Calgary, Alberta– January 2, 2007–The SMARTer Kids” Foundation of Canada announces that it is now accepting applications for the 2007-2008 Connections program, a fully funded collaborative learning experience for sixth grade classes in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Eight classes will be selected and equipped with leading-edge education technology. Teachers will be trained to use the technology prior to the start of the program and will collaborate on learning projects with the other selected schools during the 20072008 school year. Applications must be submitted by March 30, 2007. Selected schools will be notified in April 2007. Full program details are available online at www.smarterkids.org/k12/connections.

The Connections program is entering its ninth year, and close to 2,000 students and teachers have already participated. The goal of the Connections program is to encourage mutual respect and understanding among students, regardless of geographical location, through a year of unique learning experiences and collaboration. In addition to supplying education technology and teacher training, the Foundation also brings teachers and selected students together in May 2008 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, for a week of friendship, adventure and learning.

“Connections has allowed my students to become a part of a global adventure,” says Jody Bean, a 20062007 Connections teacher from Beavercreek, Oregon. “The Connections program has been a catalyst for my students to foster a love of learning and to understand the world beyond their backyards. They see themselves as ambassadors–they are ready to explore, discover and share the world!”

“The Connections program is dedicated to giving children an opportunity to reach beyond the walls of their classroom and connect with children their own age from the larger, global community,” says Nancy Knowlton, executive director of the SMARTer Kids Foundation. “Through this and other programs, the Foundation renews its commitment to enriching children’s understanding of cultural diversity, social responsibility and respect for oneself and others.”

Program details

The SMARTer Kids Foundation of Canada administers the Connections program for sixth grade teachers and students. Once selected, sixth grade teachers from each school will visit Calgary in July 2007 to receive training

on the donated products, and on integrating technology into the curriculum and using Web-based communication tools. Teachers will also work together to plan collaborative projects for the coming year. In the spring of 2008, a select number of sixth grade students, accompanied by their teachers, will participate in the Calgary student visit. Costs associated with the Calgary student visit and the teacher training, including airfare, accommodation, meals, local transportation and admission to Connections-sponsored activities, are paid for by the SMARTer Kids Foundation of Canada.

Product donations

All Connections schools receive a SMART Board” 680 interactive whiteboard, floor stand, SMART Board software, SMART Ideas” concept-mapping software, an AirLiner” wireless slate and Bridgit” conferencing software to be used for collaborative projects between schools. These products are integrated into the curriculum to support collaborative learning projects and remain in the schools at the completion of the program.

How to apply

Sixth grade teachers from accredited, not-for-profit public and private schools in Canada, the United States and Mexico are eligible to apply. Applying teachers must teach a majority of core subjects. All applications must be received by midnight MST on March 30, 2007. Applicants will be notified of their application status by April 27, 2007. Successful applicants will be required to enter into a participation agreement with the Foundation. Full program details and requirements are available online at www.smarterkids.org/k12/connections.

About SMARTer Kids Foundation of Canada

The SMARTer Kids Foundation of Canada is a private, not-for-profit organization that offers grants and programs for K12 and higher education institutions. Its mission is to increase opportunities for teachers and schools to access education technology and use it effectively, to provide programs to help students appreciate cultural diversity, and to support research on the impact and effectiveness of technology used in the classroom. Its vision is to make a difference in education by helping establish a 21st-century learning environment for schools across North America and around the world.

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