As Montville students next Wednesday with new backpacks and binders, teachers and administrators will be doing the same with a few new gadgets of their own.
Austin Thomsen, technology manager, said all of the district’s elementary school teachers will have laptops by December. Thomsen said the school district spent about $447,000 to purchase more than 300 laptops for teachers, in addition to new desktop computers for student use.
“We hope it makes our teachers more experienced in terms of using technologies on a regular basis,” Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried, said. “We believe that the more immersed the teachers become in the technology, the more they’ll be able to use it to benefit students.”
Fried said the laptops will connect to the classroom SMART Boards so teachers can plan lessons on the laptops at home and connect them directly to the SMART Board in class.
Additionally, three elementary schools—, and —have revamped wireless networks, according to Thomsen, which he said will provide the necessary infrastructure as the district moves toward using more wireless devices like iPads. More iPads were purchased this year for special education and academically at-risk students for use in one-on-one teaching, Andrea Selvaggi, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said.
In addition to the elementary school computers, is also set to join its neighboring elementary schools with the addition of a new computer lab which will be completed by the end of the fall, Thomsen said. Fried said the new computers will play a large role in the elementary schools’ return to a world language program which was cut two years ago but will be restored this year using the web-based program Rosetta Stone.
Selvaggi said the key is learning to use the new technology in interactive and interesting ways to provide the maximum impact on students.
“These children have never not known a world without cell phones or computers,” Selvaggi said. “It will benefit them greatly to see how technology can be used in an educational or academic aspect.”
All Montville schools will capitalize on that this year with the addition of a technology education coach who Selvaggi said will serve in guiding teachers throughout the district toward becoming more comfortable using technology regularly and effectively in the classroom.
“It’s such a huge part of our students’ lives, with us or without us, so I think being able to guide our students in how to use the technology effectively and efficiently and help them use it as a learning tool is just imperative,” Fried said.
However, he added that it is also essential that technology not replace the teacher-student relationship.
“There needs to be a delicate balance between technology and the actual teacher in the classroom,” he said. “That personal relationship is so important to keeping kids motivated and providing a nurturing environment."