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ORAU Seeks Applicants for its Extreme Classroom Makeover

Feb. 12, 2009

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Would a classroom outfitted with $25,000 worth of interactive technology make a difference in engaging students who might otherwise be struggling to learn and retain the building blocks of science- and math-based curricula? Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) believes it would and has used this hypothetical situation as the basis for the launch of its first Extreme Classroom Makeover—a local competition awarding one lucky middle school teacher with the latest educational technology and a year’s worth of training and support.

The competition was recently announced during ORAU’s grand opening of the Center for Science Education, a technology-rich facility focused on leveraging partnerships with the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other partners to bridge the gap between current laboratory research and the content currently being taught in today’s classrooms.

“Today’s students are members of the most technologically literate generation in history. Nearly every facet of their environment is enhanced by communication and information technology. Computers have altered the way students entertain themselves, the way they shop and the way they communicate with each other. Yet, their classrooms remain largely unchanged,” said Wayne Stevenson, ORAU director of Science Education Programs. “By introducing technology into the classroom, curriculum now becomes centered on real-world issues, the learning process is enhanced, and teachers and students are provided more opportunities for reflection and immediate feedback—that’s what we hope to illustrate through this local classroom makeover.”

The Extreme Classroom Makeover prize package awarded to the school on behalf of the winning teacher includes: a SMART Board with Sanyo XGA LCD projector, laptop, document camera, E-Instruction Classroom Response System with 24 LCD RF Response Pads (or clickers), audio system for audio/speech reinforcement, Sony digital camera and iPod .

In addition to the technology face-lift, the teacher will also receive a custom designed, professional development and training program for implementation during the summer months.

“Through the summer training program, the selected teacher will receive a crash course in the different features of each new piece of equipment and then ORAU will provide ongoing technical and professional development opportunities throughout the academic year,” said Stevenson.

Also during the academic year, ORAU will visit the classroom each month to document the teacher’s use of the technology, as well as the students’ engagement. Multiple articles and photos will be used to illustrate the journey, and both teacher and students will be able to share their own personal experiences through a specially designed Extreme Classroom Makeover Web site and blog.

To qualify, contestants must teach math or science for students between grades 5-8 at a public school system located within a 50-mile radius of Oak Ridge, Tenn. The application deadline is March 15, 2009. Please see the complete listing of the Extreme Classroom Makeover guidelines to learn more. Interested applicants may also contact Marie Westfall at (865) 576-3425 or for more information.  

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Work: 865.576.3146
Cell: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Work: 865.576.0028
Cell: 865.207.7953