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March 19, 2013 | Tom Ballard

A.L. Lotts wins latest ORAU competition to add classroom technology

The latest winner in Oak Ridge Associated University’s (ORAU) “Extreme Classroom Makeover Competition,” which funds enhanced technology in classrooms, is a fifth grade at A.L. Lotts Elementary School. Here’s the ORAU release:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again—this was the approach of one local elementary school teacher when she submitted her video for the 2013 ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover Competition, her third in three years. Her hard work and dedication paid off today as ORAU presented fifth grade math and science teacher Karla Fultz with $25,000 to realize her dream of enhanced technology in her classroom during an assembly at A. L. Lotts Elementary School in Knox County. The funding is part of ORAU’s annual Extreme Makeover Competition, now in its fifth year.

Through her winning video, a parody of “Gangman Style,” the Korean pop single and video that reached one billion internet views in December of 2012, Fultz and her students creatively show the positive impact technology, such as iPads and laptops, would have on their ability to learn and retain information in their daily school work.

“Science and math are two important factors that help form the foundation of innovation,” explained ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. “ORAU believes through programs like the Extreme Classroom Makeover, we can bring excitement to teachers and students on critical STEM subjects, which in turn, can help strengthen our nation’s future competitiveness.”

ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators like Fultz who are working on the front lines of the education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.

Contestants entering ORAU’s competition must teach math or science in a public school located within 50 miles of Oak Ridge. Additionally, a teacher must submit a short video illustrating the classroom’s need and explain how the new technologies would be used to energize and enhance learning.

Next steps for A. L. Lotts Elementary School include the selection, purchase and installation of new technology to make over the classroom. Later in the summer, ORAU will unveil the redesigned classroom in a special event to the students and their parents.

ORAU will follow Fultz’s class during the 2013-2014 academic school year to track how she is using the technology. Fultz and her students will be encouraged to blog about the experience and share their learning experiences with others.

Last year’s grand prize winner was Heather Burkhart, a teacher at Pigeon Forge Elementary School in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Previous winners also include Herman Sutton from Green Magnet Math and Science Academy, Rocky Hill Elementary School’s Jordan Haney, and Jenny Alvey from Gresham Middle School. Winners have typically purchased items such as additional computers, iPads, digital cameras, a clicker system, television, promethean boards and other technology that helped advance his students’ learning activities.


View the winning video for the Extreme Classroom Makeover competition at


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