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Two Local Elementary Schools Get High Tech Upgrades

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Kids are becoming tech savvy at younger ages each year, but two Putnam City elementary schools are using that to their advantage. iPads are now an integral part of their classrooms, thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust.

This new technology is teaching kids coding, robotics and even video production. Students at Western Oaks and James L. Dennis Elementary Schools are now learning career skills once reserved for college level training.

“The school doesn’t look like it did when I was in grade school,” comments OETT chairman Bob Stafford.

These are just two of the 20 schools from around the state selected in the latest round of OETT grants. Each are using the money in different ways, but all are transforming their curriculum to adapt to today's student.

“It energizes them,” says Randy Utt, who teaches Gifted and Talented courses at Dennis. “They’re enthusiastic about learning. It’s hands-on. It’s what they know.”

At Dennis, one math class has gotten rid of traditional textbooks altogether. The school now has a one-to-one ratio of iPads to kids.

At Western Oaks, students have installed a green screen and now use the iPads to produce their own video morning announcements.

“It’s something that I haven’t done before,” says fourth grade student Keinan Munson.

The experience is giving them an eye into career fields that are still more than a decade away.

Fifth grade student Meranda Wilson says, “Maybe when we grow up, we may be the people who actually do this kind of stuff in real life.”

The grant also provides funding to train teachers on the technology, techniques and the best apps to use.

“We’ve learned that the success of the school is determined by the leadership,” Stafford says.

In an era of budget hardships, this lifeline is helping educators breathe a little bit easier.

“We don’t stop what we’re doing just because we don’t have the money,” Utt says. “We find other avenues, and this grant has helped us find another avenue to enrich and enhance what we’re doing with kids.”

OETT grants are available to public schools in Oklahoma. To find out how to apply, click here.

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