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Philadelphia Elementary School Students Treated to a New iPad Lab

Students at Philadelphia’s Stephen Decatur Elementary school will have access to a new iPad lab when they return to class in the fall. The school will also have video-based digital student portfolios, a student-run virtual help desk, interactive eBooks, and other new educational technology.

“I wanted to provide students with a cutting-edge technology bundle to build 21st century skills,” says principal Charles Connor, who is funding the initiative with a $10,000 Lindback Foundation Award he received in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the School District of Philadelphia. “The new program will also give Decatur kids an edge over their peers when it comes to applying to special high schools and also to college.”

The Academic Tech Pack company is providing the school’s new technology, as well as professional development and supporting curricula that meet state standards.

New educational technology programs being implemented in the school include:

  • An Apple iPad lab for all students, including the option to sign out iPads for work outside the classroom;
  • Digital portfolios for seventh grade students, including videos and written evidence of projects, presentations, interviews, and other student work;
  • Interactive eBooks created by students in grades 4 through 8, including text and multimedia-based research reports, book reviews, and other assignments;
  • A virtual help desk run by eighth-grade students, who will provide technical support and mentoring to other students and staff;
  • QR codes created by students in grades 4 through 8;
  • A professional video series created by Decatur students to inform prospective students and their parents about the school;
  • iPad video content about Philadelphia high schools to help students with the high school selection process and available options; and
  • Meet Your Teacher personal video introductions, scripted by staff, filmed by students, and published online, so students and their parents can get to know their teachers before the school year begins.

“Becoming 21st century learners is important and gaining access to opportunities is increasingly competitive for students these days,” says Connor. “I want to be sure Decatur students are very well prepared and, whenever possible, have a leg up on the competition.”

Stephen Decatur School is a public school in northeast Philadelphia that serves almost 800 students from kindergarten to grade 8.

More information about The Academic Tech Pack is available at the company’s site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].