When students and staff returned to school on Monday, Aug. 31, they may have noticed several technological changes.
According to the Wilton Pubic Schools Spring Technology Report, prepared by Technology Director Mathew Hepfer in May, efforts were made across the district to “improve infrastructure and support, increase access to digital tools and equipment, and integrate technology into the curriculum.”

TV studios


Among those efforts was the installation of the Discover Video system, along with new television studios in each of Wilton’s four public schools, where video can be used as a teaching tool.
“We have purchased most of the equipment and the TV studios are complete in Middlebook and at Wilton High School,” Hepfer told The Bulletin on Aug. 28.

“We had to navigate the schedules of some vendors for wiring and other purchases, which have pushed back the work at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill, but we are close.”

A PEGPETIA (Public, Educational and Governmental Programming and Educational Technology Investment Account) Grant and funding from the Wilton Education Foundation helped pay for the district’s Discover Video system.
Wilton High School’s video studio has been transformed into what Hepfer refers to as a “state-of-the art digital facility,” for which there was a grand opening celebration in June.
Hepfer said Wilton High School senior Quentin Burns planned and installed the equipment for the district over the summer.
The district is also working on an online portal “to create and curate video content for each grade level, content area and school,” according to the report. The portal would also allow for the recording and live-streaming of any event.

“Some of the equipment has been installed and we are in the process of arranging and coordinating the training for our initial pilot team,” said Hepfer.
Although he does not have a specific date for live-streaming, Hepfer said “it is a goal for this year.”

Virtual desktops


To support the new teacher laptop program, the district had planned to expand its licensing and use of virtual desktops this year, but due to “a significant price increase from what was budgeted,” Hepfer said, “we are in negotiations.”
“We would have delayed this project, anyway, until we have completed a major network upgrade,” he said.
“We plan to purchase the hardware and licenses in mid to late September and plan to roll out the desktops sometime in October.”
The virtual desktops would not only allow all the teachers who receive a laptop to access their virtual desktop resources from school and at home, according to the report, but would also “eliminate the need for flash drives or teachers managing their own cloud storage.”
According to the report, the district ultimately wants to expand the virtual desktop to students.

Internships


Last school year, the district hired Wilton High School seniors Zara Saldanha and Sam Schmitt as interns to help manage and support its iPad and Chromebook carts.
Not only did the interns reconfigure, update and troubleshoot iPads, but they also helped “re-image all of the Chromebooks at Middlebrook to allow them to be used for SBAC testing,” according to the report.
With the roll-out of teacher laptops this school year, the district is expanding its use of student tech support and will interview and hire “a small crew of students” to help manage mobile devices after school.
The district also plans to “pilot a program of student tech support to help teachers use their new laptops and Google Apps,” according to the report.
The program will begin as an independent study course at the high school, through which students will “work to create support materials, both print and digital, as well as offer in-person support to meet teacher needs for instructional support.”

Chromebooks


This year, Cider Mill will receive two new Chromebook carts and Middlebrook will receive one.
At the high school, a “select group” of 50 freshmen received touchscreen Yoga Chromebooks with protective cases as part of a 1:1 pilot, led by business teacher and technology instructional leader Amy Korn and Associate Principal Rich Sanzo.
The freshmen will be placed in “special classes designed around the 1:1 pilot,” according to the report.


Chromebooks


This year, Cider Mill will receive two new Chromebook carts and Middlebrook will receive one.
At the high school, a “select group” of 50 freshmen received touchscreen Yoga Chromebooks with protective cases as part of a 1:1 pilot, led by business teacher and technology instructional leader Amy Korn and Associate Principal Rich Sanzo.
The freshmen will be placed in “special classes designed around the 1:1 pilot,” according to the report.

Future Ready


This fall, the school district is partnering with EdTechTeam to host the Tri-State Future Ready Schools Summit at Wilton High School on Nov. 7-8.
The summit is designed to raise awareness of what is possible today and what has been implemented at other innovative schools.
During the two-day program, potential solutions will be explored and support for making “visions into reality in a real world educational institution” will be provided.
The Wilton Public School District plans to adopt “Future Ready” as its philosophy for the digital transformation in its schools, according to the report.
Click here  to learn more about the Tri-State Future Ready Schools Summit.