Colorado Springs Gazette September 20, 2018

Palmer High Students to Create Project with Peers in Saipan Using Technology Prize Money

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Colorado’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Sean Wybrant, has another award to his credit, as does a fellow Colorado Springs School District 11 educator.

Wybrant, who teaches technology at Palmer High School, and Scott Fuller, Next Generation learning coordinator for D-11, won The Succeeds Prize 2018 for Excellence in Technology Enabled Learning during a celebration this week in Denver.

The award honoring Colorado public schools and educators carries a $15,000 prize, which will fund the pair’s idea to partner with students in Saipan, the largest island and capital of the U.S. Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, to create augmented and virtual-reality learning experiences.

Palmer High students will work with students from Kagman High School in Saipan to build 3-D models from East Carolina University’s Maritime Studies Department and the Smithsonian Institution, with the goal of teaching others about the Saipan Maritime Heritage Trail and Battle of Saipan.

The money also will provide for students to share their work on a broader scale, including via podcasts.

“Colorado’s students are capable of having a tremendous impact on the world, if we give them the opportunity,” Wybrant said in accepting the award.

A panel of experts across business, technology and education judged applicants through a process that included a live “Shark Tank”-style presentation.

The Succeeds Prize — a partnership among 9NEWS, Colorado Succeeds and mindSpark Learning — “recognizes and rewards Colorado’s transformational public schools and educators who are driving strong student success,” according to organizers.

In addition to the money, each winning school will receive customized professional training from mindSpark Learning, a nonprofit that provides professional learning experiences for school leaders and teachers.

Winning schools across six categories received $150,000 in cash prizes this year, the second year of the award.

“Colorado educators are hungry for opportunities to use technology to transform their students’ experience, accelerate learning and help their student learn how to be innovators,” said Joe Verrengia, global director of corporate social responsibility at Arrow Electronics, in a news release.