Pilot Program Gives Student Teachers Portable High-Tech Tools for Classroom

When student teachers are assigned to schools in rural Florida, they often encounter facilities without updated technology systems and students in need of exposure to the learning opportunities that technology can provide.

A grant of $51,150 from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to St. Leo University, St. Leo, Florida, will help provide these student teachers with a portable array of devices that will enable them to introduce high-end technology into their student-teaching experiences.

The grant was among 21 awards valued at $1.9 million made by the trustees at their August meeting. Eight of those awards were made to Florida-based organizations.

St. Leo University routinely places more than 200 student teachers in Florida K-12 classrooms, many of which are in less affluent counties in central and north central Florida. The pilot program supported by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will focus on teachers serving schools in Alachua, Putnam, Marion and Madison counties. In the targeted schools, between 68% and 81% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

The St. Leo program will equip student teachers with a backpack containing:

  • An iPad 3 tablet with protective cover and applications;
  • A document camera;
  • A portable projector;
  • An interactive whiteboard system;
  • Portable speakers and VGA adapters for the iPad.

The program provides for interaction among the student teachers and the teachers at the selected schools to enrich the learning experiences of the student teachers and add to the professional development of the school-based teachers.