Lilly Endowment Supports PRISM’s Educational Initiatives with $946,000 Grant

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Pat Carlson

Learning New Ideas: Teachers learned new STEM educational tools that will be brought into school classrooms to meet Indiana science and mathematics curriculum standards.

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Rose-Hulman a $946,000 grant to help Indiana primary and secondary educators provide students with the skills to thrive in the technology-rich workplace of the 21st century.

The grant supports initiatives for the next three years by Rose-Hulman’s Portal Resource for Indiana Science and Mathematics (PRISM) program to provide interactive digital learning tools and professional development workshops for Indiana teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas.

“Lilly Endowment has been a valuable partner with us in helping provide Indiana students with the communication, collaboration, creativity and computational skills to be our state’s future technology leaders. We appreciate this deep-rooted relationship with Lilly Endowment in helping transform K-12 education to address 21st century needs,” says Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell.

The PRISM website will add new media resources and educational tools to keep teachers up to date with changing Indiana educational requirements. These enhancements include digital resources for five math and seven science high school courses and age-appropriate internet STEM reference sources for elementary school media specialists.  PRISM also will add resources for the newly established computer science standards being taught in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms. All PRISM digital resources integrate critical thinking topics such as system perspectives and quantitative reasoning into classroom learning units.

Workshops will be conducted for curriculum coordinators within each Indiana school district to promote PRISM educational resources, and social media will be used to link the PRISM team with teachers, school leaders and district administrators.

PRISM Director Patricia Carlson notes that 75 percent of Indiana’s school corporations now provide computer-mediated education at various levels, and digital materials have replaced textbooks in some Indiana districts.

“The educational landscape is changing across Indiana. There’s tremendous opportunity for teachers to adapt their teaching styles and to revamp their classroom methods and practice,” Carlson says. “At the same time, the PRISM program must strengthen our direct outreach to teachers in underserved communities and foster innovation in the learning process by directly blending our resources with more traditional classroom activities.”

Opened with Lilly Endowment support in late 2002, the PRISM program began in 2006 to offer free accounts on Moodle, a learning management system that helps Indiana teachers use digital media as an extension of their own dynamic presence in the classroom.  In 2016, PRISM’s website averaged 137,195 page views per day, and was recognized by the Indiana Department of Education for its math and science partnership with the Vigo County School Corporation.

Other PRISM staff members assisting with the program are Bob Jackson, educational liaison, and Ryan Smith, system administrator.