Winston Churchill High school students are set to benefit from 10 new iPads, thanks to a $4,650 Best Buy School Tech grant.
The grant was handed out Wednesday morning, as Lindsey Baird, English Language Arts teacher at Churchill, accepted the grant along with principal Tracy Wong and a pair of students.
Baird, who teachers a Reading Café option for Grade 9s, said her students will benefit greatly from the grant.
Churchill is one of 15 Best Buy grant recipients. Overall, 265 school applied for the grant this year.
The funds will go towards an iPads station for the school.
“Our school has a great license with Sora, which allows students to check out eBooks and audio books,” said Baird. “However, many students do not download the app to their phones for various reasons. Having an iPad station in my classroom that is strictly intended for using Sora would allow students to explore reading in many different forms. Students would be able to sign up to use a specific iPad for the time frame of their book checkout, and either use it to read an eBook or listen to an audio book.”
The hope is the iPads will make it more convenient for students to read in class.
“Using an iPad allows for a greater screen size for reading, and also alleviates any anxiety students may feel about using their own phone’s battery life or data by accident while reading an eBook,” said Baird. “The iPads would also be accessible for any students in my other English classes.”
Using an iPad to pour over a novel has another advantage.
“Students who are reluctant readers would be able to access an audio version of the text to use as a support for their learning,” said Baird, who added the devices will also give students more access to multiple titles. “As well, many of the novels in my classroom library only have one copy. If there were students who wanted to pursue a book club style of studying, multiple copies of the book could be accessed at the same time. For many students, this access to new technology could ignite a love of reading or remind them of the positive benefits of being read to.”
The iPads will also benefit the Reading Café option class at Churchill, by giving students time to read books they choose to read.
“Unfortunately, many students feel overwhelmed with schoolwork to take time to read at home,” said Baird. “Many novel studies done in class are a class-wide read, so Reading Café encourages students to develop independent reading lives that will carry them into the future.”
While the iPads will assist students in exploring novels, the technology will have a variety of other potential uses.
“Students will not only be reading novels, but also developing the skills to talk about their favourite reads and to develop a community of readers within the building,” said Baird. “This course is very student-interest driven. Some students may feel more comfortable creating a reading journal for reflecting, while others may create a website to review their reads, and other projects in between.”
Baird added the iPads will simply allow Churchill to give students more opportunities to access literature.
“Outside of this specific course, my English courses would also benefit from being able to access eBooks and audio books. Like many schools, our learners are diverse and enter our classrooms at different levels of reading. Increasing access to books, in any form, benefits our English department immensely.”
Article copied from the District Website