TechExpo 4.0 downloads at Miller-Driscoll

Miller-Driscoll School will be alive with the buzz of technology as the Technology Advisory Committee presents Wilton TechExpo 4.0 on Wednesday, April 3, from 5:30 to 7:30.

Technology continues to evolve faster than ever. It seems a new gadget emerges every few weeks, and the rumor mill is constantly full of new items coming along. It takes a lot to keep up with it all, and Wilton Public Schools aren’t immune.

To that end, parents and the public are invited to see how technology is used in the classroom. It’s an interactive event, as teachers will demonstrate and allow attendees to try iPads, Smart Boards, and more.

Edline, an online system that Wilton schools use for organization, will also be demonstrated. The system, classified as a learning community management system, is used by teachers to keep students and parents informed on tests, projects, progress reports, and expectations.

It may also be used to inform parents on missed homework assignments, much to the dismay of the child.

The TechExpo is intended to help educate parents about the importance of technology in the educational process.

“Child Innovators,” students nominated by teachers and parents, will demonstrate projects they’ve designed. These students will focus on what they’ve created outside of the classroom. On display will be websites, applications, and music they’ve configured, as well as games and mobile devices that have been modified.

The popular game Minecraft seems to be just that: a game. Mathew Hepfer, the director of technology for Wilton Public Schools, doesn’t dispute that but also sees how it can be a learning tool.

“There’s so much problem solving going on there,” said Mr. Hepfer. “You can see the level of thinking involved.”

The TechExpo will include a demonstration of a math application that was derived from Minecraft.

“We’ve noticed that students are doing a lot of learning outside of the classroom,” Mr. Hepfer said. “They’ve learned to be DJs. That was on display last year, and we’re trying to find a balance between the teachers and the student innovators, who have become so popular.

“You get to see how bright students are,” he said.

Mr. Hepfer said iPads have been introduced in the Wilton schools and will be shown at the expo. All of this technology, he said, has made the movement between grade levels seamless.

As daunting as technology is to some, the 4.0 in the event name is a simple concept, as it is the fourth time the exposition has been held.

The TechExpo was created out of the need for the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance to see what the budget was being spent on. With officials satisfied, the expo was further opened to the community.

More than 250 parents attended last year, and more than 30 hands-on presentations are lined up for this year’s edition.

It’s also seen as an opportunity for parents to be less intimidated by the onslaught of electronics. The school district recently held digital safety presentations with Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo for parents to help explain the dangers of the electronic world.

“Parents can’t be intimidated,” said Mr. Hepfer. “They should know what their child is doing. They should know if they’re playing something interactive and who they are interacting with.”

For the students, it’s a chance to have some role reversal.

“Think about how powerful that is,” said Mr. Hepfer. “It allows for the student to teach the parent.”