Wallingford’s Moran Middle School in top 10 of national technology contest

WALLINGFORD — As he sat in an empty classroom at Moran Middle School Friday morning, Paul Bogush had a smile on his face. As a teacher, he embraces technology in his classroom. His dream is to have a laptop or tablet for each student in his class.

There’s a chance that dream could soon come true. Moran is one of 10 schools in the country in the running for the Extreme Classroom Technology Makeover — a contest organized by Acer, a company that makes tablets and laptops. Acer is giving schools the opportunity to “transform their classrooms with immersive tablet technology that promotes 21st century learning,” according to its website.

The contest ends May 9, and the winner will be announced May 19. The school that wins the contest will receive 30 Acer tablets with a total retail value of $15,000.

“It’s absolutely thrilling,” Bogush said. “It has been my dream for about 10 years now to be a 1-to-1 classroom.”

Moran is competing against nine other finalists — A.B. Davis Middle School in Mount Vernon, N.Y.; Altruria Elementary School in Bartlett, Tenn.; Barton Elementary in Patchogue, N.Y.; James R. Watson Elementary School in Auburn, Ind.; Leicester Memorial School in Leicester, Mass.; Lincoln Park Middle School in Lincoln Park, N.J.; Lytle High School in Lytle, Texas; MacMillan International Academy for Humanities and Technology in Montgomery, Ala.; and Wyland Elementary School in St. Louis, Mo.

Each school created a video demonstrating how the tablets would transform the classroom and would give students a better education.

Moran’s video opens with the students entering the school, with voice-over narration by Drew Waldron saying they “come each day wishing for more.

“We enter school with a desire to make a difference, to learn, to explore,” Waldron says in the video. “We don’t want to just read about countries, we want to visit more. We don’t want to just read about scientists’ discoveries, we want to meet more. We don’t want to just watch other people’s creations, we want to make our own products — share them with the world and create more.”

As the narration continues, video clips from around the world appear, with the students standing in front of the screen watching. At one point, as an expedition is seen in the video hiking up a snow-covered mountain, and it appears as if the students are walking with them.

Bogush first learned about the contest from a magazine.

“I thought, ‘What are the chances?’ ” Bogush said. “I figured, ‘Why not?’ It’s 30 tablets and the impact would be huge.”

He put out an announcement looking for students to create a video for the contest. He was happy with the number of students that had an interest because they were giving up their Friday afternoons. In addition, Bogush said, the students had to arrange for rides. When asked if he was surprised at the group’s size, he smiled.

“I had faith,” Bogush said, which left the group of students laughing.

The students met for three lunch periods, each about 40 minutes long, and stayed after school three times for an hour and a half, according to Elisa Tolentino, an eighth-grader. It took a few hours for the script to come together, Bogush said, but the group was proud of the finished product.

When asked if the time they put into the project was worth it, the group simultaneously said “yes” or “definitely.”

Rosemary Michaud said she decided to participate because she didn’t have much to do after school. Others, such as Lindsay Judenis, wanted to make a difference.

“I was surprised,” Judenis said of how many people have watched the video. “I wanted to be a part of it to know I was part of something that would help out everyone.”

Samantha Geary said making the video was worth it because they’re trying to “make a difference” and in the time they spent creating it they made memories.

Ananda Perno was surprised with the final product, adding it came out “better than expected.”

Narration from Bogush closes out the video, describing how the makeover could benefit his students.

“My students want to make a difference in this world. My students need the opportunity to explore more,” he says in the video. “With the Acer classroom makeover, every day, we will explore more.”

To vote for Moran, visit the Acer website at http://tinyurl.com/AcerClassroomMakeover.

evo@record-journal.com (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ



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