Region 16 expands technology


REGION 16 — Region 16 wants to reinforce and expand its students’ technological skills by integrating new media tools, both inside and outside the classroom.

This school year, Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, fully implemented Schoology, a web-based learning management system that allows students, parents and teachers to interact and collaborate, at the middle and high school levels.

Matthew Brennan, Region 16’s director of technology, said that although most students are already comfortable using most technology, it’s important to reinforce those skills and equip the students with knowledge and different ways to use those tools.

“We’re preparing students for life in the 21st Century world,” Brennan said.

Brennan said Region 16 is still in the process of incorporating the new technology, which includes Google Apps for Education, as well as a recent order of about 500 Chromebooks for Long River Middle School in Prospect and Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls.

He said the new software and hardware will give the district expanded access to technology for the students.

“It integrates into the platforms that we want to go forward with,” Brennan said. “We’re really trying to make sure as much as we can is web-based.”

Jim Amato, a teacher at Woodland Regional High School, said Schoology is “like Facebook for school,” in the sense that it allows for greater collaboration between teachers and students, and also helps students learn in ways other than just researching and reading materials online.

“We’re helping them understand that they can use their phone, tablets or any technology available to them in more ways than they might currently use it,” Amato said. “The students of this day and age are used to immediacy and being able to connect with peers at that level. With Schoology, teachers are able to facilitate their homework or clarify elements of classroom teaching while not in a classroom. This is a response to the communication between home and school.”