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Penguins Foundation, Allegheny Intermediate Unit Team Up to Provide ‘Tablets in Education’ To Local Schools and Special Education Programs

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Allegheny Intermediate Unit3 (AIU3) are teaming up on a first-of-its-kind initiative – “Tablets in Education” – to provide free Kindle Fire HDX 7” tablets to 50 schools in Allegheny County.

Ten Special Education programs in the county also will benefit from the program. In all, the Penguins Foundation and AIU3 will provide 1,200 free tablets – 20 per school – as well as mass charging stations, Kindle FreeTime Kid-Proof Cases and more than $100,000 in educational apps..

“The opportunity to positively impact so many students in Allegheny County makes this our most important educational program to date,” said Dave Soltesz, president of the Penguins Foundation. “By providing these free tablets, we believe we can help teachers stimulate the learning process – not only enhancing students’ interest in reading and math but also helping to develop critical thinking, writing and communication skills.”

Gallery: Penguins Foundation Delivers Tablets

The free Kindle Fire HDX tablets will be provided to select elementary schools throughout the city and county. Also included in the program are Special Education schools such as the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Wesley Spectrum, the Children’s Institute, Pressley Ridge, the DePaul Institute, the Sunrise School, Pathfinder and Mon Valley.

Common Sense Media and the Kindle Education Team are joining AIU3 in playing key roles in “Tablets in Education” – selecting educational apps and age-appropriate books while developing content and lesson plans.

“At the AIU, we realize the importance of student engagement to student learning and are thrilled to partner with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to enhance this opportunity for children in Allegheny County,” stated Linda Hippert Executive Director Allegheny Intermediate Unit. “We know that success in the workforce begins with students who are successful in the classroom. Reading is critical to that success. We appreciate the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation acknowledging the need for great readers and look forward to our continued work with them to benefit students in our region.”

Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 is part of Pennsylvania’s public education system and is one of 29 intermediate units created in 1970 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. AIU3 provides specialized educational services to Allegheny County’s 42 suburban school districts and five vocational/technical schools.

"Common Sense Media is delighted to be a partner in this innovative project,” said Jennifer Ehehalt, Education Program Manager, Common Sense Media. “We strive to make it easy for educators to choose the best apps and websites for learning by building a community that allows them to discover, use, and share the best apps and websites for learning. We are excited for the opportunity to provide high quality apps for educators planning to use the Kindle Fire tablets in their classroom. This opportunity will push student learning to the forefront and allow them to collaborate, communicate, create and share information digitally."

Common Sense Media has developed a set of ratings that are intended to gauge the educational value of videos, games and apps. The nonprofit organization’s “Learning Ratings” attempt to assess different types of learning qualities within various forms of media. Common Sense Media is considered the nation’s largest membership organization dedicated to improving kids’ media lives.

“We are excited to be collaborating with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation in their ‘Tablets in Education’ program,” said Daniel Smith, Kindle Education. “By distributing Kindle Fire tablets and education apps to select schools in Pennsylvania, the Penguins organization and the AIU3 are making a significant investment in educating and preparing students for the digital age.”

“Kindle for Education” provides a holistic approach to helping students study smarter, making it easier than ever to manage content and devices, and provide cost-e¬ffective educational solutions for schools. Amazon is invested in enhancing the learning experience and enabling easy, cross-platform deployment of content via Kindle Whispercast technology throughout a school or entire district, enabling better educational experiences for students, teachers, and administrators.

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