Mimio Global Press

Lancaster Online

Computer pads advance learning

Lancaster, PA - June 8, 2011 - Sometimes the good things in life really are a coincidence.

Just ask Megan Szentesy, a Martic Elementary School first grade teacher.

If she hadn't chosen to go to a friend's party in Baltimore, her school would not own 10 Mimio pads, which allow the teachers and students to interact with lessons on the school's white boards.

The Mimio pads allow teachers to post information on the white boards while they are moving around the room. The pad also can be passed from student to student, who can use it at their desk to share their answers to questions with their classmates on the white board located on the wall in the front of the room.

Mimio pads, which are about the size of a normal clipboard, are a relatively new technological advance that you won't find in most schools. The cost runs about $300 per pad, and most school budgets don't have room for such devices in these trying economic times.

Szentesy and Principal Carly McPherson said the donor was a student in third through sixth grades at Martic Elementary more than 20 years ago.

Jacob "Jake" Stokes, a 1997 graduate of Penn Manor High School, donated the 10 Mimio pads.

Stokes said, "I feel near and dear to the elementary school. I have fond memories of my time here. My family is from here. They've lived here forever."

He serves as president of Belay Technologies Inc., a Maryland-based company that works on government contracts.

Although Stokes is involved in many aspects of technology, he said he never heard of a Mimio pad until he met Szentesy at a friend's party. When they realized through casual conversation that they both had ties to Martic Elementary, Stokes asked what he could do to give back to the school. Szentesy suggested the Mimio pads, and the rest is history.

"It really was a coincidence. I don't think my friend in Baltimore even knew Jake was from Lancaster County. It's just a small-world connection," Szentesy said.

"We need to make sure our students are up to par on technology," Stokes said.

Charlie Reisinger, Penn Manor director of technology, said, "The fact that we have a former student giving back is awesome. His world of government contracts is very adult oriented, so it's extra special that he chose to help an elementary school."

"We would not typically purchase Mimio pads with district money. It's not a staple part of our technology diet," he said.

McPherson said the teachers and students love using the pads. "In this day and age of budget cuts, the fact that someone valued their elementary education so much that they want to give back is absolutely wonderful."

First-grader Cameron Harnish is impressed with the technology. "It really is faster."

"And you don't have to come up to the board to do a problem. We can just pass (the pad) around," added classmate Riley Stoltzfus.

As a thank you for his donation, Stokes was treated to a tour of the school, which recently underwent renovations, and he got to chat with a couple of teachers who were there when he attended school at Martic Elementary.

The students also made a collage to say thanks.

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