VT - October 25, 2011 - Vermont may be a small state, but it has been the epicenter of a project with the potential to transform modern American learning.  For the past three years, Digital Wish, a non- profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in American classrooms, has been modernizing classrooms throughout Vermont and carefully studying the process in order to create a model for replicating their 1:1 computing success on a national scale.  These tools were used to implement programs in 28 schools, and both teachers and students from across the initiative are reporting a wide array of gains including increased engagement in learning, technological proficiency, and dramatic increases in the understanding of internet safety issues. Planning time has been reduced from 18 months, down to just 6 weeks, saving schools tremendous amounts of time and money. The 2010-11 data report is below.



Digital Wish spent over a year researching successful and failed 1:1 computing initiatives across the country prior to implementing their own strategies. This intensive research period resulted in the identification of eight strands which must be addressed in order to build a sustainable 21st century learning program, such as leadership, community engagement, and curriculum. The absence of just one component creates a much higher risk of the initiative failing downstream.  




Pilot Phase - 2009-2010

With endorsements from Vermont’s major educational associations of principals, school boards, superintendents, IT coordinators, teacher’s unions, and six regional training centers, Digital Wish raised over $150,000 to fund four pilot sites in the 2009-2010 school year.  Across the pilot classrooms, trainers experimented with sharing computers between students, implementing mobile labs and computer carts, and crafting comprehensive 1:1 computing environments.  The Digital Wish team found that learning gains were so much higher in schools with one-computer-per-child that they abandoned shared computing and mobile computer labs, and pledged to only support 1:1 initiatives on a larger scale.  



Early results gathered through simple student surveys from the pilot schools show impressive statistics that support the importance of making 1:1 computing a top priority for schools nationwide.  Data from the pilot surveys showed:



  • 73% of students agree that schoolwork is more enjoyable when using a computer.

  • 85% of students report that they produce better work and pay closer attention to lessons when they use a computer.

  • 95% of students report that it is important to have their own computer at school.

  • Technology utilization doubled and even tripled across subjects for students and teachers, with biggest utilization increases realized in English and research.

  • Within 3 months, comfort level with computing increased in every classroom.

  • 86% of students say they get work done more quickly when using a computer.

  • 85% of students report that having technology in school is important to their future.


**Please note that all statistics were gathered through informal surveys and Digital Wish does not make any conclusive “research-based” claims.



Through these early stages, Digital Wish gathered the resources and support necessary to scale the initiative statewide. According to Heather Chirtea, Digital Wish’s Executive Director, “It’s extraordinarily difficult to develop a successful initiative from scratch, because there are just so many decision points. Every school we enter is facing the same issues, and making the same decisions, and also making the same mistakes in isolation.  It’s an incredible waste of resources. We’ve implemented so many sites now, that we can explain the downstream ramifications of nearly every decision and stop schools from taking a wrong turn very early in the process. These hard-won lessons can be scaled across the state.”



Implementation Phase, 2010-2012

After securing $1.125 million from the Obama administration’s ARRA stimulus funds, Digital Wish planned the implementation of their school modernization program in 24 more schools statewide as a partner in e-Vermont: The Community Broadband Project. The trainers constructed six curriculum units based on the NETS standards for education, which were then taught throughout 24 schools.  These curriculum units will be made available nationally as online courses and as part of the 1:1 Technology Implementation Kit. In addition to the courses, the kit will include all of the model policies, printable worksheets, step-by-step leadership strategies, press plans, and sustainability resources necessary for any school to adopt the successful strategies.



By replicating their successes and strategies from the pilot program and building upon what they found successful as they worked in the 24 additional schools, Digital Wish’s School Modernization Initiative saved valuable resources and time.



“The first site took eighteen months of planning from our first contact with the school, to passing out computers in the classroom,” said Heather Chirtea, Executive Director of Digital Wish, “Our current deployment will reduce the entire planning process down to just two months.”



