–Best Buy Canada is looking to award $200,000 in technology grants to teachers and students who are passionate about technology in the classroom. Starting Monday, September 13, Canada’s fastest growing retailer of consumer electronics will begin accepting entries for its 2010 Best in Class Fund program.
The need for effectively incorporating the latest technology into Canadian schools was highlighted in a 2009 survey of advanced use of ICTs (Integrated Communications Technologies) conducted by the International Telecommunications Union. The survey showed that Canada dropped to 19th place, down ten places from its ninth place standing in 2002, indicating that Canada is losing its competitive edge regarding technology into the classroom.
The Best in Class Fund program was conceived in 2008 to inspire teachers and students to develop compelling educational projects that will advance learning through the integration of technology in the classroom. This type of learning is recognized as key for scholastic success by numerous experts including Dr. David Vogt, Director of Digital Learning at the University of British Columbia’s Educational Technology Department and member of the Best in Class Technology Advisory Board.
"There are numerous studies that show how the effective use of technology by trained teachers can create a superior learning experience for students," says Dr. Vogt. "What makes Best in Class such a strong program is that it equips schools with cutting edge technology and then brings in experts to help teachers and students understand how they can best integrate this new technology into the classroom."
In addition to $20,000 for the latest in digital technology, each of the ten winning schools will also receive in-the-classroom support and ongoing online support from Best Buy’s Geek Squad. Experts in technology installation, trouble shooting and functionality, the Geek Squad will offer their expertise to the teachers and students of the winning schools to help them understand how to get as much as possible out of this new technology to maximize the learning experience.
The submissions will be reviewed by the Best in Class Technology Advisory Board comprised of leaders in the areas of technology and education. This year’s advisory board members include: Dr. David Vogt, Director of Digital Learning Projects for the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education; Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Chair of Educational Studies in Language, Culture & Technology at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Education; as well technology experts and respected journalists Marc Saltzman and Francois Charron.