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Department of Theatre and Dance Program Receives $100,000 Grant

Drama for Schools honored with a 2011-12 award from the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology

Drama for Schools, a University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance outreach program, is the recipient of a 2011-12 award from the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology (LIFT).

The university's chief information officer makes LIFT awards to innovative academic technology projects that leverage information technology to improve instruction quality.

Among other things, the $100,000 grant will allow Drama for Schools to give K-12 teachers instructional videos in drama-based instruction and use social networking to build and disseminate resources.

Drama-based instruction is an umbrella term for a collection of teaching tools used in conjunction with classroom curriculum, including interactive games, improvisation, and role-playing. With LIFT funding, Drama for Schools is positioned to become a state and national resource for innovative arts integration instruction for pre-service and in-service educators.

“The LIFT award enables our program to create a dynamic technology-based resource in drama-based instruction for educators across Texas and the U.S.,” said Katie Dawson, Drama for Schools director and lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance. The videos and related crowd-sourcing effort will expand our ability to support teachers' shift toward job-embedded practice in an innovative, research-based instructional approach.”

Drama for Schools uses research-based instructional strategies to make a sustainable difference in the learning culture of a classroom, school and school district. In partnership with the College of Education, the program trains teachers to use a range of tools that can be adapted to a variety of content areas and contexts, instead of one strategy for a specific lesson plan. In addition, these techniques support a variety of learning styles that keep students actively engaged in the learning process.

The university has ongoing Drama for Schools partnerships with school districts across the nation, from McAllen in South Texas to Galena, Alaska.

Friday, August 19, 2011