By MARINA WATERS
Technology has changed the way educators teach their students. And now Ridgeview Elementary school teacher Hillary Lambert will be able to equip her kindergarten class with some changes as well.
Lambert is one of six teachers in Washington County to receive part of the $17, 927 QUEST grant. The grant offers funds for educational projects and items the school system might not have readily available.
After applying, Lambert was awarded $3, 242.10 for her project “Engaging Minds in Room 139” which involves hands-on learning tools such as iPads.
“Everything is going to technology,” Lambert said. “It’s a time that they’re growing up with the technology. That’s why I don’t like to give them worksheets because they’re not engaging. That’s why I wanted hands-on activities because they’re little and they get a sense of play while they’re learning.”
iPads with learning apps for kids such as Tiggly help teach students anything from words to shapes and will soon be implemented in the Ridgeview Elementary classroom. For Lambert, these new devices, however, are just another way to keep up with the world’s technological changes. This is a change that she’s seen first-hand as a teacher and also as a student who enjoyed a television and other technology that has been surpassed by today’s items like an iPad.
“I grew up in Washington County,” Lambert said. “They called that the 21st century classroom and that was the ‘it’ classroom that you wanted to be in and it’s just funny to see that. It’s crazy to see.”
Apart from keeping up with today’s technology, Lambert also thinks these iPads will keep students more engaged than some traditional methods.
“They grow up with it and they’re used to it,” Lambert explained. “So letting them have it in the classroom and experience it everyday— they just love it and they’re so engaged when they use it.”
However, these lesson plans won’t be centered around what these iPads offer; rather, the features on these devices will complement what Lambert plans to teach her students throughout the year.
“They have all different programs within them that I can align with what I’m teaching,” Lambert said. “As soon as I get my money and get all my stuff, they can get right to work.”
Before working on her application for the grant, Lambert said she was inspired by her realization that an upgrade was needed in her classroom.
“I have four computers in my classroom,” Lambert said. “Two of them randomly turn off so that was another reason why I really wanted to apply for it because my kids will be working on them and then the next thing you know, they have a random blue screen. So I was thinking they needed some reliable technology that they can use.”
Not only will her class receive these devices, but for Lambert, they are also receiving an opportunity they might not have received without the grant.
“I would never have been able to pay for it out of my own pocket,” Lambert said. “So it’s awesome that I got that.”