Bayshore Elementary School teacher Liz Kinnear doesn't worry when she sees her students wearing earphones and using their iPod Touches during classtime. In fact, she gets excited about it. She knows that they are working on a research project, or learning about math and science concepts, or preparing a presentation to give in front of their class.
A classroom set of iPod Touch devices, made possible through a generous donation from Noltex through the La Porte Education Foundation, helps to enhance instruction in classrooms at the campus. According to principal Patricia Herrera-Johnson, Kinnear jumped at the opportunity to add the technology tool for learning and increasing student engagement in the areas of math and science.
The La Porte ISD Technology Department worked closely with the campus to download applications that help reinforce concepts such as number sense, pattern recognitions and problem solving and address numerous scientific topics. Although the focus is on math and science, a wide range of applications are available on any topic the students are studying.
"One of the benefits to iPods is that students are in control of their selections and areas of interest, and this type of technology is innately easy for students to work with," Kinnear said. She added that the students used the devices to complete research for their recent classroom projects, preventing the loss of instructional time waiting for a computer to be available.
Noltex representatives visited the classroom prior to the end of school, and Kinnear's students eagerly demonstrated to them their favorite learning applications. They also read letters of gratitude expressing their excitement over the new learning tool. One student showed his Power Point presentation that was researched and created using the iPod Touch.
"Noltex believes in giving back to the community. What better way than to contribute to the education of our children, as they are our future," said Noltex plant manager Randy Boeding. "How rewarding it was to watch the kids have so much fun while learning with theiPod Touch project!"
"Students use the technology as if they were born knowing it," Kinnear said. "The students have actually taught me about the technology and how to work with it. I am simply the facilitator, and the students teach each other with enthusiasm and excitement."
The La Porte Education Foundation initially donated two classroom sets of the iPod Touch devices to the district during the 2009-2010 school year after talking with elementary principals about their "wish lists" for their campuses. The devices were used at Jennie Reid and College Park elementary schools that year, and after seeing the success of the project at the two campuses, LPISD purchased an additional two sets for La Porte and Heritage elementary schools in 2010-11.
"The possibilities of integrating this technology are endless," Herrera-Johnson said. "We want to thank Noltex for supporting 21st century learning on campus as we continue to make learning relevant to the lives of our students."