Monday, July 19, 2010

Cutting Edge Technology Coming Soon to a Classroom Near You

By: Max Schlusselberg

In what is perhaps a sign of technology's rising prominence in the classroom, Saxe Middle School is currently in the process of gutting the room formerly used for home economics and outfitting it with rows of new computers and digital keyboards. Saxe's new computer lab is just one part of the New Canaan school system's push to incorporate technology in the learning process.

"We're adapting with the time and it's the age of technology now," said Director of Visual and Performing Arts Alan Sneath. "Teachers have really risen to the challenge of bringing technology to the next level."

Computer labs are just one way educators are using advanced technology to enrich the learning process. Beginning last year, students from elementary school to high school have been cataloging their academic progress online in digital portfolios.

In partnership with, New Canaan's public schools are giving their students a platform to upload everything from art projects to musical performances so both teachers and parents can track their students' progress.

"Students are doing work that we're capturing digitally to take it into the 21st century," said Sneath, who has long been a supporter of ensuring students are prepared for an increasingly digitized world. Sneath sees value in digital portfolios not only for teachers and parents but also believes that beginning next year students will be able to include digital portfolios on college applications.

And as computer labs become commonplace in all of New Canaan's public schools, educators at East Elementary School are taking the concept a step further. Beginning this year, elementary students will have laptop computers at their disposal in addition to standard desktops. According to Director of Technology Rob Miller, laptop computers allow teachers to give their students a much more tailored approach to the curriculum.

"We're engaging students' interests, which allows for a more active learning environment," said Miller. "Teachers can group students together and move them around using laptops… Students can then work on specific parts of the curriculum."

But despite all the advancements in classroom technology at New Canaan's public schools, educators believe they can't get too comfortable.

"You can't stop," said Sneath, referring to the effort of keeping classroom technology modern. "The minute you stop, it changes."


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