Technology grant to transform Winooski School’s music program

WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) — Winooski Middle and High School is changing the way they teach music to students thanks to a technology grant.

Each year, the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery and the Agency of Education work together to provide two schools with $15,000 worth of tech equipment. “It’s called the Educate and Innovate Award. It’s a program where educators can propose projects that use technology for further learning,” said AOE’s Lisa Helme.

The award focuses on the practical use of technology to increase student engagement through the creation of meaningful, personalized learning programs. That year, Winooski Middle and High School received the award and invested the money to outfit a new media room where students can record music, engage in journalism and record podcasts.

“I said to the students, ‘We can choose all these new things. What are you interested in?’ So it was a collaboration for what we had to choose. And seeing their faces when I opened the boxes and they said, ‘Oh, how do I use this?’ And it just brought so much excitement to their eyes and it was amazing,” said Mikayla Kelemen, music teacher at the school.

I’ve always wanted to be in something like that, try out what it’s like, because I always see people on TV doing it, and I think one day in theirs I want to… just experience what they do. So it feels really great,” said Passy Matendo, grade 11.

Kelemen says they’re glad the money was used to modernize their department. “I really love the classical approach to music pedagogy that we have in the school. But we missed so many of our students when we just focused on band, orchestra, choir. And we have many students who love to sing in other languages ​​and love to make music outside of school who now have the opportunity to do that here,” she said.

Students say they are excited to take advantage of the new technology and all the opportunities it can offer them. They say the redesigned space could also serve to bring the whole school closer together. “I feel like this is just a different way of expressing yourself through music using technology. So it brings with it a different group of kids who might not like playing the violin but like the sound of it and being able to use it in other ways,” said 10th grader Sali Diallo.

The other award winner was Swanton Elementary School. They used the money to improve the school’s 3D rendering technology.

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