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$950,000 Lilly Endowment Grant to Help Rose-Hulman Provide Indiana K-12 Teachers with Tools to Educate Future STEM Leaders

June 18, 2013

  Helping STEM Education: Professor Patricia Carlson, PhD, launched Rose-Hulman’s PRISM web portal in 2003 to give Indiana middle school and high school teachers online tools to integrate science, technology, engineering, and math skills into classrooms and curricula.

A $950,000 Lilly Endowment Inc. grant will enable Rose-Hulman to continue providing Indiana K-12 teachers with state-of-the-art digital learning tools that educate students to meet the state’s growing workforce demands in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career fields.

Launched in 2003, the Portal Resource for Indiana Science and Mathematics (PRISM) project has become a model for integrating new information and communication technology (ICT) proficiencies into traditional STEM classrooms and curricula. The highly-acclaimed website has had over 262 million hits from visitors around the world and now has 8,400 registered teachers and 66,411 student accounts.  Lilly Endowment has been PRISM’s lead funder since its inception, contributing a total of nearly $3.7 million to the project.

Resources on the PRISM website mirror the new media tools used in professional practice and help STEM teachers leverage technology to meet state academic standards. The website hosts more than 2,100 teacher-created online courses and also includes Moodle, a learning management system that helps educators embed PRISM’s digital resources within a coherent, web-supported learning environment that engages students beyond “talk and chalk” delivery methods.

“PRISM facilitates innovative teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines,” says  Rose-Hulman President James C. Conwell, PhD. “Lilly Endowment’s grant will help us continue to equip Indiana students with the tools and critical-thinking skills they need to meet the demands of an increasingly high-tech society.”

PRISM remains focused on Indiana educators and students, with 85 percent of its visitors being from the state. PRISM Director Patricia Carlson, PhD, states that the program has been successful in strengthening Indiana’s educational cyber-infrastructure, supporting standards-driven STEM education through teacher professional development, advocating for innovation in Indiana STEM education, and promoting workforce development and 21st century skills.

Prism logo           

“PRISM’s digital tools foster innovation in STEM teaching and learning,” says Carlson, a professor who is committed to K-12 STEM education. “All PRISM components support Indiana teachers in their efforts to meet the challenges of 21st century education and better prepare their students.”

PRISM works collaboratively with schools, districts, and regional and statewide organizations such as the I-STEM Network. It provides five core services: A library of over 4,000 free, online teaching resources, teacher professional development workshops, electronic lesson plan builders, distance education courses, and a tele-mentoring program that provides partnerships between Rose-Hulman students and ninth graders.

Joining Carlson in these endeavors are PRISM team members Ryan Smith, project leader and web professional, and Matthew Davidson, applications programmer.

Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937. More information about the Endowment is available at