UPDATE: Asst. Superintendent Thomas Van Soelen provides a few more details on how the iPod Touch will be used…
Last week, we had an exciting kick-off to our pilot using Title II-D funds. This grant, provided by the DOE, allows City Schools of Decatur to pilot a digital learning environment outlined as Goal #1 in our state-approved District Technology Plan 2009-2011. It is our goal to increase and upgrade digital tools in the 21st century classroom, including handheld equipment. City Schools of Decatur used the allotted funds to outfit one classroom with a class set of iPod Touches, an iPod syncing/charging station, and a document camera, as well as training classes provided by an instructor from the Kennesaw ETC.
The iPod Touch handheld devices have shown great promise in the classroom. From educational apps to the standard or graphing calculator, from Google Earth to iTunes U podcasting, from the new release of the integrated voice recorder to audio books applications, the iPod touch fits well with our Goal #1 in our District Technology Plan. This inaugural program, funded by Title II-D funds, will allow us to provide a cutting-edge digital environment for our students while we analyze its impact on student achievement and engagement.
The grant includes:
* iPod Touch- generation 3- class set of 27
Parasync Syncing/Docking station http://www.paratsolutions.com/parasync
* Elmo Document Camera to project teacher ipod for class
Two days Professional Learning (classroom, ESS, Gifted, or IST teachers, media/IT specialist, or instructional coach- up to 5 teachers total)
* Equipment for professional learning (classroom, ESS, Gifted, or IST teachers, media/IT specialist, or instructional coach- up to 5 teachers total)- 5 ipod touches for teachers
* $150 iTunes card for classroom teacher to purchase educational apps for the iPod Touches
At last night’s Decatur School Board meeting, the board approved a three-year lease agreement with Apple of 124 computers at the cost of $129,540, per the agenda.
However, in addition to 124 computers, which will be spread across the district based on enrollment levels, the DNO’s Jillian Wells reports on a new initiative to use iPod Touches in the school system.
This initiative will also allow student to use the handheld iPod Touch as an educational tool throughout the system. These currently popular devices can sync applications simultaneously so that they can be used for a multitude of activities, such as quick research.
Wilson adamantly supported the efforts to increase the availability of more advanced technology in the classroom, citing the iPod initiative as one means of doing just that. She said that encouraging the proper, honorable usage of the iPods and of electronic devices in general could cut down on cheating, while allowing students to use these devices for academic purposes.