Every classroom looks different, and the role of technology in every classroom can look different, too. But what about education technology that defies the idea of a classroom altogether, and goes mobile?The exciting idea to transform an old athletics bus into an engaging technology hub was the brainchild of Mr. John (Jay) Salerno, Director of Educational Technology at Newington Public Schools (NPS) in Connecticut. SMART Technologies was truly excited to partner with NPS to help bring the idea to life.
The bus is outfitted with a selection of SMART Boards®: a 6000 and 7000 series interactive displays with iQ and a 2000 series non-touch display. The displays are also equipped with SMART Learning Suite software, and an exciting variety of other innovative and creative pieces of technology, including the SMART Audio™ classroom amplification system.
“Now that the SMART Bus is finished, I get to step back and let our Techsperts take the lead. The SMART Bus is really their platform to present technology and facilitate learning. When we take the SMART Bus to the Town Library or the Newington Senior Center for technology events, it will be our student Techsperts who are leading the demonstrations and teaching technology to community members.” – Jay Salerno
Techsperts are students in Newington who are technology leaders in the district. Beginning as ‘Techsprouts’ in third grade, students can join this self-directed program that engages with all things tech. As the students get older and head into high school, they can become Techsperts in the NHS Student Tech Support Program. Techsperts lead lessons and presentations for fellow classmates and community members. This unique program offers students opportunities to engage with technology that they may not otherwise have exposure to, helps them to develop leadership skills, and allows them to give back to their community in a meaningful way.
Why a Bus?
Beyond simply being a unique project that engages students, the SMART Bus has a vision of ‘Promoting Digital Equity and Social Justice through the NPS Techsperts’. By putting technology on wheels, all students can have access to the tools that the bus carries.
The bus will travel to various community organizations, and to surrounding areas around Newington that do not usually have access to this type of technology. Community members of all ages will have the opportunity to take lessons from the Techsperts on topics ranging from basic computing skills to robotics and coding.
“We are so lucky here in Newington to have the technology tools that prepare our students for the digital world that is growing around them, but others are not as fortunate. Now that the SMART Bus is complete, we will be able to take the bus to places in Newington and surrounding towns and communities, to expose people of all ages to new, emerging
technologies that otherwise they would not have access to.” – Jay Salerno
At SMART we aim to inspire greatness in all students. The greatness shown through the NPS Techsperts program is truly encouraging to see. We are excited to continue to work with NPS to discover and share the outcomes and impact that the bus has on not only the students but on the community as a whole.
Learn more about the bus here, and follow the adventures of the bus online with #SMARTbus.