More than 90 Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District students present examples of modern learning at the sixth annual RE4-21 Learner’s Showcase |

More than 90 Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District students present examples of modern learning at the sixth annual RE4-21 Learner’s Showcase

James Redmond

Some days his group had trouble getting enough food, Windsor Middle School eighth-grade student Eli Ball told a room full of parents, students and teachers.

Don't worry though, Eli's presentation referred to a class project requiring him and his fellow students to create a sustainable civilization in the computer game Minecraft.

In his 10-minute session, Eli talked about how his class used the open-world game to learn about communication, teamwork, problem solving, resource management, trade economies and forms of government all in pursuit of creating a lasting civilization with his group.

Eli was one of more than 90 Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District students showcasing modern learning projects and techniques at the sixth annual RE4-21 Learner's Showcase on Thursday night at Severance Middle School.

Teachers, students and family members filled the school's halls and classrooms as they went from presentation to presentation seeing examples of how students used technology in classrooms to code their own art application using python or set up a QR code-based quiz to test their knowledge of Windsor town government.

Two Windsor High School students showed how they created a tutorial video to teach their classmates how to subtract rational expressions. In another session, two Windsor Middle School students showed how they made an 11-minute video titled "If You Give a Kid Chromebook," which played during the showcase's opening ceremony.

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"This event showcases innovative student learning representative of all eight (Windsor-Severance) Re-4 schools," Sheila Bowman, the district's technology and 21st century integration teacher on special assignment, said. Kindergarten students through high school seniors can participate, and this year the event had 41 presentations.

As students set up their presentation, parents and families listened to presentations from district teachers, focusing on how technology has improved their classrooms and how through its use students have learned to love learning. Bowman said students have taken to the technology with such verve she has heard comments from them such as "can we come to school on Saturday?"

The district's "Silver Lining" pilot program received a lot of mentions at the showcase. The program, an acronym of sorts for "students involved in learning via education resources leveraging information and tech integration for growth," focuses on bringing technology, such as Chromebooks, into classrooms at a one-to-one device to student ratio.

As teachers showed their uses of technology, from tracking assignments to cultivation collaboration, the audience watched and listened with rapt attention. After a presentation on how students have used Chromebooks in the classroom to work together to learn, a brief comment from the audience broke the awed silence, "that's awesome."