West Virginia Universitys College of Human Resources and Education (HR&E) will formally thank the Verizon Corp. on Friday, Jan. 18, when school officials dedicate a new interactive classroom equipped with 32 new laptop computers at 11:30 a.m. in 414 Allen Hall.

The classroom, a $190,000 gift from Verizon last year, also includes a video conferencing center that provides distance learning between WVU and public schools statewide.

“We owe a significant debt of gratitude to Verizon for its generous and far-reaching gift,”said HR&E Dean William Deaton.”Verizons contribution has considerably helped to improve our ability to facilitate distance learning. Educators statewide, as well as their young students, will all benefit from these latest educational advances.”

In addition to equipment, the gift also provides two yearsfunding for Interactive Distance Learning Specialist Penni Graham, who helps both WVU and public schools explore educational opportunities, Dr. Deaton said.

“We are excited about this venture,”said Gale Given, president of Verizon West Virginia.”Verizon hopes that our distance learning technology will open up new possibilities for connections between West Virginias K-12 schools and WVU .”

John Wells directs the WVU Teaching and LearningCenter in Allen Hall, where the classroom is located. He believes the classroom will expose future teachers to ways of using new technologies to benefit the educational processskills they will pass on to their students.

Future teachers will also better understand the challenges they may face teaching in rural schools, he said.

“Im excited about how these changes will impact our preparation of future teachers,”Wells said.”Teachers tend to teach the way they are taught. Already we are seeing real changes in the way our new teachers, who have benefited from technology, are now integrating those resources into their classroom and courses. This gift from Verizon will ensure that such advances continue.”

Verizon West Virginia is based in Charleston and is responsible primarily for facilitating the states telecommunications network and providing technological and research- based advances.