Jun 03 2015

What Would Your School Do with $15K in New Technology?

A K-8 school in Illinois is the first big winner in a contest to highlight technology collaboration.

The support of thousands of students and parents at St. Mary Immaculate Parish School brought in a $15,000 prize.

The Plainfield, Ill., school is the first monthly winner in the Collaboration Nation contest, sponsored by CDW•G and eSchool News, in which schools share video pitches on why their schools’ technology collaborations deserve a funding boost.

The 90-second video submitted by St. Mary Immaculate Parish School covers the struggles it faces with its current technology plan and describes the school’s plan to turn things around.

By collaborating with parents, faculty and students, a social campaign titled #CollaborateSMI was born. The video ultimately earned more than 5,000 shares on Facebook, and the top spot for Collaboration Nation’s May prize, which includes $15,000 in products from CDW•G partners HP, Lenovo and Meraki.

Jacqueline Fiske, St. Mary Immaculate Parish School's technology integration coordinator, says a device shortage has left the school struggling to embrace technology-powered learning.

"Currently, the only collaborative, mobile technology we have at our school is one laptop cart for over 400 students, and two sixth-grade classrooms that have one-to-one laptops," Fiske says. "We feel the need for technology at the primary level in our building is lacking, and the funds we won will help us to increase that. Our plan is to have collaborative technology available in all classrooms throughout the school day."

The school will be using the funds to purchase 40 HP Chromebooks.

The success of the #CollaborateSMI social campaign floored Fiske, and she hopes other schools can learn from her school’s example by tapping the enthusiasm parents have for getting involved in their children’s schools.

"We got so into the shares and the competition that our school parents and families are now more interested in the technology in our school than they have ever been! They want to know more about what we are going to do next and are excited about the direction our school is headed in," Fiske says.

The $50,000 Collaboration Nation grand prize is still up for grabs, with the submission deadline closing on June 30. Interested schools should check out the contest page on eSchool News for further details.