A Teacher Shares Tips on Writing Technology Grants for the Classroom
“I think I’ve been a thorn in my IT department’s side because I’ve been so adamant about getting Learning Ally access for all of my dyslexic students,” says Connie Bagley, dyslexia teacher at Crockett Elementary in Texas. (Note: a video of Connie is posted below.)
“I knew I needed more dependable technology for my students, but I had never written a grant before.”
After a year of implementing Learning Ally in the classroom, Connie recognized that the program was having a major impact on her students, so she decided to apply for a grant to obtain more devices for them. Titling her narrative in the grant application, "If I can hear it, I can learn it," she stressed that using audiobooks improves vocabulary and comprehension for her students, allowing them to listen to books on a much higher level than they could read on their own.
Despite her inexperience as a grantwriter, Connie was able to make a successful case to the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, which enabled her to provide a tablet for each of her dyslexic students in Grades 2 through 5 to useat the start of next school year. The results were remarkable.
“All of my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders finished the STAAR reading test, and all of my dyslexic students passed," she says. "Plus, a large portion of my dyslexic students received commended performance - which means they scored in the highest percentile of all the kids in the state. That is including students who don’t have print disabilities, so for these students with dyslexia to achieve those high scores is outstanding. "I attribute the increase in vocabulary and comprehension to Learning Ally. They were listening to books constantly this year, and chose books well above their reading level. It proves the point when the scores come back and they’ve done so well."
“It was easy for me to share the impact, because I’ve seen how audiobooks help my students -- but the grantwriting process was a little time consuming,” Connie confesses. She offers the following suggestions to help other teachers:
“I am so thrilled to have these devices for my students next year," Connie says. "I wasn’t expecting to win so it was a very nice surprise! It’s exciting to see the students walk around with their device and earbuds in their ears, and they have this big thick book in their hands. “One student said he wanted to start a book club next year where the class could download and read the same book, and then meet after school to talk about it. This is a kid who we were lucky if he read five to ten books all year and now he’s read fifty or sixty books this year with Learning Ally."
To learn more about how a Learning Ally membership for your school can help your students, join us for a webinar or sign up for more information. Contact a Learning Ally education specialist at 800.221.1098 or email programs@LearningAlly.org. To mitigate any potential for duplicate submissions bearing the Learning Ally name to corporations and foundations, please email Cindi Walsh to share when you apply for a grant for your school.
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