Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

The Wellington School Board has been pushing for more technology in the classrooms to help the students be more productive in the 21st Century.

Tami Dillon, special education teacher at Kennedy Elementary School, has raised the bar with her new smart table.

The Windows-based table, basically a large tablet, allows for up to four students to interact with a program or lesson at a time.

“What’s cool about it is that it makes education fun,” Dillon said. “They [the lessons] are all interactive. You don’t have to take turns. They can all do it at the same time, so it alleviates stress.”

Dillon bought the table with grant money from Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane.

“Last year I visited with Raj, our previous special education director, about writing a grant for an interactive LCD projector for my room,” Dillon said. “After I researched those and looked for different models, I stumbled upon this. I was like, ‘Hey, Raj, do you think you can help me out with this for Special Ed. I’m going to write a grant proposal for this from the Kansas Star Casino.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, that was my vision to have one of these in the classroom.’”

Kansas Star holds a monthly meeting, Dillon said, to discuss grant proposals, but hers was tabled in July due to the summer.

“It was tabled after the July meeting, and they said I would hear something after the September meeting,” she said. “Well, I didn’t hear anything in September, but the first of October, I received an email approving it. I was shocked when I got the email. I thought I asked for too much money.”

The large table had to be taken by fork lift into the school before being assembled. Caster wheels were added to make the table mobile, which will allow the other teachers to have access.

“We can move it to other classrooms so everyone can have a chance to use it,” she said. “I would be happy to share it with other teachers.”

Dillon also shared the students have been eager to get the opportunity to use the table in her classroom, although there is still more to learn about the table.

“They love it,” she said. “It came with a demo setup and we have done that. They played with that, but I have recently connected it to WiFi to get more lessons. One of the groups that I taught, did a lesson on verb tenses and I found a couple of activities on here and they loved it. We have used this to move on with our lessons. The kids all want to use it.”

What makes this even more special to Dillon was the fact that Kennedy Elementary has the only one in the district.

“We are one of the most, if not the most, disadvantage schools economically in the district,” she said. “For our kids to have access to some of the best technology, the only one like this, is pretty exciting.”