HITN Gets $30M Grant from Education Dept.

The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) has been awarded a $30 million Ready to Learn grant for Project LAMP (Learning Apps Media Partnership) by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement.

The five-year grant ($6 million will be allocated each year) is the first ever granted to an independent group and will fund the development and deployment of media content to improve the math and literacy skills of children ages 2-8. Also snagging some DOE funds this year were PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which were awarded nearly $72 million.

HITN president José Luis Rodríguez told Hispanic TV Update the non-profit group will invest these funds in research, outreach and development of a program to build digital learning applications with broad market appeal and educational impact, particularly targeting low-income children, English Language Learners (ELL), and their families.

"This is the direction in which media is moving; and this is the direction in which we want to move," Rodríguez said of the program, which will include e-books, iPad/Touch Screen applications, mobile device and phone applications, console and hand held gaming applications, sing along DVDs and CDs, and an interactive Web site.

Among the partners HITN will engage to implement the project are Michael Cohen Group, a formative research firm; and Callaway Digital Arts, which has developed Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (ages 2-5) and Nova the Robot (ages 5-8). A third new ELL property will be produced by HITN.