Not many elementary students can boast they have iPads but thanks to one generous donor the entire first grade and second grade class at Bear Creek Elementary School does and soon all students in the county will have them.
It started last year when Dave Neumann, CEO of Neumann Systems Group, wanted to outfit iPads for the entire first grade class. With a $30,000 donation Bear Creek received 30 iPads, one for each of the four first grade teachers and the remainder 26 they divided up. Students take turns using them. The four teachers also received a SMARTboard for their classroom.
Dave Myers, vice-president of infrastructure for Neumann Systems Group and father of a student at Bear Creek, upgraded the school's WIFI infrastructure. First grade students began using the iPads in January. Since the new school year has started students have been using them daily and second graders just received theirs.
The iPads offer different learning activities through word family games, reading games and math.
“It keeps their attention. The games are very engaging and it meets all levels,” teacher Jennifer Hunt, recipient of the iPads during last year's pilot program, said. “Each child chooses a game that will help them learn.”
“It's very fun. It helps you learn math, spell words and writing,” first grader Jack Markowitz said.
Hunt said the teachers are very grateful to have the technology to use and the hope is for the other grade levels to eventually have it as well.
And that may occur in the distant future.
“We started a nonprofit education foundation and we're expanding to provide iPads to every first grade in the county,” Myers said.
In fact the goal of the Neumann Education Foundation is to provide iPads, SMARTboards to every elementary school classroom in El Paso County over the next five years.
Patrick Davis, Ceo and president of the foundation, said the goal for the foundation is to provide one grade level, at five different schools in the county, with iPads this school year. Davis said they just recently provided iPads to the second grade class at Bear Creek and to the first grade class at Bates Elementary in School District 11. They also plan to give iPads to students at Peyton Elementary School in Peyton, Monterey Elementary School in Harrison School District 2 and Odyssey Elementary School in Falcon School District 49.
Davis said the program will expand next year to every first grade class in the county. It will then expand to every second grade class the following year. Each year a different grade level will receive the iPads.
Supplying the iPads will cost approximately $3 million a year. The foundation is partnering with the El Paso County business community to join resources in order to equip all elementary students and teachers with technology designed for kids to be ready to achieve success in life.
The schools are using approved education applications.
“The program has been well received by educators and the business community,” Davis said.
For more information on the program or how to get involved call Davis at 719-536-9809 or visit www.neueducation.org.