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Meskill and Oliveira Awarded U.S. Department of Education Professional Development Grant

Albany, NY (April 30, 2012) - Carla Meskill (PI) and Alan Oliveira (Co-I), Educational Theory and Practice, received $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition: National Professional Development Grant Program for their five-year project, Technology-Enhanced Multimodal Instruction in Science and Math for English Language Learners.

The grant program provides professional development funds for activities intended to improve instruction for limited English proficient (LEP) students and to assist education personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards.


This innovative professional development project for secondary educators centers on data-driven strategies for instructing English Language Learners in the academic content areas, specifically science and mathematics via technology-enhanced classroom communication. The overarching objective, to mentor educators across New York State to affect optimal learning on the part of English Language Learners (ELLs), will be met through a number of professional development activities.  A networked cadre of highly skilled, well trained English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) specialists with training in instructional technology coaching and English through academic content will be supported to mentor peers in collaborative team sessions, summer institutes, district professional development, and turnkey coaching forums.

The baseline rationale for this project is that technology-enhanced instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects offers multiple modes of communication (speech, text, picture, graph, symbol, gesture) that teachers can strategically draw upon to support and improve ELLs’ school learning by providing them with access to linguistically rich instructional contexts in which to meaningfully and naturalistically use and become exposed to the English language. A key focal point of this project is the professional development of teachers to effectively incorporate multiple modalities or communicative sources of information (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.) to support and enhance ELL’s school learning experiences. Another focal point is the implementation of an English through math, science and technology database of effective practices that will be developed and freely distributed as part of the project’s ongoing initiatives.

Featured award at UAlbany's Office of Research.