Bedford Schools Technology Showcase: A Commentary by Ralph Hammond

March 20, 2014

By Ralph Hammond

Ralph Hammond with the Bedford Schools' webmaster at Technology Showcase, 2014
Ralph Hammond with the Bedford Schools’ webmaster at Technology Showcase, 2014

The Bedford Schools’  Technology Showcase was one fantastic experience, and Bedford must continue to showcase and promote the wonderful achievements by our students far more often.

In the spring of 1978 the first computer was purchased for 5th and 6th grade students at Center Elementary School.  That TRS-80, upgraded from 16K to 32K, was actively used in math, science, and social study classes.

What the students programmed in BASIC convinced the superintendent that computers in education to promote thinking skills was certainly the way to go.  That same computer was also used to do the Attendance Registers, which before that were the dread of all elementary school teachers.  In 1994, K-2 Davis Elementary School became the first school in Bedford to have full Internet access in every classroom.

At this evening’s presentation, much of the really great technology seemed to be at the middle and high school levels.  To keep our upper grade technology strong, we need to bring microscope technology, camera equipment, force and energy measuring technology, cooking and foreign language technology to the primary grade levels.

Little learners can certainly use the high school tools, and through little hands we will quickly learn just how much more powerful our high school students can become. Bring on more cross-grade sharing.  That was just fantastic.

In Abram English Brown’s “History of the Town of Bedford” written in 1891, reference was made to Winfred “Win” Fitch, one of two graduates in the Bedford High School class of 1886.

As a BHS student thinking about becoming a teacher in 1963, Win told me just how fortunate he was to be in a grade 1-6 classroom at West School on Concord Road. First graders shared with sixth graders and sixth graders shared with everyone, allowing the teacher to actually teach each student less but allowing each student far more time to learn. Peer learning and peer teaching was critical then, and is important now, especially in the middle school.  Perhaps the technology of today can bring out the best of the best values of our past.

As Win Fitch was proud to provide part of his land for the town for the Davis School, Bedford students can always be proud of what they can do and more importantly continue to be proud of what they will do in their future.

Editor’s Note: Now retired from active teaching in the schools, Ralph Hammond was Bedford’s first Director of Computer Education as well as Assistant Principal at Center School, and Principal of Lane School and then Davis School.

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