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Mon July 1, 2013
11 Idaho Schools To Share $3 Million For Technology Pilot Projects
Idaho’s Department of Education has announced 11 schools will share $3 million for technology pilot projects.
Eighty-one schools applied for the grants. The requests totaled nearly $20 million.
Here are the schools that get the money and what they plan to do with it.
- Beutler Middle School, West Side School District: $138,718.74-Implement a one-to-one ratio of iPads.
- Compass Public Charter School: $180,000.00 - Use three computer labs and three classroom sets of iPads.
- Discovery Elementary School, Meridian Joint School District: $370,501.35 - Use a classroom rotational model of shared devices. The technology will also allow the school to be an outreach center for community education.
- Idaho Distance Education Academy: $67,754.60 - Expanding the schools instructional management system, piloting digital textbooks, providing students access to a digital library, and integrating hardware and video systems.
- Kuna Middle School, Kuna School District: $891,200.20 – One-to-one implementation of Google Chromebooks across the school.
- McCall-Donnelly High School, McCall-Donnelly School District: $150,000.00 - Every student will have access to iPad technology, a student-led iClub will work directly with teachers and other students.
- Middleton High School, Middleton School District: $427,878.32 - One-to-one laptop program with Lenovo ThinkPads, expand the school’s Career Information System, create a four-year website portfolio that articulates a student’s academic growth.
- Moscow Middle School, Moscow School District: $180,000.00 - Interactive whiteboards where instruction is digitally documented for future access through student-specific logins plus integrating formative assessments and clickers, among other technologies, to measure learning.
- Park Intermediate School, Weiser School District: $54,596.00 - Set up a Chromebook lab and a Mobile Android 4.0 lab.
- Parma Middle School, Parma School District: $83,567.59 - An interactive online curriculum, multi-touch interactive surface display tables, and training for all instructors in the inter-relationships of technology, instruction, and achievement.
- Sugar Salem High School, Sugar Salem School District: $454,783.20 - A one-to-one laptop initiative with HP 4440s notebook computers and a wireless network.
In a press release, Superintendent Tom Luna said the grants are a step forward to equal access for all Idaho students. “The demand for technology in our schools continues to grow," said Luna. "Through these grants, we will be able to meet the needs of just some. In the future, we will take what we learn from these pilots and expand our efforts so all students – not just those who are fortunate enough to attend these schools.”
The largest single grant goes to Kuna Middle School to implement one-to-one Google Chromebooks for all students. Last year, teachers at the school piloted a program to use Khan Academy in math class.
Khan Academy is a non-profit that uses online videos and interactive exercises to supplement traditional education. Seventh grade math teacher Shelby Harris had Chromebooks to use the Academy for one class. When we visited her classroom last April, Harris said she had initially been skeptical about Khan but soon became a convert.
“It shows me exactly how many problems they’ve done, how long it took to do each problem, whether they watched a video, whether they took the hints and what they’re answers were,” she says. “And even so much as if they change their answer four times I see all four answers and how long it was between each answer. Even their process, you know what I mean cause it’s not just about the answer I can actually watch their process.”
But Harris says Khan Academy isn't nearly as effective without the laptops. Next fall all of Harris’s students will be able to use one for class. However, she’s not sure how effective Khan Academy or one-to-one computers would be in subjects other than math. Kuna Middle School’s technology pilot grant from the state, specifies using the laptops to improve both math and writing.
The money for these technology pilots was part of a legislative squabble earlier this year over the state’s education spending plan. That disagreement extended the legislative session longer than expected. Some lawmakers complained that the technology pilot grants were intended to help one school, Paul Elementary. That school had implemented a one-to-one iPad program with some other impressive technology thanks to a temporary grant from a Utah ed-tech company. Other lawmakers had helped set the deal up including Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) head of the budget writing committee. But the small town school did not have money to keep the program going. Paul Elementary was conspicuously absent from Monday’s list.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio