July 16, 2007

Virtue Foundation Louisiana Education Initiative Hosts Digital Teaching Training

Virtue Foundation Louisiana Education Initiative Hosts Digital Teaching Training with McNeese State University and University of California, Berkeley for Cameron and Vermillion Parish Teachers Affected by Rita on July 19-20, 2007 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The conference is designed to provide state-of-the-art digital teaching skills to teachers and other educational stakeholders participating in the Virtue Foundation Education Initiative, a technology-enabled educational pilot initiative that provides 21st Century learning opportunities for children in schools affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Based on the initiative’s success in the Tangipahoa school district and Renaissance Village, Virtue Foundation expanded its pilot program and donated laptops and software licenses worth more than $1 million to schools in 8 school districts throughout Louisiana, spearheading the development of a technology-enabled educational model for all students throughout the state.

To further expand on this model, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco recently included a $5 million investment in technology and digital learning as part of her educational package for Fiscal Year 2007-2008. The appropriation will fund a research and development pilot that provides laptop computers to two 6th grade classrooms in every school district in the state. Dubbed “Turn On To Learning,” the pilot is a collaboration of the Governor’s Office, Higher Ed and K12. Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) would manage logistics and equipment installation.

This digital teaching professional training will introduce teachers to use software and resources for digital storytelling and other learning activities designed to build basic literacy knowledge and skills, information literacy and English fluency. The hands-on 2- day workshop will train teachers by actively engaging them in the activities that they will later use in their classrooms and provide them with the digital teaching skills necessary for a 21st Century education classroom.

The goal of this 2-day conference is to provide a laboratory for teachers and other educators to expand on their digital teaching skills and to share their experiences and teaching methods they have garnered during initial phases of the Virtue Foundation pilot initiative. The results will be then shared with the Office of the Governor and other educational stakeholders interested in furthering the expansion of this innovative educational model.

Since the initial launching of this initiative in 2005 at the “Louisiana: Rebuilding through Education” forum, Virtue Foundation has worked in collaboration with the Office of the Governor, the Louisiana Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Louisiana Board of Regents, local and national universities and other institutions as well as its corporate partners, Apple and Microsoft, among others, to help provide the students of Louisiana with a 21st Century education. Virtue Foundation remains firmly committed to the continued development of an innovative, technology-enabled educational paradigm that will assist in rebuilding Louisiana and spurring economic development by revitalizing its schools.

Virtue Foundation is a public charitable and nongovernmental organization with special consultative status to the United Nations. The Foundation’s mission is to increase awareness of prevalent global issues, to inspire people to action, and to render humanitarian assistance through healthcare, education, and empowerment initiatives. Comprised primarily of volunteers, Virtue Foundation is guided by the principle that true global change must begin within each of us-one person at a time, one act at a time.

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