ATLANTA – The Southern Regional Education Board has won a grant from Lumina Foundation to explore how mobile phones might help high school students navigate the path to college. The grant is one of six announced today in Lumina’s "Next Generation" program to discover innovative ways to connect students with effective guidance on preparing, applying and paying for college.
SREB’s $200,000 planning grant will fund research with high school students from low-income families. Focus groups will be under way later this month to better understand the barriers teens face when they consider college and to explore how smartphones could help engage them directly with the process.
If they are the first in their families to attend college, economically disadvantaged students often lack support with the steps necessary to search and enroll. At the same time, low-income, less educated or non-white young people are most likely to rely solely on mobile phones for their access to the Internet, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
"Taking the right high school classes, applying to college, looking for financial aid – these are complex processes," said SREB President Dave Spence. "What if students could use their mobile phones to break down college application steps into manageable tasks, and their phones could send them reminders to complete the tasks? What if their smartphones could deliver personal advice from trained mentors? These are the kinds of possibilities our team will explore."
To guide the project, the grant brings together a national panel with leading expertise in college access, mobile technology and youth marketing. It is spearheaded by two SREB programs:
Key partners represented on this advisory board include:
- SREB’s Go Alliance, which helps states use the right policies, support programs, and communications techniques to increase the number of underserved students who prepare for and apply to college.
- SREB’s Education Technology Cooperative, a national leader in online learning, digital content and educational technology policy.
- AT&T Mobility
- The College Board
- Pew Research Center, which will provide data on technology trends through its Internet and American Life Project
- American School Counselor Association’s Counselor of the Year
- International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s National Online Teacher of the Year
- Curtis Bonk, noted technology professor
- Gabriel Diamond, noted youth media producer
Marketing research will be anchored by Smarty Pants, a research firm that specializes in youth and families, and Stamats, a strategic higher education marketing firm.
At the end of the grant period, in December 2012, the SREB team will deliver two to three promising concepts.
Lumina Foundation is an Indianapolis-based private foundation dedicated to expanding access to and success in education beyond high school.
The Southern Regional Education Board, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, advises state education leaders on ways to improve education. SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Each is represented by its governor and four gubernatorial appointees.
For more information, contact:
Beth Day, Communications Director, (404) 879-5544, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Anne Bailey, Go Alliance Director, (404) 879-5601, email@example.com
Myk Garn, Education Technology Cooperative Director, (404) 879-5507, firstname.lastname@example.org