The Corpus Christi Independent School District in Texas is using a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to buy 50 iPods to use with English-language learners, according to a May 9 article published by a local Texas media outlet, the Caller-Times. (I saw the article first at TESOL in the News).
I called AT&T today to see what kind of grant money might be available for technology at other school districts. Dan Feldstein, a spokesman working out of Houston for AT&T, told me that the $25,000 that paid for the iPods in Corpus Christi was part of a $1.5 million grant initiative from the AT&T Foundation that paid for wireless technologies for educational uses. It was a one-time deal and the recipients have already been selected. (The Caller-Times article is wrong, he said, in saying that the whole $1.5 million went to projects in ELL classrooms.) But Mr. Feldstein added that the AT&T Foundation has just announced that education is the new focus of its giving.
Back in September 2007, I reported on an English-as-a-second-language teacher, Mercedes Pichard, of Fort Myers, Fla., who was given 36 hand-held computing devices by Intel Corp. to use in her teaching.
I have no idea how hard it is to land such financial support for educational technology, but if I hear of any other such opportunities, I’ll let you know. I believe English-language learners deserve to have the same chance to use technology in school as other students do, and some activities with technology, such as practicing listening and speaking with podcasts, may benefit them MORE than other students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.