Stokesdale councilman Frank Bruno (right) presented a check for $13,611.25 to Stokesdale Elementary School principal Amy Koonce on Jan. 16. The money was granted by council to help the school fund a mobile iPad lab.
By Thomas Lester
That computer time is limited isn't lost on students at Stokesdale Elementary School.
"We only have two computers in class and it would be nice to have another way so that we have less students waiting to go on the Internet to play educational games," said fifth grader Reece Gentry.
Thanks to Stokesdale Town Council, help is on the way. During council's December meeting, a budget amendment was approved, authorizing a grant of $13,611.25 for the purchase of 15 Apple iPad 2s to begin a mobile Ipad lab. Councilman Frank Bruno presented SES principal Amy Koonce with the money earlier this month, and the news has students dreaming big.
"I could use an iPad at school to use as a calculator. I could use an iPad to get a flash card app and use it to memorize math facts. I could watch YouTube for science," said second grade student Smith Brown.
Added fourth grader Lillian Wiener, "I would use it to take notes, research and use apps to study my multiplication and division facts. I could also download books to read in my free time or I could do any homework on there if the teachers let us."
Students aren't the only ones with bright eyes as they think of all the ways they can use the iPads.
"I am so excited to be able to incorporate into my therapy sessions new technology that has revolutionized the speech and language discipline," said speech language pathologist Randi Powell. "New apps are constantly being added so the options and possibilities are endless, and that makes my job even more interesting and enjoyable."
Exceptional children teacher Ashley Joyner said the use of technology could help facilitate learning in her classroom.
"Many of the programs that I currently use to target reading, math and writing skills are computer-based. These research-based intervention computer programs also have additional resources that can be accessed on the iPad," Joyner said. "Many of the students I serve benefit greatly through the use of technology as they struggle in various areas."
Fifth grade teacher Amanda McGee noted that technology will only become more prevalent in the classroom and in the students' lives, so it makes sense to get on board as soon as possible to improve the students' prospects moving forward.
"As teachers, we are expected to prepare our students and provide the technological skills they will need as they move through school and eventually into the workforce," McGee said. "The only way to do this is to provide them with access to the new technology."
In addition to the 15 iPad 2s, the grant will allow the school to purchase accessories, including a power sync cart, adaptors, a television, a MacBook Air, protection covers and more. The cart can hold up to 30 tablets, so members of council are soliciting donations from businesses in order to bridge the gap.
"I have approached several businesses to get them to donate $399 each to purchase an iPad and have gotten the Woodmen of the World Lodge 26 in Greensboro to donate the first $400," said Bruno. "We would like our local businesses to come up with $400 each if possible."
The iPad lab isn't the only technological advancement coming Stokesdale's way. Principal Amy Koonce said the school received a class set of laptops from Guilford County Schools as part of a technology upgrade.
The school has one computer lab now, and the laptops will make it possible to add two mobile labs.