Our Islands, Our Future
Ellen Federoff

Ellen Federoff

With no regular classroom to call her own, Ellen Federoff said her 12 new computer tablets have helped tremendously in ensuring she can teach in any location on the Kihei Charter School grounds. Federoff purchased the tablets through a grant she received from Maui Economic Development Board’s Ke Alahele Education Fund. “I’m like the nomad. I don’t have a classroom but I really can take any space with my students since we have the technology support,” she said.

Federoff applied for and received a grant to purchase12 Samsung Galaxy computer tablets. “Without them, I would be struggling big time,” she said. Tasked with teaching 130 7th- and 8th-graders about health and physical education, Federoff was using the tablets most recently for a student research project about the nutritional value of energy drinks. “They can’t just Google it. It’s a directed research (project.) I give them up to 12 Web sites to read and research,” she said. Her students enjoy being able to do their school work on computer tablets that also have protective cases. “My students are so tech savvy. They love their tablets, they think they’re cool and they’re very comfortable with using them.”

Kihei Charter Middle School has two computer labs, but it does not have a computer or laptop for every student, according to Federoff. That’s why the Ke Alahele Education Fund grant is helpful in supplementing school equipment and helping a greater number of students access the Internet, and at Kihei Charter, their very own Web sites and electronic portfolios. “Everything today in education, in our school for sure, is technology based,” she said. Aside from her classes, Federoff said she’s working on a check-out system for the tablets so that other teachers and classes can use them. “We’re definitely going to be using these to the fullest,” she said. MEDB established the Ke Alahele Education Fund to support the growing need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills in Maui County.