Apple grant brings new technology into local classrooms

YUMA, Ariz. – A promise President Obama made nearly two years ago is finally becoming a reality in the Desert Southwest. In 2013, President Obama announced the launch of ConnectED, which aims to enhance the school experience for students nationwide. Apple is one of the companies supporting the initiative by providing grants to 114 schools across the nation. Thirteen of those are right here in Yuma and Imperial Counties. Crane school district is home to 8 of the chosen schools and will allow every single student and teacher to be assigned an iPad.

Crane ConnectED Project Manager Trina Siegfried explained, “We received a letter that invited eight of our schools to apply for a grant through Apple ConnectED. We found out in November we had been selected to receive the grant.”

She says the grant will also allow every teacher to have a MacBook, each classroom with an Apple TV, and a new projector. School officials hope to allow students to take their devices out of the classroom starting the next school year, leaving some parents to ask what happens if their child causes any damage.

“Fortunately, Apple is providing us with apple care plus, which will allow those devices to be repaired and replaced during the grant’s three year period,” Siegfried said.

Kids at Gowan Science Academy actually use iPads that were donated to the school. Holly Karr became a fifth grade teacher for the academy this school year. She described her experience with the technology in her classroom.

“It’s huge for us here. They’re engagement is remarkable,” Karr added. “They want to learn, and they want to be using these devices.”

Her students currently share iPads in the classroom. We asked the teacher if these devices appear to be distracting.

“If we do have a student who has a problem, they lose that technology, and they see what a difference it makes in their education when they have to watch and they can’t hold,” Karr said.

The selected schools should receive apple’s upgrades this spring. Every child who receives an iPad must register to have an Apple ID. The project manager says children under 13 must have a parent sign them up. Parents can opt their child out of getting the device if they so choose.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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