Five Alta View teachers recently were awarded Canyons School District Education Foundation Innovation grants to increase technology use in their classrooms.
The second-grade team, consisting of Tami Malan, Becki Little, Teresa Olpin, and Karen Trevino, were awarded a $10,000 grant toward the purchase of 30 Chromebooks earmarked for second-grade use.
“We have students use Google docs on the Chromebooks and they can share with me their work and I can give each of them comments,” Malan said. “We use them for our weekly math tests, Reflex math, to study Pearson vocabulary, RazKids for Spanish and English practice, and so many ways in our classroom.”
Currently, her classroom is using the Chromebooks to write expository paragraphs on the life cycle of a pumpkin, answering the question, “How do seeds know which way is up?”
Malan also has introduced Near-Pod, an application that is hooked from her computer to a video or PowerPoint presentation, where students can access questions and she can see individual learning.
In addition to this grant, Malan wrote and received a DonorsChoose grant for $200 so students can use headphones with their Chromebooks.
Fifth-grade teacher Libby McShinsky also received an Education Foundation Innovation grant worth more than $4,300 for iPads for her classroom.
“We’re using them to illustrate math story problems,” she said. “Last year on the SAGE (standardized) test, every problem was a story problem. So I thought if students can visualize the story problems, they would understand them better. Now, we get into pairs and figure out ways they can act out the story problems and use iMovie to make movies about them and share with the class. Not only will they understand the problems better by acting them out and watching one another’s movies, learning through repetition as they watch the movies again and again, they’re also practicing real-world skills.”
McShinsky, who also oversees the school’s tech club, said that these movie-making skills are something students will need to know how to do, not learn on the job.
“They should be second-hand to students. It used to take students a week to make a movie when we first got the iPads. Now, they can make them in a day-and-a-half. Some students even plan on entering their story problem movies into the Canyons School District film festival,” she said.
McShinsky also said that through the iPad grant, students have become more self-motivated to learn, and many students are inspired to do more through computer learning games, such as Reflex math.
“Math should be engaging. I have focused on making math and fun learning games go together, and through the storybook movies, students have learned how to make it clear to understand, and at the same time, a visual and a hands-on learning experience,” she said.