Wednesday, October 31, 2012
DuPont Elementary School principal Janice Scott is trying to increase the amount of technology available inside the walls of her school. This semester, students and teachers in the upper grades will begin using 120 iPads in class.
“In 2014 online testing will be required in the district,” said Scott. “We are moving toward the direction of technology for students to be used as a learning and testing tool. We are purchasing iPads [at $480 each] for all fourth- and fifth-grade students and teachers this year. We hope to cover the third grade with iPads in next year’s budget.”
In order to begin preparing for online testing, Scott is writing grants to supplement the school’s annual budget in order to help fund wireless Internet access in the building and to help with iPad purchases. The Modern Wooden of America in partnership with the Chattanooga Breakfast Rotary Club that meets at Rivermont Presbyterian Church collaborated to recently donate $5,000 to purchase 10 iPads for DuPont students and teachers.
The funds were raised through the Rotary Club’s annual Gourmet Guys food tasting gala and a grant from Modern Woodmen. Gourmet Guys is an annual fundraising project for the local Chattanooga Rotary Clubs in which amateur chefs display their culinary feats at the First Tennessee Pavilion. All proceeds from this fundraising event benefit local elementary schools and children in the Greater Chattanooga area.
The next Gourmet Guys event is already set for March 23, 2013.
Scott said when she took the helm of the school, she noticed the lack of a computer lab and wireless access. She said computers in the building — four to five computers per classroom — are at least 10 years old.
“Hamilton County school system is working a deal with iTunes to buy iPad applications half off,” said Scott. “It’s a new realm for us. Students will learn how to use the iPads by Christmas.”
As technology continues to change over time, she said she hopes to get — and keep — her students up to date.
“I’m trying to build a STEM lab with science, technology, engineering and math,” said Scott. “We will use iPads in the STEM lab and in the classroom. Teachers will focus on math, science and technology in the classroom. It will be a rotating lab.”
She said ultimately she hopes to have new technology for all grade levels including kindergarten in the long-range plan.
“It looks like grades three, four and five will have to test online in 2014,” said Scott. “The fifth grade writing assessment will be online in 2013. Through testing online you get your test scores back faster. I am pushing to get the students’ hands on the tools they need to practice before online testing begins.”