Revolutionizing Education

Feb 29th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Education

Fifth grade students of Beebe Middle School were astonished as they explored planets and variations of the sun as never before through the classroom reveal of an iPad2 station on February 24.  Beebe Middle School Principal, Rhonda Smith, set forth to find a meaningful and lasting use of funds from a parent cookie dough fundraiser that brought more than $7,500 available to fund a project for the children.  Ms. Smith enlisted the aid of Mr. Jesse Davis, who was working on behalf of the school district through funding provided by a technology grant for professional development.  The idea of using iPad2 tablets as a teaching tool in the classroom quickly emerged.     With already a handful of iPads available the team was eager to see four or five students in a class surrounding each device and taking turns with its promising learning tools.  Mr. Davis researched an iPad station that allows all of the iPad tablets to sync at once.  The fundraiser provided enough funds to purchase the station along with 10 iPad2 tablets thus increasing the number of devices that could be used in the classroom from five to fifteen.

This concept of teaching and learning using the iPad2 tablets was presented by Ms. Smith at a regularly scheduled parent meeting in December in which the question was raised by one mother as to how many more devices were needed so that each child in a classroom would be able to single-handedly use an iPad2 tablet.  Shortly after that December meeting, Ms. Smith was presented with a donation for purchasing thirteen additional iPad2 tablets so that each child in the classroom would be able to have hands-on learning experience with the technologically advanced device.

The children and staff of Beebe Middle School would like to give a very special thank you and recognition to Mr. and Mrs. Kelton Keathley of Beebe and their daughter, LuLynn Keathley Richards, for the generous donation to acquire an additional thirteen iPad2 tablets.  Mr. Keathley admits that he is of a technologically challenged generation but through his career has seen technology advance and transform the way things are done and he embraces these changes.  It is his desire for these young children to have the tools necessary to compete in the vastly advancing world of technology.  “We are living in their generation,” Ms. Smith states of the youngsters.  “And I am thankful to have such a wonderful tech-savvy staff at Beebe Middle School who embraces the ever-changing environment of technology.”  In order for the installation of the new iPad station and tablets to be incorporated, the current wireless system had to be updated.

This upgrade process was administered and delivered by the school district.  Now each wireless device can support up to 100 users per device as opposed to the average of 25 users the former system supported, making Beebe Middle School a very technologically advanced environment.  When asked what the students thought about the use of the iPad2 learning technique, Sierra Strickland said, “It is a new strategy of learning and we are special to be one of a few schools to be using it.”

Riley Swafford commented learning about the sun as “seeing it in action, not looking at a PowerPoint and writing notes down.”  Eli Cranford said, “Using the iPad2 was a step into the future.”  Braden Healy and Zach Carter both concurred “that it will be a great learning technique and more fun than paper.”  Though traditional lectures will continue to dominate classrooms for the foreseeable future, the iPad2 station will facilitate exploratory learning.  Technology is education in itself.  These tech-happy students at Beebe Middle School will be eager to explore new ways of using the iPad2 tablets and sharing their discoveries with the world.