WAMS wins $650,000 technology grant for students and teachers
For Woodland Acres Middle School (WAMS) eighth grade student Elba Duque, working on a wireless laptop computer will be a new experience.
“I’m really looking forward to learning to use a laptop computer,” Duque said.
Duque, her classmates and her teachers are participating in a Technology Immersion Piloting (TIP) Grant, which provided 478 wireless laptop computers to all of the sixth, seventh and eighth students and teachers at WAMS.
“We are thrill that our students have the opportunity to be exposed to this technology,” Orphalinda Bazan, principal, WAMS. “This will get the kids excited about learning.”
The Technology Immersion Piloting (TIP) Grant is designed to “immerse” the entire campus in learning technology. The primary goal is to increase achievement in the core areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
“Learning from a book can become boring,” Duque said. “The laptops will keep kids more interested, they’ll pay attention and be excited about doing homework.”
Online diagnostic assessment tools will pinpoint student strengths and weaknesses in various subject areas. Students will also be learning word processing skills, creating spreadsheets and developing proper email techniques.
According to Anita Givens, director of educational technology, Texas Education Agency (TEA), leading education technology experts at TEA developed the concept of technology immersion.
“ Texas schools are pioneering an entirely new concept in education technology. National and state educators will be following the progress of the students at Woodland Acres Middle School with great enthusiasm,” Givens said.
TEA is providing approximately $14 million in TIP grants to 22 middle schools in Texas this year. Teams of top technology and education companies in the United States competed earlier this spring for a chance to offer their products and services as a package that includes computer hardware and educational software to schools participating in TEA’s TIP grant program. Students and teachers at Woodland Acres Middle School will receive Dell Inspiron 1150 wireless laptop computers.
“There is a wealth of educational content online and available to students,” Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools, Galena Park ISD, said. “This grant will make learning more real and even more relevant for our students.”
Students will be able to take their laptop computers home at night and on weekends to assist with homework and research assignments. Parents are also encouraged to use the laptop computers as a source for information and to communicate with teachers.
Duque said her parents do not have a computer at home. “I’m planning to teach my parents some new computer skills.”
Seventh grade student Gilbert Salas explained that he and his mother share a computer at home. “There are a lot of times when my mom and I both need to use the computer, but now she can do her work on the computer and I can do my projects on the laptop.”
“This grant will allow our teachers to take their students to new heights,” Bazan said.
For students like Duque and Salas, the educational possibilities at Woodland Acres Middle School are endless.
LEARNING ABOUT LAPTOPS. Duque and Salas look forward to using the wireless laptop computers in their classrooms and at home.