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iPad Classrooms Could Be in Easton's Future

EASTON, Conn. – The shape of Easton classrooms could change dramatically if the Easton Learning Foundation raises enough money to buy two iPad classrooms.

To date the foundation has raised just $14,000, a far cry from the $45,000 needed to purchase two new mobile iPad classrooms for students at Helen Keller Middle School and Samuel Staples Elementary School . Which is why the foundation is reaching out to the community for help in making this digital teacher’s assistant a reality in Easton.

“We need to raise about $31,000 in order see this happen. This really is the future, and a lot of schools across the country are doing this,” said Bernadette Waterman, foundation president. Over the years, the foundation has raised money to help teachers and administrators create innovative programs that are not provided for in the regular school budget.

Waterman said the money would cover the cost of 50 iPads, two iPad rechargeable carts, apps and professional training for teachers on how to incorporate the program into the classroom. “This is a great tool for learning and for research. The kids are really going to stay engaged. We are living in such a digital world, and our kids know all about it,” Waterman said.

According to a letter to parents from principals Kimberly Fox Santora of Staples and Susan Kaplan of Helen Keller, the learning possibilities are limitless when an iPad is introduced to a classroom. Kids will learn new ways to express themselves and “compose music, animate a character, create a video and explore photography in a creative manner,” the principals wrote.

“The iPad’s most powerful feature is the ability for students and teachers to access, create and present content in a multimedia manner. A class set of iPads will allow the teachers to offer interactive, engaging applications to practice skills, create art/music/writing, take virtual tours, and introduce new content in a digital manner. This device will allow us to reinforce the foundations in literacy and numeracy and promote critical thinking in active, dynamic lessons,” the two administrators wrote.

Instead of reading about Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” students can watch video footage of the event or read about the civil rights movement, all at the tips of their fingers while remaining in a classroom setting.

Santora and Kaplan wrote that iPads in the classroom have led to “increased student engagement, increased student productivity, improved student performance and support of self-directed and personalized learning.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the iPad classroom initiative can do so on the foundation's website or by sending checks to The Easton Learning Foundation, P.O. Box 437, Easton, CT 06612.

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