2013 Earl Innovation Award Winners

May 22, 2013

2013 Sylvia Earl Innovation Award WinnersWheelock College announced the winners of the prestigious Sylvia Earl Innovation Award, which is designed to inspire and support creative work, ideas, and programs that use technology to enhance the Wheelock experience for our community.

The 2013 winners are:

  • An app that provides daily activities to engage children in grades 3-5 and their parents in STEM activities;
  • An initiative to create a paperless Writing Center using iPads; and
  • A "virtual computer in a pen" that will help students improve their note-taking skills. 

Launched in 2012 through a generous grant from Jim and Sylvia Earl, the annual Sylvia Earl Innovation award provides funds to support the generation, development, and piloting of new ideas that can create a measurable impact in the teaching, learning, and support of education in any and all areas of the College. The College looks at four key criteria to ensure that winning projects are technology driven, innovative, clear and measurable, replicable and scalable.

Wheelock faculty, staff, students, deans, administrators, and staff are eligible to submit proposals individually or in groups.

This year, eight proposals were submitted from across the College. Said Roy Schifilliti, Vice President for Campus Life and Information Services, "The proposals were all extremely strong this year and it was very difficult to narrow it down to three winners. This annual award has really inspired all of our departments to think strategically about ways they can use technology to deliver better service to our students and our community."

About the 2013 Award Winners

The STEM App Project: Exciting Families and Children about STEM
Submitted by Aspire, Barbara Joseph, Online Solutions Project Manager

This initiative, implemented in 2012 with a Sylvia Earl Innovation Award grant, seeks to continue the development of the STEM activity application and expand to an additional Boston school. The STEM app is designed to target activities for students in grades 3-5 and their parents, as studies suggest that students at this age begin to show less interest in science. Further studies indicate that increased parental engagement in STEM activities with their children holds the promise of inspiring a higher level of interest in science and math activities. The advanced technology of this app allows integration of STEM concepts into daily life and encourages parents to engage in areas of STEM with their children in a fun and interactive way.

Technology Initiative for Paperless Writing Center
Submitted by the Writing Center, Gillian Devereux, Writing Support Specialist

This innovative project will move the Writing Center toward becoming paperless. Rather than keeping paper records on student consultations, this initiative will allow the implementation of a digital format accessed via iPads. This digital format provides both students and consultants with access to interactive grammar exercises, reference websites, and research tools. This initiative aligns well with the Wheelock mission as it will give students ownership of their development as academic writers. A "paperless" writing center also reinforces the College's green initiatives and helps prepare students to use digital technology in the professional world.

Livescribe
Submitted by the Office of Disability Services, Rachel Buday, Coordinator of Disability Services

Many students, both with and without disabilities, struggle with taking notes effectively. This proposal would introduce a tool called Livescribe, described as virtually a computer in a pen. With this device, a student can record and play back audio, create interactive files that combine handwritten notes with simultaneously recorded audio, upload and share audio and digital notes, and utilize the USB capability.  The goals of this tool are to foster student success by improving note-taking skills, and diversifying note-taking methods by using a multisensory approach. This innovative technology will also allow students to self-assess their note-taking skills.

About the Sylvia Earl Innovation Award

The award is focused on generating a broad range of innovative ideas across the College and in all departments, including all academic programs.  Funded proposals will be designed to engage technology to help Wheelock lead in new ways and new areas in the future.

Proposals may include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Address the changing expectations and needs of today's students
  • Develop new approaches to enhance real world experiences and learning inside and outside of the classroom
  • Improving the student experience resulting in improved engagement, retention and graduation
  • Broaden the reach of the College in new and key academic areas
  • Expand the local, regional, and global reach and impact of the College
  • Develop new academic areas of study to meet future needs
  • Provide enhanced academic resources, support and training
  • Expand delivery and positive impact of student support services in Student Life, Advising, Academic and Financial support services.
  • Promote enhanced connections with schools, communities and government agencies
  • Expand support of Field Experience and Service Learning work
  • Extend accessibility to student opportunities for international experiences
  • Grants can be for a one-time proposal but may be extended as larger projects based on the quality of the program and the potential outcomes of the work.  Grantees who are awarded may reapply for additional funding in future years. 


Applicants considering long‐term projects in need of support are encouraged to use the Sylvia Earl funds to develop needed expertise, infrastructure, and analytic tools to support the development of the proposal.

For more information, visit www.wheelock.edu/innovationaward

inspire a world of good

200 Riverway, Boston, Massachusetts 02215 | 617-879-2000
© 2014 Wheelock College is a registered trademark.