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February 27, 2013

Oakland Elementary students get 38 iPads

By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer

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Oakland Elementary students get 38 iPads
A group of students from Ashley Whaley’s kindergarten class at Oakland Elementary in Royal Oak use new iPads as part of their daily curriculum. Through fundraising, the school recently got 38 iPads for the students, which amounts to about three per classroom.

ROYAL OAK — With technology becoming more and more a part of education, patrons of one local elementary school have helped bring about a technological upgrade.

The PTA, Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools and Oakland Elementary staff combined efforts for a technological investment of more than $15,000 at Oakland Elementary.

“Over the last year, the district has made a significant investment in the Oakland Elementary School building,” Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said in a release. “Working together, the PTA, the staff and the students are now making a significant investment in moving instruction and instructional technology forward. There is a lot of positive energy and excitement in the building.”

The most noteworthy portion of the investment is 38 iPads, which will provide about three tablet computers for each classroom at the school. Headphones and protective covers are also being purchased for each iPad.

“Through this initiative, Oakland Elementary will have iPads in every classroom, all day, every day,” Oakland Elementary Principal Gary van Staveren said in a release. “(The) iPads are a great learning tool. They do not replace instruction, but rather supplement instruction.”

Other technological improvements include an expanded wireless access system, ceiling-mounted projectors and Apple TV receivers for each classroom.

“Our teachers felt it important to be able to use the technology for student learning according to a schedule that works best for their students and classroom,” van Staveren said in a release.

The idea for the upgrades stemmed from an August presentation called “How iPads Can Influence Classroom Teaching,” where Oakland Elementary representatives visited Beacon Tree Elementary in Utica to check out Beacon Tree’s kindergarten iPad program. Other staff members attended an iPads in the Classroom conference in Livonia, and the two groups brought their new knowledge together for a professional development session with the rest of the Oakland Elementary staff.

Research suggests iPads are able to increase student engagement and raise student motivation while also matching the needs of individual students with individualized learning activities, van Staveren said. He added that the primary goal would be to focus the supplementation instruction on math and literacy first, and then expand throughout the curriculum.

“We are excited about the iPad program at Oakland Elementary School,” Lewis-Lakin said in a release. “Oakland Elementary is leading the way for the district.”

Lewis-Lakin noted that planning is under way to introduce iPads into the instruction at all elementary schools in Royal Oak, but a timetable for that is not set in stone.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Chris Jackett at cjackett@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1110.