Funding Technology Procurement and Life Cycle Replacement Students’ achievements on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test at Bell Street Middle School (BSMS) have begun to plateau over the span of the past three testing sessions. According to MAP data analyzed at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic school year, 37% of BSMS 7th grade students will not reach the level of “met” on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) test when it is administered in May 2014. According to No Child Left Behind, all students are supposed to be proficient in reading and mathematics by the year 2014. With this deadline fast approaching, educators are seeking innovative ways to peak students’ interest in math, enhance math instruction and, ultimately, increase student performance on the PASS test. One possible way to do this is to put an iPod Touch (iPod) in the hands of students. Using iPods in the classroom is a way to connect the technology that many students are already using in their personal life with the instruction and learning that takes place at school. IPods are popular pieces of technology that many students already have and are familiar with using. With interactive ways to fine tune basic skills, master multiplication, solve equations, and so much more, the apps available to use on an iPods make math more engaging, interactive, and fun for students. There are literally thousands of math apps that can be downloaded and used by teachers to focus on skills where remediation is necessary. According to Bell Street Middle School MAP data, students in Moody’s fourth period class struggle with foundational fraction skills. Incorporating iPods in Moody’s classroom as an early finishers activity or reward for good behavior would assist her with providing students who lack proficiency in fractions skills, for example, additional practice in a format that is much more acceptable to students. Even though they would be practicing math concepts through the various math apps, students are less likely to reject the work simply because the review is presented in a game format. The interactivity of the apps is an ingenious way to redirect students’ attention to math practice without having to assign multiple problems from the text book or copy worksheets to pass out for students to complete. Having a classroom set of iPods would provide numerous drill and practice opportunities for students to fine tune their math skills in a way that students would find fun and not typical during routine instructional time. The positive impact on student performance and achievement would not solely be found in math. Individualized practice with an iPod could be incorporated across the curriculum and could benefit several teachers if the set of iPods were shared. In English Language Arts, for example, students could fine tune their reading skills by listening to a recording of a book while reading along with the text. In addition, the app "spell city" allows users to load a spelling list and provides review activities and games to practice words for the week. Funding such a proposal can be a challenge for most classroom teachers in today’s financial climate, but often can be found if both conventional and unconventional funding sources are explored (Lovitt, 2004). Internally, school districts have monies earmarked specifically for technology within their budgets. At Bell Street Middle School, one possible source to fund the purchase of a classroom set of iPods would be from general fund monies. Even with designated dollars, sometimes more money is needed to fund a proposal. One of the most popular external funding sources within the field of education is through grant writing. There are countless numbers of grants available for teachers to benefit from that could be used to purchase a requisite set of iPods. For example, the Innovative Teaching Mini Grants Program or the Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2) grant are both available to South Carolina teachers. The grants are awarded to enhance instruction, facilitate teaching and learning, and improve student achievement through the use of technology. Grant writing is time consuming, however, if planned for in advance, grants are a highly plausible funding source. Another possible way to fund a classroom set of iPods would be through the use of Title I. monies. An alternative way to acquire iPods for the classroom, would be to ask faculty, staff, students, their families, local college students, and other community members to donate their used iPods when they upgrade to a newer model for their own personal use. A used iPod Touch can easily be reset to the original factory settings and could then be utilized in the same way that a brand new iPod would be used. This could be a project managed by Bell Street Middle School’s student government and communicated throughout the city via the local radio station, advertising in the local newspaper, or through a community business partnership. Additionally, the Math Counts Club, BETA Club, or Student Government could hold various types of fundraisers throughout the year to help raise funds as well. Technology is ever changing and has to be maintained, upgraded, and sometimes replaced. Often times, a major hidden cost associated with technology is maintenance (Wierschem, 2002). With that said, most technology proposals include a life cycle replacement plan. The replacement cost of an iPod would be minimal, if they are properly maintained. One possible funding source to replace the iPods is from line item operating budget monies used to upgrade or replace technology. Another possible way to occasionally replace the iPods would be through a partnership established with local businesses or students at Presbyterian College to donate their iPods. All in all, the infusion of iPods into any subject matter would have far greater gains with regard to students' interest and achievement than continuing the current course of action in trying to reach under achieving students. Teachers are always on the hunt for new activities, new examples, and new problems for their students to try. The iPod would provide all of those things to the classroom teacher! Reference Page Lovitt, J. (2004, January). Successful Strategies for Saving & Securing Technology Funding. T.H.E. Journal, 6(1). Retrieved on 11/1/12 from HYPERLINK http://thejournal.com/articles/2004/01/01/successful-strategies-for-saving--securing-technologyfunding.aspx Wierschem, D. and Ginther, D. (2002). Acquisition and Replacement of Technology Hardware in Higher Education. Educause Quarterly, 3(2) 52-57.