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Extreme Classroom Makeover

Teachers, what would you do with $25,000 in technology upgrades?

ORAU launched Extreme Classroom Makeover in 2008 to help improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in public schools across East Tennessee. The concept played off of home makeover shows that were trendy at the time—one teacher, one classroom and $25,000 in new technology.

In the years since, Extreme Classroom Makeover has become so much more than that. Technological advancements are an everyday occurrence. Most children today are digital natives, seemingly born with smartphones or tablets in hand. Still, some schools do not have the budgets to keep pace with changing technology. Keeping up with current demands seems like a luxury.

That’s where Extreme Classroom Makeover comes in. Our annual competition awards deserving STEM teachers with a room full of the latest educational technology.

2016 Extreme Classroom Makeover winner Rhea Carmon and ORAU President Andy Page

How do I qualify?

  • Teach a STEM subject for 3rd through 10th grade
  • Work for a public school within 50 miles of Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Submit a 3-4 minute video creatively illustrating the need and potential uses of technology in their classroom

The winner will be determined by a panel of educators and ORAU staff. Entries will be judged on how well they:

  • Demonstrate or explain the need for technology
  • Demonstrate or explain the potential use of technology
  • Demonstrate overall creativity in the entry and an explanation of the teaching philosophy and/or approach that will be used to expand the learning experience

Union Grove Elementary School’s Amy Buchanan wins 2020 Extreme Classroom Makeover

ORAU surprised Buchanan at her house with $25,000 for new classroom technology, hoping students will now get to explore, touch and see the STEM classroom they’ve imagined. Watch the video to see what happened.

Watch the 2019 classroom reveal at Lanier Elementary School!

Watch the 2019 classroom reveal at Lanier Elementary School!

In April 2019, ORAU presented Lanier Elementary School teacher Renee Powell with a $25,000 technology makeover during a surprise classroom announcement. In July, we revisited Ms. Powell's new classroom technology!

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    2019 Winner's Entry Video

    Lanier Elementary School (Blount County)
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    2018 Winner's Entry Video

    West View Elementary School (Knox County)

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    2017 Winner's Entry Video

    Rutledge Middle School (Grainger County)

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    2016 Winner's Entry Video

    Austin-East High School (Knox County)

Knoxville teacher Jordan Haney with his Extreme Classroom Makeover winning students

Watch: Where are they now: Extreme Classroom Makeover winners

“I won Extreme Classroom Makeover more than eight years ago, and the items I won are still impacting my students’ education today.”

Jordan Haney, a teacher at Rocky Hill Elementary School in Knoxville, won the Extreme Classroom Makeover grand prize in 2010. Among the items Haney bought to outfit his classroom were a Promethean Board, which is a type of interactive white board, and iPads to be used by each of his students. He says Extreme Classroom Makeover is still making a difference in his classroom.


Want to learn more about the Extreme Classroom Makeover? Email us at