Survey data was collected from 719 teachers and students from 24 schools across Vermont. Most of the data reflects the differences in responses between the pre- and post- initiative surveys. The complete data report is attached. Listed here are some interesting reported gains:



  • Workforce Prep - 93.1% of students say having technology in school is important in preparing them for the future.

  • Importance - 90.2% of students say that it is important to their education to have their own netbook/computer during the school year.

  • Comfort Levels - Over 50% more teachers reported they are now very comfortable with Internet research and safety, increasing from 40% to 63%.

  • Skill - Teachers say that less than half as many students are considered beginners with computers, a decrease of 13% points from 23%. They consider approximately 1/3 more students to be advanced computer users, a 10% point increase from 25% pre-deployment, to 35% post-deployment value.

  • College - Students who plan to go to college increased from 90.2% to 91.3%, a 1.1% point increase.

  • Frequency - The number of students who use a computer every day in the classroom more than doubled the pre-initiative levels, increasing from 24% to 52%.


Not all gains are measurable, and teachers commonly reported a wide array of anecdotal gains:



  • Students are engaged.

  • In 1:1 computing classrooms, students view the computers as “their own” and therefore take better care of them.

  • Computer breakage rates are lower and behavioral infractions have been reduced with the threat of their computer being taken away.  

  • Students are becoming technologically fluent 2-3 times faster.  

  • Socio-economic barriers are no longer relevant as students from different wealth classes, who would never previously work together, are suddenly partnering on classroom projects.

  • A peer-coaching dynamic has emerged.

  • New student leaders have begun to develop from all levels of the social strata. Some of the largest gains have been made by the low-achieving and special education students who tend to be more visual learners.


“It was a real treat to see the changes in these classrooms firsthand,” said Eric Bird, lead classroom trainer for the Digital Wish School Modernization Initiative, “When we began, most classrooms had only a few outdated computers. I’ve seen enormous gains in student engagement.  You really don’t understand how important this is until you find out that the decision to drop out of school is made at the middle school level.  We’re raising engagement levels with students in grades 4-6, hopefully before the decision to drop out ever gets a chance to take root.”



Bird continued, “Students and teachers have become technologically fluent very rapidly; learning independently and solving real world issues.  We implemented a unit where students would study local businesses before being challenged to create their own business ideas. For many students, this was the first time that they had ever envisioned themselves as entrepreneurs. It’s a real game changer as students plan their future, and we’ve already secured funding to implement a multi-grade mentorship program for the Fall.”



Replication Phase

Digital Wish recently won an $80,000 grant award from the Dell YouthConnect program to replicate the Vermont successes in one additional school in Nashua, NH. The guidelines and strategies that were developed across 27 rural Vermont sites are now being tested for replication in a more urban environment at the Nashua School District.



“It’s amazing how rapidly we’ve worked through the planning process at Nashua,” said Sheila Marcoux, Digital Wish’s technology integrator for Nashua. “All of the planning, documentation, usage guidelines, permission forms, and tough decisions were already mapped out. Nashua is avoiding a bevy of common errors that schools tend to make when they implement a new one-computer-per-child initiative.”   




Community Impact

After Digital Wish implemented their 1:1 computing initiative across multiple sites, they began noticing the staff, administrators, and community at large rapidly shifting their assumptions about the need for technology in classrooms. Computers were no longer something that “someone else” had to deal with. Instead, they became an assumed part of every learning experience. Each of the 2009-2010 pilot schools scaled up their technology programs within one semester of Digital Wish’s arrival. One town voted to increase their school’s technology budget from $5,000 to $50,000 in the following school year – ten times the original amount originally allotted for educational technology.



“Students were truly engaged with their learning as soon as the computers entered the classroom,” said Chirtea.  “Digital Wish envisions a day when every student in America will have access to their own computer for learning. My favorite moment in the initiative was when a student exclaimed, ‘I wish I could stay in 5th grade for the rest of my life!’”




Digital Wish - Nationwide

On a national scale, Digital Wish has granted over 26,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 56,000 teachers at DigitalWish.org since August 2009. By granting these wishes, more than ten million dollars in technology has been placed into the hands of educators.  By offering the 1:1 Technology Implementation Kit, as well as many of the most sought-after educational technology products, Digital Wish has become the premier resource for schools and communities looking to implement successful 1:1 learning environments.



