Stephen Colbert-funded teacher projects arriving at SC classrooms

YORK, S.C. (WBTV) – Many South Carolina teachers and students are starting the school year with some new gadgets thanks to a well known TV host.

Earlier this year, Stephen Colbert funded nearly 1,000 teacher projects from by auctioning off items on his Comedy Central show ‘The Colbert Report.’

Teachers in York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties all had projects funded.

Some had already received the items by the first day, including Megan Hanna at Heath Spring Elementary School. Hanna will be able to give her fourth grade students a basic introduction to coding with the help of four robotic machines called Ozobots.

“I was thinking well this may get the student’s minds working about the real world, because we always need to connect with what’s going on in the real world,” Hanna said.

Hanna showed her class how the devices work on Monday. The Ozobots are tiny robots that move on a color-coded sequences. Certain colors and combinations tell the ‘bots’ to move in a certain direction or spin, among other commands.

Hanna thinks the robots may interest students in a future career in science, technology, engineering, or math.

Students’ eyes stayed on the Ozobots as their teacher demonstrated.

“I think it might be cool learning about these,” said student Tyler Cauthen.

Hanna was thrilled to learn her project had been funded, and shocked when she found out it was thanks to Stephen Colbert.

Colbert funded more than $800,000 worth of projects for almost 800 teachers in more than 350 schools. About 15 teacher projects at Heath Springs Elementary School are benefiting from Colbert’s gift.

Instructors are waiting for a new pottery wheel, a couple of iPads, and a document camera to be delivered.

Hanna said it can be tough finding the money for extra learning tools in a small school district and Colbert’s help went a long way.

“I ended up getting four Ozobots and an iPad, and it was a good amount of money. I don’t think I would have been able to get all of those if I wouldn’t have gotten help,” said Hanna.

Other teachers at schools in Fort Mill, Chester County, York, and Lancaster County also had projects funded.