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Hedgesville teacher wins $2,000 tech grant

September 01, 2013
  • Erin Sponaugle
Submitted photo

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Erin Sponaugle, a teacher at Tomahawk Intermediate School in Hedgesville, went back to school with a $2,000 ING Unsung Heroes grant.

For the past 17 years, the ING program has honored educators across the country who work to make a lifelong impact in the classroom for their students. 

One of the winning programs this year was submitted by Sponaugle, who lives in Martinsburg, W.Va.

By receiving the  award, Sponaugle is recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative educators. She is one of only 100 winners across the country who is receiving a $2,000 award to help fund “APPsolutely Connected to Another Culture,” her creative idea and bring it to life.

She will compete with other winners for one of the top three prizes — an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from ING U.S.

Sponaugle’s innovative teaching idea is designed to empower fifth-graders to learn about life in another country while reinforcing the nonfiction, vocabulary, writing and presentation standards in English language arts.

Students will use the Apple iPad mini to explore the culture and language of Germany and how life in the United States compares to life there. By using the Book Creator app, students will create books for their families and younger students in the school that include pictures of Germany and other aspects of their research findings. As a direct connection, they will communicate with a classroom in Germany via Skype using their iPad mini devices.

Additionally, through the Web tool Edmodo, students from both classrooms, in the United States and Germany, will be able to collaborate on projects and share information about culture throughout the year.

Engaging Apple’s iMovie app, students will create weekly segments of an “All About Germany” show that will be viewable online to all members of the community and school. The Apple GarageBand app will be used to record podcasts, and the Comic Life app will allow them to create comic strips using words and phrases they will learn in German.

Sponaugle hopes that by using technology, students will be motivated to explore the world beyond their small town.

For more information, go to http://ing.us.

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