“No matter where you live, the combination of ubiquitous technology access and proper training in 21st century skills is critical to bridging the learning gaps and providing equal opportunities for students in every socio-economic class,” said Chirtea. “We have a moral obligation to give every student the skills they need to thrive in the rapidly growing global economy.  We’ve done the research and now it is time to replicate our success on a national scale. It’s America’s turn to get involved.”



In response to the rising community engagement, Digital Wish recently added online fundraising to its website in order to give schools a way to reach into their local communities for sustainability funding.  Now parent organizations and educators can build a fundraising website for classroom technology that includes credit card processing in just a few mouse clicks.  



For more information on Digital Wish’s School Modernization Initiative, visit their website at 
http://schoolmodernizationinitiative.wordpress.com/ or go to DigitalWish.org today.




About Digital Wish

Digital Wish (http://www.digitalwish.org) is a non-profit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms.  They study technology integration in local schools then scale successful programs nationwide through the website at www.digitalwish.org.  Their website is designed to help teachers locate much-needed funding for classroom technology. Teachers make technology wish lists, and supporters make those wishes come true. Over 26,000 technology wishes have been granted. Digital Wish provides a host of fundraising ideas and allows teachers to e-mail and print their technology wish lists so that parents and community members can contribute. For more information, please visit http://www.digitalwish.org.



 


 


###





 


Digital Wish School Modernization Initiative


2010-2011 Survey Results (DRAFT - Data will undergo final review)


Organization: Athena Council (D.B.A. “Digital Wish”)


Contact: Heather Chirtea, Executive Director,


[email protected]


Phone: Dir (802) 549-4571, C (802) 379-3000 F (845) 402-7242


Websites: http://schoolmodernizationinitiative.wordpress.com/


http://www.digitalwish.org


501(c)(3): Approved August 26, 2008



About the Surveys


If you would like to cite data from these surveys, please credit Digital Wish.


All data is self-reported by students and teachers who participated in the initiative. Data was collected from the 24 schools participating in the School Modernization Initiative, collected through an anonymous survey conducted on www.surveymonkey.com. The data is broken into two groups:



  • Round 1 - 12 schools participated in the Initiative for eight months, from November 2010 to June 2011, covering four to six different technology units.

  • Round 2 –12 schools started in April 2011 and the data reflects the first two months of participation in the Digital Citizenship Unit.


The same questions were asked in both the pre-initiative and post-initiative surveys. According to the data, the students showed increases in computer literacy, rising comfort levels with technology, and overall increases in engagement. The data reflects the difference in the responses given between the pre- and post- survey data.



Sample Size:





Round 1


26 Teachers surveyed


404 Students surveyed


Pre-survey administered Nov. 2010


Post-survey administered June 2011


Curriculum taught to grades 4-6



Round 2


19 Teachers surveyed


270 Students surveyed


Pre-survey administered April 2010


Post-survey administered June 2011


Curriculum taught to grades 4-6




Please be aware that the data collected shows anecdotal trends, as reported by the teachers and students participating in the initiative.  Digital Wish does not conduct formal research, nor do they make any conclusive research-based claims.


STUDENT DATA


Importance


Round 1 & Round 2 - 93.1% of students say having technology in school is important in preparing them for the future.



Round 1 & Round 2 - 90.2% of students say that it is important to their education to have their own netbook/computer during the school year.


College


Round 1 - Students who plan to go to college increased from 90.2% to 91.3%, a 1.1% point increase.



Round 2 - Students who plan to go to college increased from 89.1% to 90.7%, a 1.6% point increase.


Frequency of Usage


Round 1 - The number of students who use a computer every day in the classroom increased from 24% to 52%, more than doubling the reported pre-initiative usage rates.



Round 2 - The number of students who use a computer every day in the classroom increased from 23% to 54%, more than doubling the reported pre-initiative usage rates.


