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Schoolcraft Learning Community receives grant for new technology equipment

Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper Stacy Bender-Fayette, technology integration specialist at Schoolcraft Learning Community, looks at art projects created by eighth-graders Destiny Eckdahl and Matt Breeze on the computer on Tuesday afternoon. Bender-Fayette successfully wrote a grant to upgrade the school's computer lab to include to all Apple laptop computers. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Schoolcraft Learning Community recently received a $189,750 grant for the purchase of new computers and digital equipment.

The two-year grant, titled "Using Digital Tools to Teach Environmental Literacy Across Disciplines," will be used to purchase two mobile computer labs, 10 digital cameras, one video camera, one iPod learning lab with 20 mobile devices, 10 global positioning system units, five digital microscopes and two digital probes.

According to SLC principal Scott Anderson, the competitive grant was given by the Department of Education through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and in collaboration with Bemidji State University, Apple Computer and Expeditionary Learning.

"We needed this very badly," Anderson said. "I think our equipment here was about seven years old. This will be a huge boost to our program."

Through the grant, Anderson said, the school's part-time technology integration specialist will be given more hours to teach teachers and upgrade their technology skills.

GPS units and iPods will be used while students are out in the field studying various projects, Anderson said.

The school also plans to collaborate with Bemidji State University in learning how to incorporate video conferencing, blogging and podcasting into classrooms.

Anderson said he contacted several departments at BSU, including professional education, environmental education and geology. This spring and summer, SLC staff will work with BSU to develop an environmentally aware curriculum.

"We will use the new technology to work with our BSU partners and their students," Anderson said. "It will enhance student achievement based on Minnesota academic standards."

Apple Computer will supply onsite technical assistance with the SLC's new Apple computers. With the new grant, the school will have 60 computers

"It's still a little hard to believe," Anderson said of the grant acceptance. "It's just a win-win thing for us."