Benjamin Friesen knows that educators have plenty of cool technology to work with. The West Junior High digital content specialist and other teachers regularly use Google apps and other tools.
But technology on its own doesn’t ensure better learning. That’s why Friesen is thankful for a $9,600 grant the Hopkins Education Foundation awarded him and fellow technology integration specialist Todd Roudabush. The grant will pay for about 70 teachers from five districts to come together and share their ideas about how to get the most out of the technology, the second part of a get-together called the “Apps Collaboration Hive.”
“It’s just primarily a good professional development experience for our staff so they can take that away,” Friesen said. “It’s less about the tools themselves than what we do with them.”
The grant is one of eight in the foundation’s $42,000 fall grant series that the foundation announced Wednesday.
The grants provide money for programs and technology that the school district wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. It also accelerates pilot programs and provides new technology for the classrooms, such as interactive white boards and iPads. The organization has awarded more than 350 grants worth about $2 million since 1995.
“It impacts my children. It impacts so many children within the school district,” said Jennifer St. Clair, one of the foundation’s board members. “I think it’s made us on the cutting edge for being innovative leaders.”
Fall 2012 Grants
STEM for Preschool
Harley Hopkins and Stepping Stone Pre-School—Karen Tadewald, Lucy Lyons, Coreen Hagon
All preschools will receive hands-on exploratory materials to help students discover and investigate STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math) concepts. These materials help preschoolers with concepts and vocabulary.
iPod Listening Centers
Meadowbrook—Anne Kelly, Teresa VanBatavia, Lesley Hendrickson
A large collection of books with audio CD’s will be funded to enhance the Daily 5 Literacy Program at Meadowbrook Elementary. These will be combined with thirty re-purposed iPods from NJH to enlarge classroom listening centers.
Responsive Classroom at XinXing Academy
“Responsive Classroom” materials used throughout Hopkins elementary schools will be translated into Chinese for XinXing Academy, Hopkins Chinese Immersion School. This program enhances social language and promotes a positive learning environment. Students learn Chinese vocabulary to navigate small group interaction and problem solving.
Technology Links to Language Learning
Tanglen—Carlos Connell-Torres, Alex Fisher, Lucy Perman
There are as many as 37 languages spoken in the homes of Tanglen students. In this partnership with Tanglen PTO, eight iPads will be provided for Tanglen’s English Language Learner (ELL) program to accelerate language learning. iPads offer students interactive, tactile learning of oral language, listening, reading and writing and have proven to be engaging teaching tools.
Expanding the Google Apps Collaboration Hive
Districtwide Grant—West Junior High Teachers Benjamin Friesen, Todd Roudabush
Hopkins district digital content specialists will provide a comprehensive training of engaging and creative ways to use Google apps to facilitate teacher collaboration and individualized student learning. Training will include Hopkins teachers as well as staff from Edina, White Bear, Blake, and Minnetonka. These teachers will become leaders to help train other teachers in digital content. HEF is proud to help teachers build a collaborative network and in turn help out students excel in 21st century learning.
¡Leamos! (Let’s Read)
North Junior High—Angie Endo, Erik Thompson, Janet Eckhoff
This one-time purchase of Spanish-language teen novels will build literacy and interest in reading. There are currently no Spanish books in North’s collection, but the school is home to the Juntos program, to English language learners with Spanish as their first language, to students with Spanish spoken at home, as well as to many Spanish Language students.
Let’s Talk! and Job Talk!
Hopkins High School, North Junior High, West Junior High—Kara Vipond, Carol Yancy, Rita DeWane
These two enriching curricula teach critical work- and life-related words and skills, including functional math and pre-vocational skills, using interactive white boards, real world situations, pictures and hands-on manipulatives. Engaged students proceed at their own individual pace until skills are fully learned, and then move on to more difficult concepts. The programs assess and keep track of students’ specific IEP objectives, and provide important transitional services for students with special needs.
Expanding Teen Literacy
Media Centers in Hopkins High School, North Junior High and West Junior High—Victoria Wilson, Angie Endo, Robin Price
Students in grades 7-12 will have 24/7 online access to 900 titles of popular fiction and nonfiction e-books. Reading for pleasure has been proven to increase comprehension and literacy, and this purchase of new titles for the media collection will have great appeal in our teens' digital world.