Engagement


Round 1 - 83% of students say they enjoy school more when their teacher uses technology to teach lessons, up 3% points from 80% pre-deployment.



Round 2 - 88% of students say they enjoy school more when their teacher uses technology to teach lessons, up 6% points from 82% pre-deployment.


Round 1 - Students who now “pay closer attention to lessons when using a computer” increased from 68% to 70%, an increase of 2% points.



Round 2 - Students who now “pay closer attention to lessons when using a computer” increased from 67% to 77%, an increase of 10% points.


Skills


Round 1 - Students who agree that computers make schoolwork easier increased 2% points, from 87% to 89%.



Round 2 - Students who agree that computers make schoolwork easier increased 5% points, from 86% to 91%.


Round 1 - Students who describe their computer literacy as “I can figure just about anything out on my own” increased from 43% to 50%, an increase of 7% points.



Round 2 - Students who describe their computer literacy as “I can figure just about anything out on my own” increased from 42% to 44%, an increase of 2% points.


Round 1 - The number of students who say they “produce better quality work when using a computer” increased from 75.8% to 81.8%, a 6% point increase.



Round 2 - The number of students who say they “produce better quality work when using a computer” increased from 72% to 82%, a 10% point increase.



TEACHER DATA


College


Round 1 - When teachers were asked to estimate the percentage of their students who are planning to go to college, their responses increased from 59.8% to 63.1%, an increase of 3.3% more of their student body.



Round 2 - When teachers were asked to estimate the percentage of their students who are planning to go to college, their responses increased from 72.1% to 74.9%, an increase of 2.8% more of their student body.


Skills


Round 1 - Teachers say that less than half as many students are considered beginners with computers, a decrease of 13% points from 23%. They consider approximately 1/3 more students to be advanced computer users, a 10% point increase from 25% pre-deployment, to 35% post-deployment value.



Round 2 - Teachers say that 1/3 less students are still considered beginners with computers, a decrease of 11% points from 28%. They consider nearly 1/3 more of their students to be advanced computer users, a 9% point increase from 22% pre-deployment, to 31% post deployment.


Comfort Levels


Round 1 - Over 50% more teachers reported they are now very comfortable with Internet research and safety, increasing from 40% to 63%.



Round 2 - Three times as many teachers report they are now very comfortable with Internet research and safety, increasing from 12% to 36%.


Round 1 - The number of teachers who are now comfortable with collaborating with peers, parents, and/or students using digital tools increased from 83% to 93%, a 10% point increase.



Round 2 - The number of teachers who are now comfortable with collaborating with peers, parents, and/or students using digital tools increased from 80% to 83%, a 3% point increase.


Frequency of Usage


Round 1 - The number of teachers who use technology to teach lessons two or more hours a week increased to 63%, showing a 43% increase over pre-deployment levels.



Round 2 - The number of teachers who use technology to teach lessons two or more hours a week increased from 50% to 56%.


Round 1 - Teachers who use technology to teach English/Language Arts four or more hours a week more than doubled, increasing from 21% to 54%.



Round 2 - Teachers who use technology to teach English/Language Arts four or more hours a week more than doubled, increasing from 20% to 45%.



TEACHER ANECDOTES


What gains have you seen in students?



  • Behavior is much better. Students are much more focused and on task.

  • They have gained overall confidence with technology. They need less help to learn a new skill on the computer. They are excited to try new things.

  • Pride in work.

  • Students are engaged.

  • Growth in enthusiasm, more risk taking-trying new things, some improved collaborative skills, as well as growth in writing skills and commenting skills.

  • Comfort level in using the computers. Speed of typing has increased in my students. Their ability to figure things out on their own instead of asking for my help all the time.

  • More actively engaged and thinking.


Tell us a story…



  • After the first week of having the computers in the classroom, one student mentioned that they do not leave the classroom very much anymore. I asked what he was talking about. He mentioned that they always had to walk down the hall to get the computers. He then had a very persuasive speech convincing me that they now should have recess for 15 minutes after snack.

