Grant recipients Karen Pudil, second from the left, and Terry Whaley are recognized during the annual Darien District 61 Teachers’ Institute on Aug. 26 launching the new school year. Foundation board members Kris Sant, far left, Asma Akhras and Andrew Blumenfeld made the presentations.

Grant to expand use of iPads at Lace, Mark DeLay schools

Whether it’s the Internet, Smart Boards, tablet computers or other devices, technologies are leading to new advances in education. The Darien District 61 Educational Foundation is proud to be playing a critical role in expanding access to these tools in the classroom.

For the 2013-14 school year, the Foundation has awarded a $3,500 grant for Mark DeLay and Lace schools for the purchase of 10 iPad Mini’s—five for each school—and specialized apps for the schools’ resource rooms.

“There is no doubt that technology has changed the way children learn in the classroom,” say Karen Pudil, extended resource teacher at Mark DeLay School, and Terry Whaley, special education teacher at Lace School, in their grant application. “Technology has altered how students engage in learning activities, the format of the learning materials they use, how tasks are completed, and how they demonstrate what they know. The way we as educators design and deliver learning experiences, and what instructional materials we use to enhance student learning, also have changed.”

New technologies are especially attractive and effective for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. Use of iPads, which are already widely available in all District 61 schools, has proved highly successful because of the increasing number of apps available, including many designed specifically for students with learning challenges. The apps help strengthen reading, writing and math skills. And they’re not only educational, they’re fun!

Pudil and Whaley say the extra iPads are expected to help students make progress on their individualized education plans, as well as help schools adapt the curriculum to meet the new Common Core standards being implemented at all of the district’s schools.

To date, the Darien District 61 Educational Foundation has awarded nearly $20,000 in teacher grants and other assistance to students in the district’s schools. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help the Foundation continue its mission of providing supplemental funding for programs and initiatives to enhance the quality of education for students in Darien Public School District #61.