Middlebury Elementary School (MES) received a $3,290 Thomaston Savings Bank grant, entitled Document Cameras for All Learners, to fund their document camera program at the school.
Leigh Funderburk, a special education teacher at MES, wrote the proposal on behalf of the MES PTO, an organization dedicated to improving the education of their students. The grant money from the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation will allow the PTO to purchase ten document cameras for the MES classrooms that do not currently have one in their classroom.
“From demonstrations of blending clay on the art room to real time observations of swimming tadpoles, perhaps most powerfully, allowing young writers to display and discuss their work, there are few tools that can so completely meet the needs of many different types of learners,” said Middlebury Elementary School Principal Lauren Feltz.
A multi-disciplinary team will work together in order to educate teachers on how to use the document cameras in their classrooms. This will then allow students to benefit from the document camera’s many uses. Teachers will introduce children to text, pictures, maps and graphs over a range of subject areas to assist in their engagement in learning. They will also present literary materials (including mentor text) by using the document camera using an auditory, visual and/or tactile format. Children learn through a number of learning modalities, and the document camera’s multiple uses evoke this.
Paula Connolly, a new second grade teacher for MES, said, “I’ve used document cameras in the past and I absolutely love them! During reader’s workshop, children are reading different ‘just right’ books. When I am conferencing and discover a point I would like to discuss with the class, I can bring the book to the document camera to show a specific example of the point I am discussing. Without the document camera, I would only be able to do this in an auditory fashion. Instead, by showing it through the camera, all of the children can have the visual along with the auditory. I can also take a picture of a particular page in order to underline and highlight specific words, phrases or paragraphs I may be zooming in on. I can’t explain how incredibly excited I am to be able to work with this technology again!”
Teachers will determine the effectiveness of the document cameras on the children’s ability to learn concepts through a variety of ways including observation, discussion and written communication.
About the grant, PTO President Michele Finn said, "Our PTO and school continuously strive to enhance the learning experience of all MES students and to provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed. We are deeply grateful to Thomaston Savings Bank for generously partnering with us to meet these needs by providing the funding to purchase documents cameras. Now, every one of our classrooms will have this incredibly adaptable tool for use in all curriculum areas including writing, math, science and art."
As teachers begin to use the newly purchased document cameras, staff will assess the impact they have on students through observation, discussion and written communication. Based on progress and funding, the school hopes to continue its goal of making sure the school is well equipped with the latest technology to enhance the learning of students.