  • Students pitch in and problem solve for one another. A student who spaces out/daydreams is so focused when using netbook.

  • The room is quiet except for the soft beeps as the netbooks are booted up. Those students who are more experienced with computers are quick to assist others, including the teacher!

  • A few students this past week were working on the class year book and realized that they all had documents on different computers and it was hard to work on them together. I suggested that I sit down with them and show them how to use Google Docs. It happened that when they asked me I was teaching a small group of students another skill. One of my student experts in the class overheard our conversation and offered to guide the group in Google Docs use. When I checked back in with the students at the end of the day they had successfully shared all of their documents with each other and were going to work on them at home that night. So cool!



STUDENT ANECDOTES


What did you like most about the Digital Wish program?



  • The computers. My grades improved after the computers!

  • Our class doesn't have to run all over the school trying to find the old, slow, and bad computers.

  • The learning, the discovering and the creativity and the independence.


Tell us a story…



  • My story is when I taught my mom how to do Skype and she talks to my sister in Alabama and she talked to my dad when he was in Korea.

  • I told my parents about the computer and I showed them everything that I learned and how to do it, and they said, "Wow. That little thing can do more than our dinosaur in the other room." It was so funny. Especially they way they said it.


Quotes from the classroom:



  • Boy - "This is sick."

  • Girls - "I just love your netbook.  Where in the world did you get it?"  "Oh, thank you.  It's from the computer store.  It's brand new."  "The color is just fabulous."

  • Boy - "This is the funnest day I have ever had at school."

  • Entire Classes - "I can't wait to take the netbook home."

  • Many students - "This will make our work go so much faster."

  • Boy – “I wish I could stay in 5th grade for the rest of my life!”



TRAINER STORIES


Digital Wish’s classroom trainers share these stories:



  • Yesterday, I was informed that two previously home-schooled students are now attending the public elementary full time solely based on the e-Vermont Digital Wish program.  The technology and training encouraged the parents to enroll their students in public education.

  • Today, a 4th grader told me her younger brother used his real name for a username on an Internet site and was being addressed by companies with his name included in the message.  The 4th grader showed her brother how to change his username so it didn't reveal personal information, and how to stay safer online.

  • A 5th grader at Poultney took particular interest in the business unit.  His family owned a local construction company and had a basic website.  Taking what he learned from our program, he then evaluated the company online presence and made recommendations to have a stronger website that would be easier to navigate and attract more customers.  This student spent his own time at home with the netbook talking with his family, and he had the solid intention of entering the family business and helping to guide them to be more successful.

  • Two teachers in the initiative ran side businesses and another wrote and filmed a video reporting journal.  All three teachers said what we taught them in the classroom about video editing, audio recording, and business development would help them be more successful in their personal endeavors.  I also had multiple parents at the Parent Nights shake my hand and tell me they were thankful we were helping the school and community by modernizing the classrooms and allowing students the opportunity to compete globally with technology skills.


Lead Trainer Eric Bird, shared these insights:



  • Signs of student motivation and engagement were evident every time we visited the classroom.  There were cases of some classroom behavior problems disappearing completely, examples of students working well beyond the school day on projects and taking what they learned many steps further, and examples of students becoming teachers and training their parents, grandparents, and siblings on computer functions and Internet programs.  We saw students collaborate and fully plan a future business, detailing how they would earn and save money to buy and build a local miniature golf course.  Other students created plans to make their own family business even more successful by using Internet resources.  Digital responsibility shined and students took pride in their computers and the programs they were using.  Students across the state learned about their town history or community memories and had the chance to vocalize and share what they discovered by using collaborative audio recording.  Again and again we heard how students wanted to pursue technology-based professions and Internet-based programs.

  • It was a common occurrence to see students becoming tech experts and teachers to become mentors. This is something we encouraged.  I heard from dozens of students, without prompting them, that they taught family members about programs they were using, shared projects created at school, and helped parents, siblings, and grandparents to use their own computers and the Internet more effectively.  Their excitement was natural, as they felt they had specific expertise to offer and could be of great help to the adults around them.



Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

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