SALT LAKE CITY — For teachers, getting the latest technology to help students advance their education is something to celebrate. This week, a group of Salt Lake City School District educators had lots of reason to cheer and shout.
Jackson Elementary, 750 W. 200 North, became just the second school in the state Friday to receive a grant from Apple Inc. as part of the nationwide ConnectED program. The approximately $500,000 award will allow Jackson to provide technology for every student and teacher at the school, including Apple hardware, software and services.
During the rollout event in the school gymnasium, representatives from Apple worked with teachers and staff to help them become familiar with the new hardware, which will include new laptops, tablets and Apple TVs in every classroom.
By providing students, teachers, and administrators with Apple technology, the school will be able to enrich its classroom experience and expand opportunities for its students, said Jackson Elementary Principal Jana Edward.
“This grant will have a tremendous impact on our students and our greater community," she said. “Our teachers have been working tirelessly for nearly two years to evolve their pedagogy and prepare for a new tool in their classrooms.”
Pedagogy is the art, science or profession of teaching, she explained. The grant also provides support from Apple for three years.
"This program gives our students new platforms to demonstrate and produce their learning," she said. Students at the dual immersion school will also have the benefit of becoming literate with Macs as well as PCs, which are already used in the school.
"We want our students to be "bilingual" in both of them, just as they are learning Spanish and English," she said. "We want them to be proficient in any technology that comes their way."
Students will receive their devices next month, but teachers were particularly excited about beginning their training right away.
"It's going to bring the faculty closer together," said special education teacher Natalie Delphenich. "We'll be able to share our ideas and knowledge to (figure out) what's working."
Other educators agreed that having access to the latest technology will help greatly enhance the learning experience for everyone.
"It's going to individualize (the students') learning, to motivate them to experiment and learn on their own," said third grade teacher Yadira Burgoyn. "Rather than having us give them all the information, they get to dissect every little math (problem), language arts, reading and writing."
She added that the program will give students many more ways to produce the information as well.
"Rather than just writing a paper, they can do a video and show it to the class," Burgoyn explained. "They can interview a fellow student using technology and practice their language fluency."
Being able to record themselves speaking both of their immersion languages, then play it back immediately, she said, will help accelerate the students' language proficiency.
Edward said this kind of partnership program could become a key component of the education process in the years ahead, particularly as districts struggle financially.
"It's essential to find business partnerships to work with," she said. "In a state that has not funded education to the degree it needs to be funded, it behooves educational leaders to go out and find the resources."