Wilton Public Schools have upped their technology focus tenfold, with the introduction of Google apps, I-STEM programs and Learning Commons in each school. Once again, the district will showcase technology in the district by shining a light on the students who are pushing technology boundaries, with TechNext 2016.

District technology teachers are putting out the call for students to be presenters at TechNext 2016, and hope to demonstrate students’ abilities to use technology to create and innovate outside of the classroom and share them with the rest of the community. TechNext 2016 will run somewhat like a Tedx Talks conference.

“We have sporting events for kids who are interested in sport to have an opportunity to be celebrated in the Wilton Schools. We certainly celebrate the arts and music. This is a real prime opportunity for kids who are interested in computers and technology to have a showcase,” says Mathew Hepfer, director of technology for Wilton Public Schools. “We’re hoping to get them out in front so they can show off what they do.”

Hepfer says the trend of students interested in this area is most definitely on an uptick. Not only are teachers and educators integrating more technology into daily classroom use and curriculum (like I-STEM), but with the Wilton Library‘s Innovation Station maker space as well as the transformation of the school libraries into Learning Commons, there’s more opportunity for kids to explore and use technology to expand their educational pathways.

“It’s incredible, to go to the Miller-Driscoll Learning Commons, and see kids coding, and learning to use the different Google apps. There’s a lot of excitement for some of our innovative technology in the schools. Very quickly our students are becoming better at using our 3-D printers than we are, pretty instantly.”

Another area that Hepfer is eager to highlight is technology as it relates to social good.

“We’re trying to think about the mission of the school district, and we’re trying to tie in this year’s TechNext to the idea of how people use technology to make the world a better place, or make their school a better place, or even to just make things better for one person. How technology can make a difference. That’s the sub-theme for the show this year,” he explains.

Hepfer is hoping for students who are interested in and love technology to take part as presenters. There’s a wide range of areas this may hit on. “Everything from arts and entertainment to coding to robotics and engineering,” Hepfer says. Some areas suggested:

  • Using technology in the fine and performing arts
  • Helping others solve problems using technology
  • Increasing knowledge, for themselves and for those around them through the use of technology
  • Building and/or programming cool tools and apps

TechNext 2016 will be presented, as it was last year, as a “show,” with presentations running similar to TEDx conferences. Students can present their talents in one of two ways—either presenting to an audience in the Little Theater at the High School or presenting at one of the individual presentation tables before the doors to the theater open.

The deadline to register an activity is Monday, Feb. 29, and TechNext 2016 will be held on Tuesday, March 22 at Wilton High School’s Little Theater, at 5:30-7:30 p.m..

For more information, students and parents can contact the Technology Instructional Leader (TechIL) at the student’s own school:

Miller-Driscoll:  Mr. Ennis
Cider Mill:  Mr. Greasley
Middlebrook:  Mr. Silver-Bonito
Wilton High School:  Ms. Amy Korn