Technology Grant: $75,000 will allow WN students to have own devices

March 21st, 2016

News Coverage:

March 21, 2016

Technology Grant: $75,000 will allow WN students to have own devices

Julie Crothers Beer | Goshen News

LIGONIER — With the help of a state grant, West Noble middle school students will soon begin to see the district’s one-to-one technology program trickling into their classrooms.

The Indiana Department of Education Wednesday announced that West Noble School Corp. had been selected from a pool of 84 applicants to receive a $75,000 Digital Learning grant.

Cassie Gebert, an eighth-grader at West Noble Middle School quickly clicked back and forth between the windows of her Chromebook while working on a project in Chad Wilson’s science class Friday morning.

Around her, several classmates listened to video instructions or read about their lesson online.

Gebert and her classmates currently have access to the Chromebooks during the school day, but so far haven’t had the opportunity to take the devices home after school.

With the help of state grant money, that will soon be possible, Superintendent Dennis VanDuyne said.

Grant funds can be used for professional development, developing content and expectations, creating opportunities for student and parent communication or purchasing devices, according to a news release from the department.

Under a one-to-one program, school corporations provide all students with their own laptop, netbook, tablet computer or other mobile-computing device.

West Noble school leaders began the process of supplying all high school students with Chromebooks at the beginning of the current school year and had hoped to extend the opportunity to middle school students next year, VanDuyne said.

So far, the implementation process has been a success with high school students and teachers who’ve said the added technology is “making all the difference,” according to VanDuyne.

“Before this, we had carts that teachers could sign up for and computer labs where students could go and work on projects, but this is really about having the technology available when we need it,” he said. “Students could take those devices home and some of our students had computers available at home and others didn’t. This levels the playing field.”

A plan to add devices at the middle school level was already in the works, but “this grant is certainly going to accelerate that,” VanDuyne said.

“Once we get through the eighth-grade class, this may allow us to go even farther in terms of the students we are able to supply devices to next year,” he said.

More than $1.5 million in grant funding was awarded to 21 Hoosier school corporations to implement or expand a one-to-one computing program, according to a news release from state Department of Education. The grants were funded by the David C. Ford Technology Fund.

“In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society, grants like this are more important than ever. Importantly, this grant provides schools with the resources they need to expand student access to technology in the classroom,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said in the release.

Other 2016 Digital Learning Grant recipients include Anderson Community School Corp., Attica Consolidated School Corp., DeKalb County Central United Schools, Elwood Community School Corp., Greater Clark Community Schools, Irvington Community School, Madison Consolidated Schools, MSD Washington Township Schools, New Albany Floyd County Schools, Northwestern School Corp., Randolph Southern School Corp., Rush County Schools, Shelby Eastern School Corp., South Central Community School Corp., South Putnam Community Schools, Vincennes Community School Corp., Washington Community Schools, West Washington School Corp., Whitko Community Schools and Whitley County Consolidated Schools.