Walls Elementary School seeks $10,000 grant for technology

Theresa Edwards

Walls Elementary School is looking for about $10,000 in grant money to purchase new technologies for its classrooms.

Principal Sandra Goodrich said the money would be for six classroom sets of an audience response system known as Qwizdom. The device is similar to the clickers Kent State freshmen are required purchase.

The units cost approximately $2,000 to $3,000 for a classroom set. Each grade level would have its own set.

She said the school has a team of teachers who find grants to which they apply and write the grant application.

Goodrich said the school is continually looking for new technologies to use in the classroom.

Last year, Walls Elementary started using Mimio projectors, a device that converts a standard dry-erase board into an interactive system, Goodrich said. The school is still working to get Mimio projectors for all of its teachers.

Shawn Jones, a fifth grade teacher at Walls Elementary, types the notes for his classes on his laptop instead of writing them on the board. He likes this because students do not have to struggle to read his handwriting, he said.

The notes project on the board through the Mimio projector, which he can write on with a special stylus before printing them for students who have difficulties.

In one class, 15 students were learning the difference between compound sentences and simple sentences. About four students regularly participated.

Then Jones brought out the wireless component to the Mimio – a digital pad that, when written on, projects the writing onto transparencies already displayed on the board.

Nine of the 15 students now wanted to participate. When it was a new student’s turn, he or she got the pad at their seat. Some students had difficulty writing on the board with the pad – they made lopsided circles around conjunctions in the sentences, and students laughed when an S turned out too big or sideways.

“Don’t be afraid to push on the pad,” Jones said. “Don’t worry about it taking time right now; you’ll get used to it.”

The students have only used the device a couple times so far, he said.

Jones used the Mimio’s tools to cover the answer key on the screen. When he touched the arrow to open the answer key and the cover slid down the screen, one of the students got excited.

“That’s pretty cool!” said a student from the class.

Jones said the technology is exciting and fresh because it is new, but he hopes the students continue to enjoy interacting with it. He said students tend to participate more because they are excited about getting to use a new piece of technology.

Walls Elementary School has about $9,000 per academic year in the school’s budget to spend on technology, Goodrich said.

Jones is one of the teachers on the technology committee who makes sure teachers have the technology they need. He said teachers usually ask for a new flash drive or a laptop to be able to function more efficiently, and most times, they can provide those things for them.

Sometimes, however, there is not enough money in the budget to cover what the school needs, and that is why finding a grant is necessary.

In the past, Goodrich said the school applied for and received grants that paid for wall-mounted projectors in the classrooms. These present the information electronically versus using an overhead.

Goodrich said she feels the district is committed to having up-to-date technology and knowing about the newest technology available that could be useful for the schools.

“We don’t want to buy it just because everyone has it,” she said. However, “When we are spending our money, we want the best product that’s out there.”

Contact public affairs reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].