Creating QR codes that link to multimedia presentations, turning in book reports as iBooks and watching video lectures from home may be the new norm for some students in Hamilton County.
Thanks to funding from the Benwood Foundation and the Chattanooga Rotary Club along with administrative support from the Public Education Foundation, one classroom each at Woodmore, Orchard Knob, Calvin Donaldson and Red Bank Elementary schools; East Lake and Red Bank Middle schools; and Red Bank and Howard High schools will return from fall break fully equipped with iPads for each student.
"It's more than just putting technology in the hands of kids; it's about transforming how teachers teach and how the students learn," said PEF Vice President of External Affairs Christa Payne. "It's about student-led learning and showing students how to go out and access information."
Ashley Frogg, a fourth-grade teacher at Woodmore Elementary, is already preparing her students for their iPads with the types of possible projects they'll be doing once they have their own tablet for at-school use.
Outside her classroom she's displayed art her students created that showcases images of Antarctica. A QR code is part of the visual presentation that links to her students reading a report they've written about the continent. She attended a special training in Arizona last month to learn more about incorporating iPads into the classroom, which has helped expand her ideas of what's possible once the iPads arrive at the school.
"The opportunity is there for them to take more charge of their learning," she said, noting that many of her students don't have Internet access or tablets at home. "It's all about them choosing how they want to demonstrate the knowledge that they've learned."
Those opportunities for students to take charge of their learning and create unique presentations is exactly what PEF, Benwood and the Rotary Club are hoping to foster with this program, Payne said.
"It's not just a digital version of a worksheet, it's a focus on critical thinking and is a way to get kids ready for the jobs of the future," she said.
For more information about the initiative, contact PEF at 265-9403.