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Integrating iPads into learning


Belleville Mennonite School students will have an extra item on their back-to-school list this Fall – an iPad. Students and teachers in grades K-5 and 9-12 will be provided with an iPad to use at school as a way to provide preferred engagement in collaborative, creative learning to prepare them for their lives in the 21st century.

“We are committed to providing the very best computing and teaching devices that suit the needs of our students,” remarked Mrs. Starla Fogleman, superintendent of BMS.  She continued, “This is the new standard that we will use to achieve the very best education for our students to be successful in tomorrow’s world.”

Under the leadership of Technology Director, Mr. Robert Zook, several iPads will be distributed to grades K through 5 enabling each grade to have them in their learning centers.  Additionally, high school students will receive an iPad for half of the year.  Students will be able to take the iPads home with them on the condition of a signed note by student and parent accepting responsibility for the care of the iPad.  Five iPads will also be placed in the Learning Support room for student instructional use.  

Mr. Zook remarked, “BMS has been increasingly exploring the expanding role of technology in the learning environment. We are imbedding technology in everything we teach.”  The iPad can be used with curriculum from science, math and writing to Health and Bible.  “The opportunities are limitless,” Mr. Zook added.

Achieving the ultimate collaborative learning environment is the school’s goal.  “We cannot achieve our goal of creating a rich learning environment without including technology in it,” concluded Mrs. Fogleman.

In addition to iPads, the school has a high functioning and up-to-date computer lab, laptops and whiteboards for teaching instruction in the classroom.

The funding for the purchase of iPads is predominately provided by the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit.

At Belleville Mennonite School we seek to provide all the skills needed by our students. In addition to an excellent classical education we also seek to teach students how to effectively use and interact with today's ever changing technology.

Every classroom at BMS has network connections from which students can access both the internal network services that we provide as well as the education opportunities provided by the Internet. There is a total campus wide wireless access where students can connect to the network and internet resources using mobile devices. We require that a faculty member be present during all times when the students are accessing the Internet, this is to ensure that the computer resources provided by the school are being used for profitable educational purposes. We also offer courses in basic computing such as keyboarding for elementary students.  In middle school, students learn basic computing skills such as word processing, spreadsheet, conducting safe Internet searches as well as explore various computer applications such as 3D drawing, making movies, and computer programming.  Advanced courses are offered to high school students, where they learn in-depth concepts such as web design, computer game design, and digital video and podcasting, computer mapping, GIS, and computer animation.

At BMS we have a student to computer ratio of 3.5 which provides every student with adequate access to our computer resources. Each student is provided with personal storage on our network with which they can store their papers projects and other work that they accumulate. Students in Middle and High School also are given cloud accounts which allows them to store documents both at home and school.

Mr. Bob Zook, Director of Technology and middle and high school instructor, has been at BMS in this capacity for 12 years.  He has over 20 years of experience in the field and has a Master's degree in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University.  Mr. Zook's wife, Ethel, teaches in the BMS preschool program.  Mr. Zook is also a pastor at Allensville Mennonite Church.