There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new-age technology, but if the teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.
—Former US Senator Nancy Kassebaum
Colchester School District has received nearly $15,000 in grant funding from Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program to support additional integration of technology into classrooms at Porters Point School, Union Memorial School, and Malletts Bay School!
The grant funding will support the purchase of classroom Apple TVs and projectors that fully integrate with iPads in order to further facilitate differentiated instruction; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related curriculum; and adaptive technologies for students with social and emotional disabilities.
Apple technology has been regaled as an exceptional classroom tool to facilitate differentiated instruction, and CSD has received national acclaim for its work in this area; in 2011, four UMS teachers were featured in a professionally produced, globally marketed professional development series about differentiated instruction called Creating Equity and Excellence for All Learners through Differentiated Instruction.
The iPad possesses many effective applications that have been specifically designed to enhance these age groups’ STEM-related engagement. Such applications include Adventures Undersea Math, Alice & Andy in the Universe of Wonders, BrainPOP, CountBy, Mad Math Lite, Piggy HD Math, Dress Up Princess Math, RedFish 4 Kids, Star Walk, Tens Frame, and Whizzit 123. Augmenting students’ and educators’ access to this highly versatile and adaptive technology will have long-term and far-reaching positive implications by engaging our learners, allowing them to assume more ownership of their learning, and exciting them about their study.
Another significant advantage in using iPad applications is the ability to facilitate learning in students with social and emotional disabilities. Numerous studies have demonstrated that implementing student-centered, technology-rich learning programs into academics is highly beneficial, particularly for students with disabilities. For these students, the writing process—and therefore the written demonstration of acquired science and math knowledge—is often very challenging. By leveraging assistive technology, we can support this student demographic in overcoming these challenges, helping them instead to thrive in areas in which they may otherwise struggle. The integration of such technology into the classroom augments all of these benefits in addition to the benefits of collaboration, increased engagement, minimized downtime, reduced costs and waste of classroom materials, and increased ability of teachers to circulate among their students.
CSD’s ongoing efforts to increasingly integrate technology into its curriculum and instruction is a major priority; our community members explicitly identified it as a significant need in the Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. Furthermore, the Vermont Technology Grade Expectations outline major focus areas in education, and among them are digital citizenship and technology operations and concepts. The grants awarded by Lowe’s Toolbox for Education will further support these endeavors.
Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!