Donation provides computer devices for every Lutie School student
Thanks to an anonymous donor, every student at Lutie School in Theodosia now has a computer device to use. “We have had a 1:1 (one-to-one) computer initiative for a couple of years in grades 3 through 12 through a donation,” said Lutie superintendent Scot Young. “During Christmas break, the same anonymous donor provided funds to purchase Chromebooks for grades 6 through 8, allowing us to redistribute the iPads from middle school to elementary, therefore expanding to include grades K through 2. Also thanks to this donor, students in grades 9 through 12 will upgrade from their current laptops to new Chromebooks in the next school year.”
Teachers see numerous benefits to having the 1:1 technology in their classrooms, including access to learning programs like Study Island, Quizizz, and Zearn that help students study and gain a deeper understanding of concepts they’ve learned. “Quizizz is a site that the students log in to for studying and reviewing as a class. The results are on the Smartboard as the students answer questions, showing the top five students. They love the competition aspect” said middle school language arts teacher Sandy Woody, “When the classes use programs such as Quizizz and compete, they are helping to remember different concepts. I can tell the difference when students then test. Using different methods to present in front of the class has improved student confidence in public speaking.”
Misty Souder’s third grade class uses Study Island’s math, English language arts, science and social studies programs to prepare for taking their first MAP test.
Access to the internet makes it easy for students to research topics that interest them. “As questions pop up and they are inquiring about something, I’ll have them go to their iPads and look it up,” said fourth grade teacher Christi West. As an example, she said that on the day recently when an Alaskan earthquake was in the news, the students mentioned hearing about it, and the class then took time to explore that topic using the iPads. The tablets also provide an opportunity for fun, independent learning, she said. Middle school students are allowed to use interactive e-books if they finish their work early, and the fourth graders love to use a program called Storybird, which allows them to write and illustrate stories or poems. “They are also a great incentive for students to get their work finished on time,” said Souder.
When asked whether the devices cause any problems in the classroom, West said her students “are pretty good about staying on task while using the iPads. I download apps such as Newsela. They are to go specifically to these sites, and I can monitor them. If we are researching, then I am moving around the classroom and observing them.”
Students sign a user agreement at the beginning of the year, and teachers can also use software to block websites based on specific criteria. “A safety measure that I take is that I will say, ‘Hands up,’ and all students have to immediately put their hands in the air,” said Woody. “I then check to make sure that they are on task. If they navigate away before I get there, I just check the history. This keeps them from doing what they are not supposed to do, especially when the alternative is having to hand write every assignment when they are not able to access Google Classroom or other necessary sites.”
Providing every student with a tablet or laptop levels the playing field for students who don’t have access to technology at home. “There are several students that would not be able to do things technologically if not for this donation. Not everyone has the means to afford the technology and the internet,” said Woody. Souder echoed her colleague’s thought: “Several of my students do not have the ability to use technology at home and look forward to being on their iPad at school.”
West said that half of her fourth grade students do not have access to the internet at home. Not only has Lutie School’s 1:1 computer initiative enhanced learning in the classroom, but it has also expanded opportunities for all students.