RUSSELLVILLE, Mo. — Growing up in California, Karin Bolinger knows what it's like to be a student in a rural community. She also knows technology is necessary for learning, beyond the average textbook.
A first-year teacher at Russellville Middle School where 90 Dell Chromebook computers are available for the 148 students, Bolinger was challenged to have access for her science and social studies classes.
"I was wanting to use the Chromebooks and we have a limited supply of Chromebooks at this school," Bolinger said.
She said, in the beginning of the school year, she learned about Donors Choose, a fundraising website for public school teachers to get assistance with projects.
With permission from principal Tina Kauffman and the district, she submitted a project proposal Oct. 1 to raise $2,341 for 10 computers for her classroom.
"There's a lot of online tools for science like online activities they can do and it's a lot more hands-on — they get to do virtual labs online for science. For social studies, all of our students have a seat for an online book and they could actually do things for their book online, if they had access and if we had enough computers for them to do that all the time," Bolinger said.
Donors Choose assigns a time limit for projects and if funds are not fully collected by the deadline, the materials will not be awarded. Bolinger met her goal five days ahead of her Feb. 10 deadline.
"Whenever we are not able to provide the resources, we encourage teachers to use other outlets," Kauffman said. "We are continuously trying to do upgrades and find ways to get more technology; we would love to be a 1-to-1 school. But right now, we are just managing to do the best that we can."
46 donors supported Bolinger's "To Think Like Scientist, We Need to Reasearch" fundraiser.
"Technology is the base of many activities in our world today. My students' daily learning would be greatly enhanced through technology," Bolinger wrote on the site. "Our students' inability to access Chromebooks hinders them in so many ways.
"Please invest in the students I invest in everyday and help them be more invested in their own learning with these Chromebooks."
She said the 10 additional computers would not only assist her 100 students, but the other teachers and students would benefit as well. Currently, if a teacher needs to use Chromebooks in the classroom, they submit a request on a shared calendar. They are often in high demand.
"A lot of the school districts around us are 1-to-1 Chromebooks, because I've observed in different school districts and I've seen a lot of programs that I feel like can be utilized really well, if the resources are there," Bolinger said.
On the web: www.donorschoose.org