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$15,000 donation buys technological tools at Fountain Rock

Gift from school's PTA is paying for 40 iPod touches, one iPad, 10 high-definition flip cameras, and more

August 19, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

Imagine if a teacher could get immediate feedback from a class to determine if students had learned a concept that had just been taught.

At Fountain Rock Elementary School, that and more will be possible with some technological gadgets that will be used this school year, thanks to a $15,000 donation from the school's PTA, educators said this week.

The donation is paying for 40 iPod touches, one iPad, 10 high-definition flip cameras, five high-definition quality podcasting microphones, five InterwriteMobi pads, two sets of clickers, a MacBook and a security device for the iPods, according to Principal Mike Telemeco and Jill Burkhart, the school system's director for elementary education.

The items are above and beyond what the school system normally would provide, Burkhart said.

With the Board of Education's approval of the donation at Tuesday's meeting, school officials were allowed to unpack and start using the technological tools.

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The PTA donation stemmed from savings over many years, including money from several fundraisers with which students helped, according to former Fountain Rock PTA presidents Thelma Von Alt and Jeb Eckstine.

The PTA's donation will help every student in the school, Telemeco said.

The school, on Lappans Road near Downsville Pike, is expected to have at least 215 students in kindergarten to fifth grade this school year, he said.

The school will get enough clickers to serve two grades at a time, Telemeco said.

The clickers, which are designed to work with the other technology, are devices that students can press to signal their answers to the teacher.

One example of how the clickers could be used is for a teacher to project a paragraph on a screen. Then students could use the clickers to choose which multiple choice answer is the topic sentence of the paragraph, he said.

By using one of the InterwriteMobi pads, the teacher could determine immediately how many and which students got the answer right, Telemeco said. That way the teacher would find out quickly if the concept of topic sentences needed to be retaught.

Students who miss a lesson could use an iPod touch to catch up, Telemeco said. The teacher uses the microphone to record the class lecture onto an iPod touch and the student listens to it later, he said.

The technology also can make it easier for parents to assist students, Telemeco said.

Fourth-graders will learn the lattice multiplication technique, with which many adults are not familiar, Telemeco said. The teacher can talk to and draw the lesson on the InterwriteMobi pad. The lesson can be uploaded to the Internet as an MP4 file so parents can play it on an application such as Windows Media Player. That way, parents can learn the lattice concept and help their children, Telemeco said.

"That's the power of this kind of technology," Telemeco said.

Students could use the flip cameras for multimedia projects, he said. At this point, students' videos would not be published, he said. If the policy were to change, parent permission would be obtained before that was done, he wrote in an e-mail to The Herald-Mail.

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