KSU alumnus organizes iPad Mini fundraiser for local third grade students

Megan Corder

Third grade students at Worley Elementary in Canton, Ohio, may soon be digitally connected thanks to their teacher Jonathan Shaw, a Kent State alumnus.

Shaw, a 2008 graduate, organized a fundraiser to get iPad Minis for students to enhance their learning in the classroom.

“I kind of see education as it is moving to technology more and more,” Shaw said. “I wanted to give technology into my students’ hands that they could work with every day in the classroom.”

More than $3,000 has been donated to the cause, and Shaw said he hopes to reach $5,000 through the fundraiser. Some of the money was donated by the students in his class.

“We have different levels of donations that you can choose however much you want to or can donate,” Shaw said. “We made all handmade thank you cards and then we are making origami gifts as symbols or representations of different things from our classroom.”

Shaw said he chose iPad Minis because they are easier for children to use and they aren’t tied down to a single location in the classroom. He said the new tools would give students access to applications that promote individualized learning. One of these applications is called “Sum Dog,” which is a math program for elementary school students.

“It creates games that the students play and you have to solve the math problems and get points,” Shaw said. “We have taken math and turned it into games and competitions. And really what it is doing is reinforcing basic math skills. But it makes it really fun for the students.”

Shaw uses the application to encourage students to learn the material outside of the classroom. Shaw said he encourages students to meet with each other online outside of class to play the games.

Aside from his third grade class, Shaw said he has been working with Anne Morrison, associate professor in the department of lifespan development and education services, and her relational learning course at Kent State. Morrison said that her class traditionally worked with Shaw by traveling to the schools and working with the third-grade students, but travel time has made it difficult.

“There is such a narrow window of time that they could fit us in,” Morrison said. “This is a way that we can be useful on their time and cut two hours of driving time from our students as well.”

Shaw and Morrison said that they will use applications like FaceTime to have the Kent State and Worley students interact in virtual learning.

“If we got this technology in the classroom, could we develop virtual meeting spaces online where my students and her students, the student teachers at Kent State, they could meet and interact in meaningful ways for projects or tutoring,” Shaw said.

Shaw and Morrison said they encourage the entire Kent State community to donate to the fund to promote learning among the Worley elementary school students.

Contact Megan Corder at [email protected] .