LPEF grants connect students and teachers to new technology

Technology is engaging La Crosse school students in new ways, thanks to grants from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

La Crosse Design Institute students are using iPad microscopes to move the lab outside. “It allows them to look at life in different ways — it catches their interest vs. looking at a slide (under a traditional microscope),” says Katy Gallenberg, a teacher in the LDI program at Longfellow Middle School. “Technology may help girls be more interested in science.”

Lily Brekke and Eden Winga, 7th-grade students at the La Crosse Design Institute, use a microscope attached to an iPad.

“I’m realizing a little bit more the amount of detail in things,” says Lily Brekke, a 7th-grade student.  Adds Eden Winga: “I’m seeing a different perspective on things in the world.” Both said viewing images through the iPad was easier and more interesting than peering through a tiny lens. The $1,953 grant was underwritten by Festival Foods.

Tyler Hamby helps Harper Rees set up her heart monitor.

At Hamilton Elementary/SOTA I, Physical Education Teacher Tyler Hamby is teaching his students lifelong health lessons with the help of heart monitors worn like a wristwatch. Students engage in different levels of activity and then track how heart rates changed. Students in 5th-grade can log and track results on their iPads, seeing how long they kept rates in the target zone.

For Hamby, the monitors help him see students differently.  A heavyset student who to the naked eye did not seem to be trying hard actually had one of the highest heart rates. “She was working harder” than a boy in the class who is a natural athlete, but whose heart rate never reached the health-enhancing zone of 110 beats per minute, Hamby says.