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December 4, 2012

Schools making most of tech grants

iPads, sound bring new technology steps to schools

MANCHESTER — Technology and schools seem to go hand and hand, and Cape Ann school districts have all made leaps and bounds since the days of chalk boards and clapping erasers.

Students at both Manchester Memorial School and Essex Elementary can literally hear the change. Both schools now have state-of-the-art sound systems, which enable teachers and students alike to project their voices across the classroom.

The new technology was made possible by the Spaulding Education Fund, which allocated more than $100,000 to the school district last year.

Tracy Davis, a member of the fund Steering Committee, said about 20 of the classrooms in Manchester Memorial have the new equipment and 18 in Essex. They were funded for about $25,000.

Patricia Fleming, a third grade teacher for Manchester Memorial School, said the teaching tool has become a staple in her education arsenal.

“No more sore throats,” she said Tuesday.

Fleming said the microphones and speakers allow her, as well as other students, to speak clearly without yelling. Nobody now has to compete with children at recess or kids roaming the halls.

A number of the classes are now using the sound system, which was passed in a pilot program last year, according to Ann Pulver, who co-chairs the Spaulding Fund Steering Committee.

Students were tasked with describing a favorite activity or place as a part of a writing assignment, and Luke Muruzzi, a soft-spoken third-grader, read his assignment aloud. This time all of his classmates were able to hear him.

”I really like hockey; I started playing when I was 3 years old,” he said. “You get to travel all over Massachusetts, too.”

Davis said approximately $47,000 was awarded in the 2011 grant cycle, allowing students to use iPads in the classroom this year. There are 30 iPads at the high school, 10 for first-graders at Manchester Memorial and 30 for the Essex Elementary first-graders.

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