More than $61 million in federal funding from the CARES Act is making its way into Indiana schools to support remote learning needs.
The money is coming to K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, as grant awards made through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. It aims to help the state ramp up access to remote learning technology and build up training for current and future educators.
A team from Indiana University's School of Education at IUPUI is creating a digital remote learning hub using the funding.
Jeremy Price is a professor of technology, innovation and pedagogy, and says his team's digital hub will focus on providing more equitable solutions for students.
"With tutorials, model lesson plans, and mini courses to address the challenges of remote and hybrid learning due to COVID-19," he said.
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Price says the project is built around multiple tiers focused on equity and inclusion, and is also prioritizing building in more collaboration between educators and families as they develop learning materials.
"One of the things we want to help teachers and educators and families understand is that every child – when they're provided with an appropriate learning environment – can really show what they understand, know, and can do," he said.
In addition to the digital learning hub, teams at IU also plan to create a virtual educator license pilot program, and use grant funding to pay tuition for teachers to pursue certificates in online teaching at IU East.
More than 140 school corporations and universities in Indiana received funding through the grant, including Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis.
Many grant recipients are partnering with several other schools and school corporations to offer additional support.