In the last five years, the Quakertown Community School District has significantly boosted technology resources for students and teachers to positively impact classroom teaching and learning.
iPads are provided in every kindergarten and first-grade classroom. Grades 2-5 have an allocation of roughly 1:1 HP Chromebooks to students housed inside carts. Grades 6-12 are fully 1:1. Sixth Grade Center and Strayer students are provided an HP 11″ Chromebook, which is assigned to them to use both in school and at home. In grades 9-12, students are all provided an HP 14″ Chromebook, which is assigned to them in 9th grade and they keep through graduation.
Peach Draper, math and science instructional coach/interventionist at Pfaff Elementary School, said she’s used VR technology to have kindergarten students explore trees at a maple syrup farm; first graders explore the moon and stars; second-graders taken to a dairy farm and New York City; third graders to the French Alps, Roman Colosseum, and the Great Barrier Reef; fourth graders to Philadelphia and Gettysburg; and fifth graders to the moon and a variety of stars.
“They’re so excited about it,” she said. “It motivates them. They travel and see things you just can’t see in a textbook. They see people walking in a space station. It’s like going on an amazing field trip without leaving school. The kids want to go to other places and that leads to more research, more questions. I love the conversation and the excitement that it sparks.”
The technology resources work hand-in-hand with the district’s push to have each student prepared for college or a career after graduation. “The reality is businesses and universities expect students to use technology,” said Erika Studer, an English as a Second Language teacher.