A $24,000 Google-powered Classroom Grant is transforming the way more than 150 Douglas County School System students learn and communicate. These classroom grants are enabling and empowering students to overcome barriers to classroom communication.
With a grant made possible by the Tides Foundation and Google Data Centers Grant Fund, iPads and mini iPads are now in the hands of several deserving Douglas County students. These electronic learning tools have been enhanced by the addition of several communication apps, making it possible for these students to get an edge on classroom learning.
For students Faith, Angel and Jacob, the handheld electronic powerhouse has been a communications lifeline. Faith’s Bluetooth enabled iPad with a keyboard allows her to keep up with class notetaking and share her work with friends. For Angel and Jacob, an iPad driven by assistive technology will enable them to communicate with each other and those around them.
The Google-powered classroom grant is designed to enhance the communication skills of students who are non-verbal, functionally non-verbal, have a very limited vocabulary or have difficulty producing speech. This Assistive Technology helps students who may otherwise experience communications challenges.
Speech Language Pathologist Stephon Colbert explains: “This grant has transformed their educational experience. For the first time, these students can overcome many frustrating events and communication breakdowns that may have occurred without the presence of assistive technology. This grant has been an invaluable tool in giving those with communication needs an effective mode of communication and access to many essential interactions both academically and socially. This educational enhancement is allowing them to express themselves and interact with peers and educators in ways like never before. “
Research shows that Assistive Technology supports learning and can increase a child’s self-reliance and sense of independence. It also has other benefits, as Colbert explains: “Assistive Technology also provides more opportunities for our students true potential to show–and their unique personalities to shine. Assistive technology has proven to be undeniably beneficial, not only for students but for those who are fortunate enough to interact with them.”
This grant is a continuing partnership between and Google and the Douglas County School System. Funding was used primarily for iPads, mini-iPads, but also included warranties, durable cases, mounts and the communication software.
Lynn Murray, Executive Director of the Douglas County Education Foundation, says: “The Douglas County Education Foundation is honored to bring this grant to the classroom. Through this generous grant, students gain iPads and communication applications that help them become, at the very least, functional communicators. We are grateful for this grant from Google and are excited by all our students are achieving through it.”
Pictured: DCSS Speech Language Pathologist Stephon Colbert, and DCSS Students Faith (green shirt), Angel (yellow shirt) and Jacob (striped shirt)