$50,000 grant to school teachers in technology

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - In today's classroom, you won't smell chalk dust, but you will hear the hum of computers and new technology. However, the latest classroom gadget isn't always a good thing for teachers.

"The children today know more about technology than we do, and any help we can get bridging that gap is important," said Gulfport Schools Superintendent Glen East.

To help teachers become more tech friendly, the IP Casino Resort and Spa gave $50,000 to Digital Opportunity Trust USA, Teach Up. The program provides interns to help companies learn new technologies. The IP partnered with DOT USA in 2009 to train its employees and decided to put the program to good use in local schools.

The grant will provide for two interns that will train teachers at Gulfport High School and Gulfport Ninth Grade.

"We wanted to have somebody there, on site, to be able to help teachers use the technology that's available to them, so that it just doesn't sit in the corner and nobody has access to it," said DOT USA Program Director Liana Huezo.

If you're a teacher in today's modern classroom, forget old school chalkboards. Teachers now have Promethean Boards, which are a cross between a computer and a touch pad. The interns from DOT USA will show teachers at Gulfport High School how to fully utilize the boards and other classroom technologies.

"The advantage to me is that it allows teachers to loosen up, to realize that there is more we can do with technology than we know," said East.

The two interns that will be spending the 2010-2011 school year with Gulfport School District will work with students and teachers to create hands on training.

"It's really important for people to understand that while having it [technology] is really important, having someone to show teachers how to use it is equally important," said Huezo.

The two interns are Randy Parson and John Armstrong, both South Mississippi natives. DOT USA has been working in Mississippi for nearly five years.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.