Bexley Education Foundation and Bexley City Schools recently announced a $250,572 Impact Grant for elementary technology would be earmarked for expanded access to technology and increased opportunities for differentiated instruction.

Bexley Education Foundation and Bexley City Schools recently announced a $250,572 Impact Grant for elementary technology would be earmarked for expanded access to technology and increased opportunities for differentiated instruction.

The foundation's grant was accompanied by a school district commitment of technology resources in the elementary grades. The grant, approved Sept. 16 by the organization's Board of Governors, places 224 mobile devices in classrooms at all three Bexley elementary schools starting this school year.

Anchored by a substantial gift from the nonprofit Eight Keys Foundation, the grant is the result of a full year of faculty discussions and Technology Roundtable community meetings about how to use technology to enhance learning opportunities for elementary students.

Each of Bexley's K-2 classrooms will receive four iPad Mini tablets. Third-grade classrooms will receive two iPad Minis and two Windows touch convertible laptops. Grades 4-6 will have four touch Windows-based convertible laptops in each classroom.

Bexley Technology Director Paul Ross worked with elementary school faculty tech leaders and student volunteers to review and test various mobile devices.

The BEF grant proposal, written by a committee of elementary teachers, cites research that supports the benefits of hand-held mobile devices in increasing student engagement, motivation, and autonomy across ability levels and learning styles, but with especially strong benefits for struggling readers.

In recent years, the district has adapted its policies and programs to accommodate "real world" technology implications, expanding Internet access and encouraging the use of personal technology devices at school to enhance teaching and learning.

The foundation's grant was made possible by two gifts from the Eight Keys Foundation totaling $150,000, designated for elementary technology. Rachel Longaberger Stukey, director of the Eight Keys foundation, has three children in the Bexley schools.

The remaining $100,572 will come from Bexley Education Foundation resources that are supported by community donations. The grant includes the cost of professional development to help teachers enhance student engagement. District funds of $40,000 per year will support the mobile devices.

The Bexley Education Foundation raises private funds to support and encourage excellence in education for all who are served by Bexley City Schools. It makes classroom grants twice each year, as well as occasional Impact Grants to support district-wide initiatives that have broad benefits for Bexley students.