Students with disabilities use stem grant to transform learning

After receiving an America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant, the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind used the dollars to purchase an augmented reality sandbox, which enhances the learning process and provides a hands-on resource for hearing and visually impaired students.

Funding Technology That Helps Students Learn

Technology is reimagining school classrooms and curriculums, and many teachers and school administrators must look to outside funding sources to purchase the latest tech tools. Grants for rural schools are one outlet that schools in farming communities often turn to to access the technology they need for their classrooms.

Rose Crews, a science teacher at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind, encouraged area farmers to nominate her school to apply for a $10,000 grant from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Bayer Fund. A few months after applying, she learned the school would be awarded the funds. The school used the money to purchase an augmented reality sandbox, which allows visually and hearing impaired students to create and learn about geographic landmasses, such as mountains, valleys and rivers through an interactive motion camera.

The sandbox mimics how landforms work in their natural environments, helping them to gain a deeper understanding of landforms, the water cycle and erosion. For visually impaired students, the sandbox helps them feel land features like plateaus or canyons. Hearing impaired students can see the natural features in the sandbox and learn by interacting with it, making abstract concepts simple without verbal explanation.

We came across a video of the sandbox and I was just enthralled with the possibilities that I could use within the science classroom, but also with history and geography, and for our special needs students to feel and touch … This gives blind students the chance to actually get hands on.
Rose Crews, Science Teacher, Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind

With Grow Rural Education, American Farmers Are Shaping Minds

With a farmer’s nomination for rural education grants, schools like the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind can give their students access to technology that will shape their futures. With the increasing number of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math in America, it’s important that every child has access to the education and skills they need to fill those roles. Last year alone, the GrowRural Education program awarded a total of $2.3 million in grants to rural schools. Since 2011, Grow Rural Education has awarded more than $16 million to over 900 rural schools around the nation.

Because area farmers played a role by nominating the school to apply for the grant, Rose and her students welcomed the farmers to school for a state-of-the-art science lesson. The farmers responsible for helping the school got to see first-hand the difference their nomination made in these students’ education.

Other American farmers that are interested in making a difference in their local community’s education can nominate a school in their area for a $10,000 or $25,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program.

Take a look at more information on America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education and how farmers are rooting for rural.