ITEF began in 1986 as the Humanities Instructional Television Educational Center (HITEC). We originally filed Articles of Incorporation for a General Not-for-Profit Missouri Corporation, “to obtain authority (from the FCC) to own and operate closed circuit television channels in order to provide instructional and educational programs.”
This was a response to the boom in cable TV programming. More than just entertainment, cable TV was now offering a rich array of high-quality educational content. It just needed a way to reach students. One inspired solution was the creation of Instructional Television Fixed Service, a band of television channels licensed to colleges, universities and not-for profit-organizations such as HITEC.
HITEC’s transmitter was located on the KETC Channel 9 tower at Butler Hill. Offerings included The Learning Channel, Discovery EWTN, CSPAN, Inspiration Network and an arts channel. Educational facilities could now receive programming via state-of-the-art microwave dishes from their rooftops. Since equipment was costly, HITEC offset the cost. Classrooms were enriched with content they otherwise would not receive.
And then came the Internet boom. By the 1990’s, the public was immersed in technology at an unprecedented rate. Home computing was easier than ever, laptops, smart boards and web-based content were all becoming readily available. The students entering school were exposed at an early age to the benefits of technology—they were true digital natives. Savvy educators were demanding better access to this technology for their students who were growing up hand-in-hand with technology.
So as technology changed, so did we. In 2006, HITEC announced a new name and a new mission. New articles of incorporation approved by the State of Missouri changing the name from HITEC to the Innovative Technology Education Fund: ITEF. Our new mission was to advance the creative use of technology to provide excellence in education. Far from our humble cable TV roots, the new ITEF grew to accommodate technology’s many faces: music, video, robotics, and the arts.
Educators sprang to discover ways technology could be brought into the classroom. They saw how innovative technology promoted creativity and critical thinking. From hands-on computing to innovative software, they sought ITEF grants to cover an ever-growing spectrum of technological opportunities.
Since then, ITEF has given over $2 million to area schools for enhanced learning through the use of technology. Each year, ITEF award grants and actively seeks collaborative partnerships with innovative educators throughout the region.
Today, we welcome the chance to equip educators as they prepare students for a digital world. ITEF is proud to share the knowledge, the passion and the funding to positively impact education and its effects on the youth in our community.