Bill Gates Unplugged

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Surmounting Classroom Technology Needs – Fort Worth ISD?

From: Eddie Griffin, Child Rights Advocate,
Fort Worth Independent School District, Community Action Team, Parent Team Leader

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

RE: Making the Classroom Seeable, Comprehendible, Rigorous, Engaging, Challenging & Entertaining

We have reached the 4G Multimedia level of communications and innovations for new modes of teaching and learning in the classroom. It is a new delivery system that can be effectively used to fulfill our purpose in education.

POSTULATE: People progress at an arithmetic rate. Technology progresses at a geometry rate.

ASSUMPTION: The general trend in mass public education inhibits intellectual growth. Impeding forces are old modes of thinking, and old production and education models.


“Bill Gates Unplugged” is an open door to the exciting future in technology that can be applied in the classroom. This is not theory, but actual research in process. In other words, classroom teachers will not be able to dictate the new modes of learning. In fact, teachers are already woefully behind this generation of multimedia-hungry babies.

Following the Lead

Excerpts from a Texas teacher’s request:

I teach twenty-two energetic third graders at a public school in a very high-need community.

My students, who are accustomed to television and video games, need entertaining, engaging lessons to hold their attention and peak their interest.
Therefore, the prerequisite of any lesson in my classroom is it has to be engaging. The most engaging lessons need materials and technology. Technology is definitely scarce.

There are not enough LCD Projectors available at my school

She has requested help to purchase a “SAMSUNG SPL220 MULTIMEDIA PROJECTOR”.

Total Project Cost: $826.82
Current Balance: $611.17

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: +1.206.709.3400
Jeremy Robinson-Leon
Phone: +1.212.784.5702

RE: Fort Worth ISD Research identified Needs

The FWISD CAT FAMILY Team includes a representative of Alcon Laboratories Corporate Giving program.

Current research reveals that 70% of those incarcerated, never were able to learn in school, because of poor eye sight.

We have seen a number of classroom requests for “projectors”, in order to enlarge the traditional blackboard.

The second discovery is the mode of delivery of learning materials. The multimedia generation is bored with the slow learning process.

We discovered this impediment in our Texas classroom. The state school system is moving away from hardback books to more online and multimedia software-driven curricula.

We were the first to introduce computers into inner city school classrooms, to make technology more accessible to the poor. We expanded computer placement through the FWISD school system, and are in process of placing online accessible computers in community GO Centers.

What is happening in cell phone technology and social online media has thrown us into a new teaching arena.

We have yet to catch up in the classroom, by making lesson content “seeable”, “comprehendible”, “rigorous, engaging, and challenging”, and “entertaining”. This is the type of delivery system we need in education for today’s generation.

The FWISD is the largest school district with whiteboards in every classroom. But not all teachers have explored or mastered its infinite multimedia features. There are still teachers who will do barely enough to get by.

We need to identify teachers who are hungry to teach and use innovative techniques in the classroom. The best vehicle to encourage teachers to supply their classrooms needs is through DonorsChoose.Org. A teacher can go there and convey their classroom needs to potential donors, for specific projects of all sizes., Gates Foundation and Stephen Colbert Team Up to Support Teachers and Promote College Readiness for All

"Double Your Impact" program to fund 50 percent of teachers’ classroom projects aimed at promoting college readiness

NEW YORK -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, the online charity that connects individual “citizen philanthropists” with classrooms in need, today announced a landmark grant that enables to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of individual classroom projects developed by teachers to promote college-readiness among students in high-need and underserved urban and rural public schools.

TV personality Stephen Colbert, a board member, moderated the event where the announcement was made. “Double Your Impact” will be funded with a $4.1 million investment from the Gates Foundation and is expected to support more than 17,000 classroom projects, touching more than 300,000 students across the nation. By enabling to contribute half of the required dollars, the grant helps to incentivize individual “citizen philanthropists” to donate and accelerate the process of fully funding projects. enables teachers to describe specific educational projects for their classrooms and individuals to choose which projects to fund. This approach has been effective in funding projects in high-need and underserved schools.

“Teachers across the country are creating classroom projects and lessons that engage kids in creative and innovative ways. Generous citizen philanthropists, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s invaluable support, are making sure they have the materials needed to spark the passion for learning,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of “This grant helps us drive attention and contributions to projects aimed at preparing kids to succeed in college.”

“ supports teachers in a truly powerful way—engaging the public in support of teachers and the innovative energy they bring to the classroom,” said Vicki L. Phillips, director of education at the Gates Foundation. “We hope this partnership will give citizen donors an added incentive to support projects that empower public school teachers to help prepare students to graduate ready to succeed in college and beyond.”

Today’s event was held at Manhattan Bridges High School in New York City, which has benefited from three teacher-submitted projects funded through the “Double Your Impact” initiative. Manhattan Bridges serves new immigrants and English Language Learners–historically academically-challenged demographics–and has consistently posted graduation rates significantly higher than the city average, in part due to its tailored programming for students.

“ allows people from all walks of life to help specific classrooms directly,” said Stephen Colbert. “As I endeavor to protect our children from bears, is protecting public school kids from classrooms that lack the materials necessary to rigorously prepare them for college.”

While many organizations raise funds for basic school supplies, the model supports specific classroom projects that are submitted and designed by any public school teacher in the U.S. to further defined educational goals. Under the “Double Your Impact” initiative, the requests eligible for 50 percent funding from through the grant from the Gates Foundation are those that promote college-readiness. Such projects include student trips to college campuses as well as classroom books, SAT/ACT preparation materials, and other resources that strengthen the learning experience.

“ has helped provide the additional materials, such as college essay prep books, that can help teachers like me create programs that are targeted to the unique needs of our students and get them really excited about learning,” said Elizabeth Smith, a teacher at Manhattan Bridges High School. “My goal is to create opportunities for my students to learn in innovative, inspiring ways. This has made all the difference in what our students believe they can achieve.”
Founded in 2000, is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and student thank-you letters.

To date, 88,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $30.3 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through, individuals from all walks of life have helped 1.8 million students from low-income families.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Eddie Griffin (BASG)

SUPPORT: H.R. 1064

Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act:

To provide for evidence-based and promising practices related to juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity prevention and intervention to help build individual, family, and community strength and resiliency to ensure that youth lead productive, safe, healthy, gang-free, and law-abiding lives.

Current Status:
The Committee voted to report the bill favorably to the whole House of Representatives by a vote of 17-14.


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Nancy said...

Another organization that allows individual donors to support teachers is Adopt-A-Classroom. Through the website at, any donor can adopt a classroom anywhere in the US and 100% of the funds goes to the teacher in order to purchase critical classroom supplies. This is a national nonprofit program and schools in Fort Worth are listed here:

Promethean Board demonstration