In an effort to provide a computer per student, two teachers at Dilworth Middle School in Sparks have launched a GoFundMe campaign to increase the technology available for education purposes. Kiana Kosturos and Jessica Eichstedt teach 7th and 8th grade students at Dilworth and believe that technology can help their students acquire the skills they need to be future leaders of society.
“A co-teacher and myself put together this GoFundMe to have a 1:1 ratio of computers to kids,” says Eichstedt. She added that more computers in the classroom would allow the teachers to implement more interactive lesson plans while giving students the opportunity to do research-based activities and get comfortable with basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word.
Although Dilworth Middle School has provides a few iPads, laptops, and desktops to students, they are only located in the library with limited access and there are not enough of them to go around.
“The current technology is not always available on a regular basis,” says Eichstedt. Since there is very limited and unreliable funding through the Washoe County School District, the teachers decided to take matters into their own hands by launching this GoFundMe. They are aiming to raise $12,000 which is the amount needed to meet that 1:1 ratio.
Along with learning and being able to apply 21st century skills like communicating in society and problem-solving, Eichstedt says that an example of a technology-based lesson plan is using Powerpoint- an effective method in allowing students to be more engaged in their learning process.
“Instead of students taking traditional notes in a lecture-based lesson, we want to use interactive Powerpoints where students can add in their own notes, click on links, do research, and be a part of the lesson as it’s happening,” Eichstedt says.
Dilworth Middle School is also a STEM Academy, which means that it joins science, technology, engineering, and math to equip students with the knowledge and practice needed to succeed in the real world. A big part of achieving Dilworth’s education goals is for the teachers to implement project-based assignments and let students work through problems and find solutions that can help improve the entire community.
“During the time that projects are due, there’s a lot of standardized testing that is also going on and the computers are constantly being used,” says Eichstedt. “With more computers, projects can be done all year long.” Recently, the students of Dilworth took on a project where they monitored the region’s water usage by talking to local community leaders, facilitating water conservation studies, and observing their own use.
“It’s really awesome to see what the kids come up with and what they do on their own,” says Eichstedt.
Dilworth is also labeled a Title 1 school, which means that federal funds are provided for at-risk students. Around 80 percent of the students at DIlworth qualify for free or reduced lunch. Since the school emphasizes 21st century skills and project based learning, Eichstedt believes that students must have consistent access to technology.
“We both want what is best for our students by making sure that we have the proper resources for them,” says Eichstedt. “Students don’t have technology readily available to them, so it would be great to give them more exposure. Our students’ opportunities are limited and it we can do anything to provide less obstacles, we would be setting them up for success in the future,” she adds.
To donate to the campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/dilworth-technology-in-classroom.