The students and faculty of E.P. Todd School were roaring in celebration Monday when they were named an Apple Designated School for their innovative use of technology in the classroom.
“It means we’ve earned the honor and distinction of being a school that is using our Apple technology efficiently and to the best of our ability. We’re really excited for this opportunity,” said Megan Bush, the school’s technology integration specialist.
E.P. Todd is the second school in District 7 to be named an Apple Designated School, joining Jesse Boyd Elementary, which was honored three years ago and is renewing its designation next month, and approximately 500 other schools worldwide, according to Apple Education representatives.
To apply, the school had to submit a multimedia book that explained how E.P. Todd uses Apple technology to achieve its vision for its students and included interviews with teachers and students about how technology has helped them in the classroom.Bush said the school uses technology to allow the students a creative outlet and as a tool for teachers of all subjects, from using Google Maps in social studies to finding free fiction and nonfiction reading material for English Language Arts.
“If we teach them the basics now and that expands throughout high school, then they’re going to be ready for whatever job opportunity opens up to them, whether they go to a two year or four year or whether they go straight into the workforce,” Bush said. “Our goal is just to have well-prepared students.”
Bush said that E.P. Todd’s Montessori also uses the technology to enhance its interest-driven curriculum.
“Because Montessori is more interest-based, (the students) are constantly researching what they’re interested in and it’s great. Montessori sent me a plethora of pictures for our book because the kids are constantly collaborating,” Bush said. “It’s just expanded their idea of collaboration in the classroom.”
One of the students Bush interviewed for the application process was Ka’Marie Parker. Parker, a fourth-grader, said she enjoys making Powerpoint presentations for her classes. Her favorite use of technology in the classroom is a math program called DreamBox.
“We have different games to do,” Parker said of how the program works. “With DreamBox, it’s helped my grades go up a lot, and it also helped me with focusing in math because I used to not really like math, but now, I really love it.”
To qualify for the designation, schools have to have ubiquitous access to technology and a flexible learning environment, and the schools are judged based on how technology supports and enhances their vision, how technology is implemented in the classroom, and gains in student performance.
According to Apple Education representatives, the book that Bush created outlining the school’s implementation of technology in the classroom will be available for download in Apple Books, allowing schools and teachers worldwide to learn from E.P. Todd.
Beth Lancaster, chief communications officer for District 7 said the new designation of E.P. Todd School and the upcoming renewal of Jesse Boyd Elementary School’s designation in February further affirms District 7’s decision to transition all its schools to 1:1 technology, in the form of one Apple device in the hands of every child from second to 12th grade.
“We believe that their future and their ability to be innovative learners and to think in innovative ways about how they put technology to work not only within their school life but in their careers, starts right now,” Lancaster said. “To have all of our schools doing innovative things with technology and to have two of them do a prestigious, rigorous assessment in order to achieve this distinction really does set District 7 apart.”