Our organization’s mission is Partnering to Help all Kids Learn and we take this very seriously as do our many valuable employees. This mission led to action when our National Accounts team was made aware of a request at DonorsChoose.org from Mrs. Tomlin, a librarian in a high-poverty school district in Georgia, who was looking for some tablets to help her students’ better access material online. Her request – Tablets For Literacy – Fun in the Library – moved our team to donate to her cause, helping her 775 K-8 students achieve their academic goals. As Mrs. Tomlin states:
I serve as the librarian to 775 students in grades K-8 in a charter school. Our funding is low so I raise my own monies for resources. I currently have 2 old and outdated laptops for library usage. I need my students to have access to the web and digital sources for literacy and research work.
After our team’s donation, Mrs. Tomlin wrote a wonderful thank you letter that we wanted to share with our blog audience:
Dear NWEA National Accounts Team,
I am writing to thank you all for the generous contributions to fund the WIA Library’s tablet project. The moment we received the tablets we saw an obvious positive effect in the library. This is the first time we had enough pieces of technology to have five small groups work on technology at once. This greatly improved our ability to have our fifth graders work on the research piece of their Exhibition project. Instead of having students wait in line to share two laptops or sending them to different classrooms to use technology they could all work at the same time in the same space where I was available to help.
With the students in grades two through four we began a new task in the library called “Inquiry Investigator”. This helps us to be able to complete our planned lesson and still follow the students’ natural inquiries which is a large component of the IB model. I assign three students to use the tablets and be the researchers to find the answers to their classmates’ inquiries based on my lesson. This allows me to continue with the lesson while the “Inquiry Investigators” research the answers. It also enables students to work on their technology research skills. I find that many students have taken it a step further and look up images that relate to the story at hand and they are able to bring more of an understanding to many of our topics.
The tablets have also helped during indoor recess. During pollen season there are many students that spend recess in the library. I have been allowing students to research, take AR tests, watch short educational videos and occasionally play games on the tablets during their recess time. They love that they are portable so they can use them at a table, in the floor or on the bean bag chair. The tablets are so easy to use and familiar to students that even my kindergarten can use them during recess without my help. It is so nice to have easy accessible technology in the library and to see the kids using it well. The students seem to enjoy using tablets more than desk tops and laptops. We will continue to find engaging and innovative ways to incorporate the tablets into our library classes in the future.
Many heartfelt thanks-
Library Media Specialist
Wesley International Academy
For everyone else that donated to Mrs. Tomlin’s cause, thank you! You can see more comments and pictures of her students and their tablets at the DonorsChoose.org campaign site.