Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thank you for your interest in AVI CHAI’s Educational Technology Experimentation grant.

As you know, this was a competitive grant process, and we received approximately 180 submissions. We thoroughly read, discussed and considered each and every request, and regret that our concern to be thorough delayed the process. We were able to select only a few submissions for further review. All submitters should have heard from us by the end of January.

There were common threads in many of the requests:

Many requested SmartBoards. We selected a few applicants that seemed to hold the most promise in implementing this technology smoothly, quickly, effectively and with little risk of failure. We also considered how easily the technological solution to the pedagogic problem could be applied to other classrooms across the country.

Many requested video conferencing equipment. We consider this to be another new technology that holds great promise but are considering just a few applicants. We’re currently funding an experimental project on remote teaching with Bar Ilan’s Lookstein Center, and we didn’t want to duplicate our efforts.

Many asked for help with original teacher-devised curricula. We were more likely to invest in a team-created or team evaluated curricula.

Many applied to improve existing websites. Others requested updated software. We saw lots of practicality in these proposals but did not believe that they fell within our criteria for educational innovation.

We’ve asked a number of applicants to answer some follow-up questions. Once we’re done with this clarification step, we’ll post the winners of this competitive grant. The enthusiastic response to this request for proposals was heartening and will inform our next steps in supporting educational technology in Jewish day schools.

Thank you again for your interest.