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Education in the digital age

  • Senator Maggie Hassan and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel visited ConVal on Friday to see how the school is using technology to prepare students for a connected working world. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Senator Maggie Hassan and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel visited ConVal on Friday to see how the school is using technology to prepare students for a connected working world. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Senator Maggie Hassan and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel visited ConVal on Friday to see how the school is using technology to prepare students for a connected working world. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Senator Maggie Hassan and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel visited ConVal on Friday to see how the school is using technology to prepare students for a connected working world. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Senator Maggie Hassan and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel visited ConVal on Friday to see how the school is using technology to prepare students for a connected working world. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 16, 2017

Senator Maggie Hassan looked on in admiration as a ConVal music class broke into song. A group of students practicing their string instruments were put on the spot as Hassan and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel toured the high school Friday afternoon.

The pair of legislators had just been at a Keene field hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to discuss broadband expansion in the state, the Hassan-backed AIRWAVES act offered up as a step in the right direction. They stopped at ConVal to get a look at how the high school is using their own broadband access — and funding from the FCC’s Connect America Fund.

“Digitization is part of everything we do,” Rosenworcel said. “It's not just at the margins of our economy, it's in everything you care about, from agriculture to music to any kind of work you do, there's going to be an element of connectivity associated with it, so schools have to prepare kids for that.”

Rosenworcel and Hassan toured a handful of classrooms. In one, they found students creating online, multimedia proposals to help fund nonprofits. In another, students were using a program to score a film, composing music on the fly. And in James Wickham’s music room, they heard a swelling soundtrack — which the students learned using digital sheet music.

“We didn’t learn like that when I was in school,” Hassan said, “which was, well, before computers.”

ConVal recently rolled out a one-to-one Chromebook program, guaranteeing each incoming student a portable computing device for the entirety of their time at the school. That was made possible in part by Connect America’s E-Rate fund — dollars that may be in jeopardy as federal funding strategies shift.

“We could not leverage technology to improve instruction without those E-Rate funds,” said ConVal superintendent Kimberly Saunders. “They wanted to see those dollars at work and what's really happening because of those dollars.”

Saunders emphasized the importance of staying up-to-date and competitive with the way the school uses technology in the classroom.

“It's just really shifting the dynamic of how students engage with their own learning,” Saunders said. “It's meeting students where they are. We have 24-hour connectivity and our students are 24-hour connected kids. That's just the way they've grown up.”