3M Donates iPads to BISD First Graders
Article by: Sara Musgrove
“When I think of each student, I think of the words perseverance, overcoming, and resilience,” Woodland Heights Elementary School Teacher Leah Lee said. “As I am learning how to explain using programs on various devices, my students and parents are doing all they can to continue the journey of learning.”
Lee currently teaches remote learning for first-grade and has taken on the role of instructing elementary students in webinar etiquette, how to navigate technology, and how to productively engage in an online learning environment. While distance learning has proven a challenging task in itself, her students have struggled with simply owning technological devices which lent to successful online education. “In early September, I created a project through Donors Choose called ‘iPad Intellect’,” Lee said. “My project requested funding for ten iPads to be used in remote learning, to make virtual learning easier for my first-grade students. My smaller students are not able to maneuver a mouse as easily as they can a touch screen. Typing is also a skill not quite mastered by most first-graders. By using an iPad, the student can write/paint answers onto many lessons.”
BISD students have become accustomed to using iPads in classrooms, so while Lee noticed the need for familiarity for her students, she also found a method to incorporate efficient tools for the motor skills her students could fully utilize. Donors Choose is an online funding site which aids teachers, and their connections came through.
In early October, Lee received an email stating that the 3M Company had fully funded the project, and ten iPads were on their way to her classroom. With the nearly $4,000 donation, 3M met a need in a generous contribution. “With the gift of iPads, students will have easy, manageable access to me, and learning,” Lee said. “Every year one goal for my students is to gain independence. I want to equip them with the ability to work and be successful on their own. Even though the learning setting is different, I still want my class to learn how to do things without assistance. I felt like iPads would be the best option for this. Using Zoom, my students have learned to join meetings on their own, utilize the microphone, camera, response emoticons, and screen annotations.”
3M’s donation has allowed these students to move forward in their education, relieving some of the burden that has been felt due to the impact of Covid-19. The iPads arrived on October 13, 2020, bringing with them opportunity, encouragement, and the reminder that there is still a lot of good in the world. With the generous support of community partners, these BISD students will continue to thrive in their learning environments. “Our slogan for class is, ‘Today is a great day to learn something new!’” Lee said. “I can’t imagine a more suitable motto.”
Above: Woodland Heights Elementary teacher, Lea Lee, stands next to the new iPads donated by 3M.