April 24, 2014 12:02PM
By Kimberly Primicerio
MERIDEN — Students throughout the school system showed the community how they are using smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices as tools to learn at the schools’ first community forum at Maloney High School Tuesday night.
More than 100 parents, students and educators attended the forum, held in Maloney’s cafeteria, to see how the schools are embracing technology.
They learned about the Bring Your Own Device program and how various teachers use social media to interact with students.
Young people showed their gadgets and the types of useful apps and websites they use in their studies.
Later on in the evening, teachers talked about how they’ve been using technology to engage students and said the results have been positive.
“I hope this is the first of many community forums for the schools,” School Superintendent Mark D. Benigni said.
“This is about how technology in schools is changing our work.”
Community members had the chance to walk around the cafeteria and talk with students.
Music students at Maloney talked about an app called Charms, which gives students the opportunity to record their music.
Kaleigh Scott, a senior at Maloney, said she loves the app that allows her to send music to teacher Brian Cyr.
He can then critique her work and let her know what she needs to practice.
“It’s so easy,” Scott said.
The app also lets students keep track of finances when raising money for band field trips, she said.
Other high school students talked about personalized learning experiences, an independent study class designed by students that can be taken at any time.
Some students do work during allocated periods, while others work from home. Platt High School seniors Caleidgh Bayer, who takes computer science, and Michaela Blain, who studies advanced computer applications, do their work at home and then bring it to be graded.
“It’s about anytime, anywhere learning,” Platt teacher James Flynn said.
Students earn credit, just as with any other class, he said.
Flynn said the night’s forum was to show people both how technology was being used in the schools and when carried over into the later afternoon and evening.
Students can access documents and quizzes to practice at home.
“This is showing the people in Meriden where we are going,” Flynn said.
Art students demonstrated how they use pictures stored on their phones, turning them into paintings and sketches on canvas or paper. Maloney fine arts department chairwoman Jessica Sperry said there is a place for fine arts in a technology-driven world.
“It’s useful and helpful,” she said of the devices.