On the heels of a curriculum instruction update at Thursday's Lincoln-Way Community High School Board of Education meeting, a team of instructional technologists passed out iPads. The board was asked a simple question: Who's you favorite mascot?
No, there was no time to review notes or discuss the matter from their seats in the board room at Lincoln-Way Central High School. The question demanded a rapid response, and they each obediently input their responses—Knight, Griffin, Phoenix or Warrior. Serving in the temporary role of teacher, the technology specialist stood before board members and spotted their individual responses in a matter of seconds.
The iPad for education is part of a trending wave among educators looking for new methods to improve instruction in the 21st century. The iPad for classroom use is a tool that provides the teacher instantaneous results. It tests the effectiveness of a lesson.
Board members agree that the nifty lightweight iPad, which is about the size of a notebook, could enhance the curriculum at the schools. For teachers, it's a great tool that lets them know if the lesson plan was clear; who understood the lesson and who didn't quite catch on.
The teacher can choose to highlight a specific response and forward that to fellow IPad users. At the same time, the tool allows the teacher to maintain the author's anonymity, which is crucial in a teacher-student relationship.
The board was not seeking to commit to the purchase of iPads at the moment; however, the instructional technologists made a case for an eventual purchase.
Drop in state funding is bound to make technology purchases tougher
The board listened to reports from the foundation committee chair along with the updates from Student Council representatives, and then took a few minutes to bemoan the ongoing loss of state funding. Superintendant Lawrence Wyllie told the board that last year the district received $9 million from the state to help operate the schools. This year, it will receive $2.3 million less. Continued cuts in state funding has the board sharpening its pencil to cut corners.
Bid accepted for revamped lighting system at LWC and LWE
As part of a process to keep the buildings updated, both LWC and LWE are needing a lighting system overhaul. Assistant Superintendent for Business Ronald Sawin reported that the florescent bulbs currently in use at the two buildings are out-dated and money sapping. Having sought bids to retrofit the lighting system, the board awarded the project to ACI, Inc. for $145,409. However, if the project is completed before the end of December, Sawin said, the district qualifies for a grant from the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The grant would be $77,000, which brings down the cost of retrofitting to $68,000.
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