CT Elementary School Invests in Technology to Boost Reading

The D.C. Moore Elementary School in East Haven has invested in technology as a way to answer to the district's achievement gap by spending more than $120,000 on 220 iPads and software.

By using the equipment, the school is looking to help teachers identify struggling readers faster, use time previously spent calculating and reviewing reading assessments to work with students or adjust lesson plans, and offer kids another learning tool to use in the classroom, writes Susan Misur at the New Haven Register.

And now, with half of the school year over, educators can safely say that the district's wide-spread iPad use has had a considerable impact.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Erica Forti, said:

"They're really serving many purposes while transforming the environment of teaching and learning. And we can better communicate with parents about student growth and progress over time."

Forti believes that while the money could have been spent on new desktop computers, wireless and mobile technology was more beneficial.

"A teacher can grab one for assessments or grab five or take them all and use them in groups.

"I walked into a kindergarten class other day, and kids were sitting together using iPads, another group of kids was listening to stories with headphones, and another teacher was using one with kids."

Some teachers were hesitant to embrace the new technology, but now, after a few months most are thankful for the iPad's time-saving capabilities when it comes to the type of oral reading assessment. Teachers are also able to use the programs to share scores and data with parents and administrators.

Jim Mylen, vice president of sales for Wireless Generation, is confident the technology will help close the achievement gap.

"It shows what you can do as a teacher to address these children's reading needs immediately."

However, in terms of where the new technology can lead, school board chairman Tom Hennessey is keeping a "wait and see" attitude.

Hennessey said:

"I'm a results-oriented guy, so we've got to see increased student achievement and then I'll be excited…As a board, we're not the educators. We have professionals that work for us to do that and hopefully they're doing the right thing."

So far, D.C. Moore Principal Jackie Bacon is happy with how the technology is working out:

"I see this really moving forward.

"The possibilities can be endless."

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