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Technology artist encourages Winchester students

Artist Brian Knep kicked off an ambitious speaker series at Winchester High School with a simple declaration – “There is no straight line in creativity.”

Submitted to the Winchester Star

Knep uses technology to mold interactive sculptures, using algorithms, cameras and projectors to explore different ways of connecting people to his art. Nearly a 100 students attended Knep’s recent presentation at the Rotary Center for Creative Technology, opened during the powerED UP! campaign, integrating technology into Winchester classrooms. The CTC Speaker Series is part of the next phase of the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence’s powerED UP! campaign focusing on innovation grants.

“WFEE’s previous gifts of nearly $700,000 have positioned Winchester public schools to truly reach the goal of integrating technology into all classrooms,” according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Elineema. “Students and educators are becoming increasingly proficient at using technology to collaborate, innovate and develop creative thinking skills. Now we are ready to innovate."

WFEE’s $55,000 gift to the school system this November will allow for Innovation Grants at each school. The CTC speaker series at WHS continues later this month with a hands-on seminar given by an artist who makes wearable technology. Artist Deren Gulen, an alumni of WHS, works with custom, sewable electronic components. The CTC series will also include workshops on geodesic domes, kinetic sculpture and an evening presentation by filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll.

Elementary educators and those at McCall Middle School are currently exploring Innovation Grant possibilities. Vinson-Owen Elementary will be creating its own maker space, educating students about robotics and coding. “Innovation is going to look a little different at each school,” says WFEE Co-President Heidi Driscoll, “That is not only OK, it is exciting! The community has worked hard to lay the foundations for a technology rich environment, now we can do truly interesting things.” Superintendent Dr. Judy Evans notes that WFEE’s support for technology has empowered students and teachers. “Thanks to WFEE, our classrooms are more exciting and engaging places in which to teach and learn,” says Dr. Evans. “By using technology as a tool, we are better equipped to meet the unique needs of each student.”

The November WFEE gift will also purchase additional student devices at the elementary and high school level, helping WHS join McCall Middle School as a “bring your own device” environment. “This gift will also help us refine and expand professional development opportunities for educators,” says Dr. Elineema. “During our last professional development day we saw scores of teachers interested in learning how to use adaptive technologies and in exploring new ways to use Google Apps for Education. Educators are ready to go beyond the basics and try new things.”

WHS Library Media Specialist Andrea Zampitella agrees, saying the CTC is designed to encourage students and educators “…to generate ideas and extend, reshape and break boundaries at the intersection of creativity, research and technology.” Working in partnership with art teacher Paul Hackett and Instructional Technology Specialist Kathy Grace, Zampitella hopes the lecture series will bring more students to the CTC, making it a place to come up with creative solutions to real world problems.


This article originally appeared in Wicked Local Winchester: http://winchester.wickedlocal.com/news/20161120/technology-artist-encourages-winchester-students


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