Students at Donald Elementary School in Flower Mound will use iPads in their classrooms this year as part of a pilot program.
Donald Elementary School Principal Michelle Wooten said that she has been working for the past three years to get the technology into her school.
Within seconds of meeting Wooten and asking about the pilot program, she quickly grabbed her keys and started to head out of her office. With a huge smile across her face she excitedly asked, “Want to go see it?”
Wooten said that she purposely saved money and decreased expenses for the past three years to provide the technology.
“If I wanted to participate in staff development for myself, I paid for it out of my own pocket. We cut expenses and saved our money,” she said.
After much brainstorming, saving and some financial help from the school’s PTA, Wooten compiled a proposal to present to the LISD Technology Department to obtain the iPads.
“If the Technology Department was going to give us the iPads, we had to create the environment,” said Wooten. “So we asked the students what they wanted to see.”
After surveying the entire student body, Wooten came up with a plan to have two classrooms turned into iPad labs, 25 iPads in each lab. One lab for kindergarten through second grade and another lab for third through fifth grade. From the color of paint on the walls to the comfortable and modern furniture, students had a say as in what it would look like.
“I believe environment plays a huge role in the way students learn,” said Wooten. “And these labs are theirs and they know it.”
In addition to the two labs, an underutilized and empty space in the school’s library was transformed to represent a fishbowl. Again, Wooten surveyed the students to see what they would like to see the space look like.
Donald Elementary Art Teacher Leslie McReynolds was recruited to paint a mural of a fishbowl on the walls. Student artwork representing marine life hangs on the walls to create a calm and special environment.
So what does Donald plan to do with the iPads?
“This is another tool for our teachers to use to engage our students,” said Wooten. “Technology can only enhance the good instruction and our great teachers we have at Donald, and it will provide another way to engage our students.”
For example, the school plans to download an application that will help aid the students in learning about the human circulatory system.
Donald’s iPad pilot program directly correlates LISD’s strategic design’s first and second goals. The portability of the iPads supports LISD’s goals of a flexible learning environment. The applications and tools in iPads encourage students to collaborate with each other and students across the globe.