Back in September, I posted a project on donorschoose.org asking for an iPad mini to help supplement learning in my pre-k classroom. I was hesitant at first because I believe there is a negative connotation to teachers asking for iPads on donorschoose. I didn’t want donors to think I was taking advantage of donorschoose and it was also an expensive project. I decided to post it anyway. When new technology is introduced, it’s always a luxury at first for those who can afford it. Eventually, they become a necessity because of how efficient and inexpensive they become as time changes. I’m quite sure when personal computers first made their way into the classrooms, many people saw it as something that is nice to have but not necessary. Fast forward to today, almost every classroom has at least one computer or has one accessible in the school. I strongly believe this will be the case for tablet computers. This was the justification for the need.
The iPad has great potential to supplement learning, especially for the pre-k level. Many apps are available to help children read, write, and learn math concepts. It’s hard to obtain and sustain the attention of this generation who’s so used to being visually stimulated by technology. I see it as a negative but it’s something that can’t be helped since children are exposed to it everywhere. Times are changing and the classroom has to adapt to help educate this generation of learners.
I’ve been very careful of what the kids use the iPad for since getting it. I make sure that they are using it to have books read to them, learn math concepts, and practice letter writing for those who are struggling with it. When they decide to stray away and try to find games, I redirect them or take it away.
Donorschoose.org has not only helped me get great materials and resources for my classroom, but it has also helped me reconnect with family and friends I have lost touch with over the years. I’ve posted for help on my facebook page, not knowing who would help donate. This year, two people surprisingly donated. One was a friend I used to play Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) with, an MMORPG. His online handle was Steveal. I’ve never met Steve in person, only friended him on facebook. We had stopped talking for a few years since we moved on and went separated ways since our DAoC days. He donated a generous amount to my Art of the Brick: Inspiring Creative Minds project. I was very surprised by this generous gesture and struck up a conversation with him via facebook to thank him. It had been a while since I spoke with him. Last time I interacted with Steve, we were very young, immature, and stubborn. When our interest in DAoC diminished, we lost touch. Donorschoose.org was a path that led us back to talking to each other again, helping us reminisce about the past and updating each other about what we were doing with our lives as we entered adulthood.
Another reconnection thanks to donorschoose was with my cousin, Annie. My brother and I were very close with Annie and her sister, Schern, when we were younger. At some point in our lives, we’d lost touch. The last time I had spoken with Annie was during my grandfather’s funeral in the mid 2000s. Even before that we really didn’t know what had been going on in each others’ lives. You could imagine my surprise when I saw that she had also donated a generous amount to the iLearn, iRead, iWrite on the iPad project. Annie had deactivated her facebook account a while back, so it must have been through Schern that she found out about my projects. I got her number from my brother and decided to thank her through text. As most people who have a conversation with someone who they haven’t spoken with in a while, we said that we should catch up sometime. A lot of those are usually insincere and are never followed through. But I was grateful for Annie’s help and set up a day to have lunch with her and her sister on Veteran’s day. We had a great time catching up and discussing what had been going on over the past few years. It really makes you appreciate family and friends. A big thanks to donorschoose.org for making an impact in my classroom and in my life.
Currently in my fifth year of teaching Pre-K at a early childhood elementary school.