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HR foundation funds iPad project

An innovative tech-teaching project is under way in Hood River County thanks to the Hood River County Education Foundation’s Innovative Teaching grant program, according to Paul Lindberg, executive director for the organization.

“We’ve launched an iPad pilot project and we are raising funds through individual donations and grants to buy 30 iPads,” said Lindberg.

The big idea behind the exploratory project is to help teachers create ways to use iPad technology in their classrooms. Two grants, from Boeing and Insitu, are already secured, with a focus on improving science, technology, engineering and math skill development through the new technology.

“We have $10,000 from Boeing to train teachers to use these iPads in their classrooms. Insitu has given us $3,000 to buy the first machines and we have an additional $5,000 from the Gary Anderson Children’s Foundation,” said Lindberg. “We still need $3,600 to buy nine more iPads, to get the program going.”

Thirty selected teachers — one teacher from every building and every grade level in the district and two from Special Education — will undergo a series of four trainings. They will each then submit ideas on how to use the 30 “traveling” iPads in short-term teaching projects over the next year.

Todd Hilstad and Penny Grotting are working with the district to develop the trainings and implementation down the road. Once bought before Christmas — get into teachers’ hands for trainings (already done) use iPad for rest of school year.

“The Foundation has had regular requests to help teachers purchase iPads. We are using this as a pilot project to figure out what the real of impact of donating one or two could be,” said Lindberg. “These teachers will figure out the opportunities, limitations and restrictions for their use in the classroom.

“Next spring those 30 teachers will apply to the foundation with proposals outlining how they will use those iPads with their students,” said Lindberg. “The goal is to move that set of 30 around as a traveling set (for student use).

“This grant project really is the result of one innovative teacher, Vickie Schmidt, who received a grant from the Foundation to use iPads in her ESL class,” said Lindberg. Schmidt taught fourth-grade summer school students ESL curriculum using no paper — just iPads, funded by the Foundation. At the end of the summer session, according to Lindberg, Schmidt’s students outperformed kids from all other traditional classes.

Lindberg noted that during their first iPad teacher training session, 45 additional teachers sought help beyond those enrolled in the grant project.

For more information contact Lindberg at HRCEF, 1009 Eugene St., Hood River; 541-387-5713; ed.foun-dation@hoodriver.k12.or.us.

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