Games to Grants: Tips for scoreboards, classroom studios and funding

Video displays and scoreboards are becoming more commonplace in junior high and high school gyms and athletic fields. Resourceful teachers are taking advantage of that technology, bringing it into the classroom to teach gameday production and life skills.

Once seen as a novelty, classroom media studios are becoming technology centers for cutting-edge curriculums that support blended learning and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programs. A turning point for many video studios is the growing affordability of LED video displays and virtual scoreboards.

“Out there [on the football field] students have to constantly communicate with each other. It gives them a better sense of what it’s like to work in a real-world environment with other people,” said The Villages High School journalism teacher, Megan Licciardello.


Many schools look for grants to help fund media studios, but technology grants are competitive. Here are some tips to leverage your Watchfire scoreboard to win funding.

Stand out from the rest. Building lesson plans around an LED video scoreboard gives proposals a unique angle that may help secure hard to get EdTech grants. Show how your project will benefit a diverse group of community members, from tuba players to basketball players, or even a deployed parent watching live broadcasts. It’s not every day that grant reviewers see a proposal that impacts the community as well as the school’s computer science, English, band, art and athletic departments.

Sports are growing in diversity; sports coverage must evolve with them. Don’t limit classroom projects to sports with the highest attendance or greatest booster support. An art class that creates crowd prompts for the football team can also create content for the girls’ soccer team playing on the same multipurpose field. Technology can help boost diversity and equality.

Before applying for grants, consider trends in education that appeal to donors. Hot topics like personalized learning, career education and STEM/STEAM instruction grab the lion’s share of attention and funding. Design lesson plans around subjects that can improve your chances of winning funding. Always keep proposed projects focused on the learning experiences and not just on technology.

As school districts are forced to reduce budgets every year, teachers can’t always find funding for new programs. National technology grants are looking for innovation and programs that solve real problems, so don’t be afraid to ask for the entire budget amount within the grant guidelines. Make sure you check for all programs costs allowed, like materials or administrative expenses.

While a large, national grant may be in your future, you should also check out smaller grants with a local focus. Break down your project into multiple, affordable requests, and demonstrate any initial success with scaled-down projects. This can lead to multifaceted projects and bigger requests.

Nazareth Area High School found success in scalability.

“Operating a video board has many different components, including graphic design, animations, programming, management, pre-produced video packages, live reporting, and advertising opportunities. Determine which areas make sense for student learning and begin with one or two areas,” said Assistant Superintendent Mark Madson, Ed.D.

With the purchase of a Watchfire sports display, schools have all the technology they need to start a school media program. Ignite Sports software allows students to create, manage and deliver content to the big screen with an easy and intuitive interface. Students can create content with minimal training and can learn to import artwork created with Google apps.

Watchfire displays seamlessly integrate with media systems, making it easy to upgrade at any time and at any budget point. For $200, a school can purchase a camcorder and HDMI cable for basic live video capabilities. The same school may receive a $20,000 grant to upgrade to a more professional system with wireless cameras, instant replays and live web streaming.

Learn how schools are incorporating their Watchfire sport displays into classroom success. Call us at 800-637-2645.

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