Wilson Elementary School is taking a different approach in raising funds to purchase iPads for learning.
Rather than have students sell products or go out for pledged donations, school staff members recently launched the Wilson Film Festival. Earlier this semester, each class at the school created iPad videos that have been posted online, and through Dec. 31, people are being asked to vote for their favorite video by making donations.
Film festival officials say the school is attempting to raise $30,000 to purchase 30 iPads that can be checked out from the school’s library for classroom activities. An iPad mini will also be purchased for every class that receives donations topping $1,000, and it will remain in the classroom.
“The online donations take 4 percent but everything other than that stays here,” said Carol Richmond, school librarian. “Everything being donated for this projects stays here.”
Currently, the school has a classroom set of 24 iPads, Richmond said, and anytime those iPads are rolled down to classrooms, students “are immediately engaged.” The device has helped some students focus more on classroom lessons, Richmond said, and by raising funds for iPads, the school can get more of the devices in students’ hands.
Nearly 30 videos were created with iPads for the Wilson Film Festival. The school’s current iPads were used for the videos to show others how the devices could be used in the classrooms.
Some films spotlighted activities taking place in the classroom and books in the school library, while others were mysteries. The videos range from a minute and a half, Richmond said, to 20 minutes.
“It was really fun to see the variety,” she said.
Kim Schenck, a first-grade dual language teacher, said she’s seen iPads get children who are shy or reluctant to come out of their shells, and the devices provide a resource that’s not as “threatening.” She said iPads give advanced students opportunities to create projects and “take learning to the next level.”
“It is so powerful when you put those iPads in the classroom,” Schenck said. “This is a way to inspire students when they might have fallen through the gap in the classroom.
“The ability to create, that’s what I’m excited about. The creative part of learning where you take what you know and put it into practice, that will be tapped into a wide array … more than just a paper and pencil.”
Sara White, mother of a fourth-grader at the school and a Room Mom, said the Wilson Film Festival fundraiser is fabulous. Students have not only learned through creating the videos but the money raised from the videos is being invested back into their education.
“I like their approach because they want to do something beneficial to our community, our students, and it ensures they get to keep as much money in the schools with the students,” she said.
The school is hosting a Wilson Red Carpet event at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Ryan High School auditorium, 5101 E. McKinney St., to screen the films produced by individual classes. The event is free, but for those wanting to attend must obtain tickets through the Wilson Elementary School office. The event is also another opportunity for people to donate.
“Whatever the community could do for us would be wonderful,” Richmond said.
More than $5,200 had been raised as of early Sunday.
To view videos submitted for the Wilson Film Festival or to make a donation, visit www.dentonisd.org/wilsonfilmfestival.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.