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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

10 R.I. educators will receive $500 scholarships to attend the URI Summer Institute in Digital Literacy

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Program to be offered at URI Feinstein Providence campus

Kingston, RI May 19 2014 -- The Rhode Island Foundation is sponsoring the Digital Literacy Summer Scholars Program to give Rhode Island educators the opportunity participate in a professional development experience that will help them bring digital literacy to their students and colleagues. Up to 10 applicants with demonstrated need will be awarded the scholarships, which will subsidize most of the registration fee for the six-day professional development program.

The URI Summer Institute in Digital Literacy will be held on July 13 through18, and is designed to support the continuing education needs of kindergarten through grade 12 and college educators, school and public librarians, and media professionals with an interest in integrating digital and media literacy education across the curriculum. Featured presenters include Joyce Valenza of Rutgers University and Kelly Mendoza of Common Sense Media.

Rhode Island teachers and librarians, media practitioners, public librarians and faculty from higher education are eligible to apply for the scholarship. They will join educators from all over the country to expand their knowledge of how digital media and technology can transform learning so it is more relevant, rigorous and innovative. Educators will engage in sessions during which they will practice using new technology tools, discuss hot topics, and participate in Design Studio, a space for collaborative creation where educators learn to integrate digital technology into their area of interest.

"We hear from employers that digital literacy is a core component of work readiness," said Jessica David, vice president for strategy and community investments at the Foundation. "We're pleased to support teachers in helping students access technology and use it to engage in new ways."

"All Rhode Island educators should have the chance to participate in this premier professional development program," said Renee Hobbs, professor and founding director of the URI Harrington School of Communication and Media. "For students to be successful and productive as citizens in today's technology rich world, teachers need the opportunity to develop their own knowledge and skills. Our partnership with the Rhode Island Foundation is a critical piece in reaching this goal."

Rhode Island educators who are selected as Digital Literacy Summer Scholars will have the option to apply the $500 scholarship award toward the $650 non-matriculating registration fee or the $990 tuition fee for current graduate students wishing to take the program as a 3-credit graduate course. Educators who choose to earn graduate course credit will complete two additional assignments before and after the Summer Institute.

Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist, who was a panelist at the 2013 Summer Institute on Digital Literacy, said, "Digital literacy is an important part of what students are learning. We want our students and teachers not just to have access to technology, but to use it to access information, to understand information, and be able to create and share information with others."

"The Summer Institute helps educators learn how digital tools can promote critical analysis, problem-solving skills and self-expression," said Julie Coiro, associate professor at URI's School of Education and a co-director of the program. She said, "We are looking for Rhode Island educators and librarians who are willing and able to bring this important knowledge and skills to their own students and faculty colleagues."

Applications will be accepted until June 1. To apply online, click here.