EDUCATION APPS: Technology brings teaching to 21st century at Smith-Green

CHURUBUSCO — It is a 21st century, technology-laced world, even for 5-year-olds. For Smith-Green Community Schools (SGCS), the 2012-13 year has made a great leap into the future. The district was able to use money it obtained from Classroom Innovation Grants (CIG) to purchase Apple iPads for its kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms. Currently, there are seven iPads per classroom, but Churubusco Elementary School Principal Shellie Miller hopes to get more in the future.The grant for the district was valued at approximately $100,000. The majority was spent on the iPads, according to Miller. Another portion of the money was reserved for teachers to purchase apps for the classroom. As a stipulation of the grant, $25,000 also had to be used for professional development and teacher training.This is the second CIG that the district has received. The first grant was used by SGCS to purchase netbooks for students in grades fifth through 12. The district is already at a one-to-one ratio for netbooks with students at those grade levels. Miller said it was an honor to receive the second CIG. The 22 districts that received the first grant were invited to apply for a second one, and 14 of the 22 received one, including SGCS. Although CIG will not have more funds for the future, Miller said there are often other sources for money.One concern with this technology is that students might use the iPads for games and web-surfing as opposed to studies. Miller said steps have been taken to prevent this from occurring. The other big question for the district regarding the new technology and finances is how to fund the maintenance and other supplies for the students.She also added that students have taken excellent care of the iPads, and so far none have been broken. Down the road, the biggest responsibilities for the district will be purchasing apps and maintaining the technology.For a more in depth look at this story, see the Dec. 6 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.