Help Me Write a Grant

As I mentioned in a previous post last week, my school needs help. I’ve finally gotten to spend some time with some of the actual teachers at my new school, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. So far, they have all seemed open and hardworking. I spoken with a couple about the grant I am hoping to write this week and tie to get some input.

I would like to open up the conversation a little and explain what the grant is, as well as my brainstorming, to see if you can help me separate the wheat from the chaff, metaphorically speaking.

The grant, potentially, is for up to $250,000. It is from an insurance foundation and aimed at non-profit organizations; schools are included but not specifically targeted. The grant can come under Research, Policy, or Projects. I feel that the Projets category makes the most sense for a middle school. Projects are defined as:

Grants that will test, apply or disseminate new practices; or evaluate programs designed to improve health and health care.”

As the Educational Technology Specialist, I need to find a way to fuse technology with health and wellness. I want it to be equitable (spread equally across grade levels and classrooms) and sustainable. Having about 75 classrooms, I believe I can spend about $3000 per classroom, assuming I get the grant. My first impulse is to think LCD projector since very few rooms have them, but I don’t know how to fit that  in with the health and wellness idea. Obviously, I could write that I would show health-related things on it, but I doubt that doing so would put my school in a good position to win the grant funds.

So, I need to think of what technologies would get kids up and moving. This, likely, means portability and activity. This may eliminate or minimize the usefulness of  traditional laptops.

Option 1: I could use the whole budget on the iPod Touch. My rough math suggests that I could buy roughly 1,000 iPod Touch, which translates to about 14 per class. It is not 1:1, but it is about 1:2. This is aided by the fact that the district is upgrading the network to allow for ubiquitous wifi (not totally convinced that they will follow through, but that is the plan) and has lifted the ban on outside devices so students can bring in their own cell phones, smart phones, and iDevices.This could allow for more movement, stations, and interactivity.

Option 2: Standing desks have been shown to help keep people more alert, awake, and active.I could buy 3 standing desks for roughly $1000. I could get 3 iPads $1500 and a Kodak Zi8 (think Flip, but improved). The iPads are quite portable and have  both more productivity value than the iPods and more portability than a full notebook. The camera allows for more activities that keep kids active and can be published online for an authentic audience.

Option 3: (Sorry if I’m still thinking as I go.) I can put 1-2 Kodak Zi8s and 12-13 iPod Touch in each room.

Option 4: This comes as a result of thinking about Alfonso’s comments. Every student gets an Ipod Touch. At $250,00, I can get 1010 iPod Touch. I may even be able to find an education/bulk discount. We will have 1033 and 70 teachers. I would like the students and teachers to have access to the same technology. I’m thinking that in exchange for their iPod, each student also agrees to write a blog (I will figure out how to provide training. I already have WPMU installed.) on their health journey. They can track their fitness levels, discuss school food, discuss health eating and exercise habits, etc… This will be reinforced with lessons in each content area and through social networking built-in to BuddyPress.

Option 5: Help. I’m sure I’m missing something that could be quite useful to the students. What do you think? Please help me to come up with a great idea that will help my kids.

6 comments to Help Me Write a Grant

  • Alfonso Gonzalez
    Twitter: educatoral

    Hey Jason,

    You off to a great start and I think your idea to go the project route is a good one. That being the case you really need to come up with a bang up project. Hearing health and how you want kids up and around makes me think of some kind of PE and nutrition concept. Getting kids out in the field gets money, getting kids providing a service gets money, getting kids to make a change gets money and you already hit upon sustainability (that’s a big one now). Anyway you can come up with project where kids evaluate the health and cost of their school breakfast and lunch like Jaime Oliver did? That way they can tie it to PE and health and social studies and math and even science! You’ve got to make the equipment a necessity for the project and with what you want you can use the equipment to have students write blogs to get the district food services to hear and see what the kids have discovered and learned. And if the kids are getting healthy by taking what they are learning I PE and using it in their daily lives that’s even better.

    Just some ideas to get you started.

  • Frank Long

    I agree with Alfonso on your great start. However, I think with that budget you should be focusing on technology that compliments your goal at a cost that will keep you under budget for other tech areas. I have seen much success with the ‘one laptop per child’ campaign and it might be something great for you to research further.

    Good luck and hope this helps

  • Debbie Gottsleben
    Twitter: gottsled

    Jason I like options 2 and 4. I like the idea of standing desks. In any of these options you could also have students create PSA’s for the school and perhaps wider community on some of their findings. That would also tie into the tech component.

    I am not surprised that you have found the staff to be hardworking and open. It shows that allowing our preconceived notions and innuendo to inform our decisions isn’t good when we are working with kids or adults! You will find people who will make your job harder but you will also find that you will be more often than not pleasantly surprised by people’s friendliness.

  • ktenkely
    Twitter: ktenkely

    What about the applications for the Touch that would help students monitor their health (there are tons of these and lots of free!) You could also think about getting the Nike shoe inserts to go along with iPod Touch as away for students to track physical activity. Love your ideas! Good luck!
    ktenkely´s last blog post ..Answer Garden

  • Well chances are you hardly make it since there are awful lot of other kids or schools like you who’d go nuts on how to come up with the best. Anyway, good luck!

  • Hi Jason. How did this go through? If I were not too late to comment about this, I also think purchasing standing desks is a great idea. Was your grant granted? What did you do with it and what are the progress, if you don’t mind me asking.

    Mandy Woods

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