Ed Tech Boom: Connecticut School Opens Digital Media Center

Ridgefield Academy's new $1.1 million digital media arts center is set to enable educators to infuse state-of-the-art technologies into lessons throughout the curriculum, echoing President Obama's National Education Technology Plan that called for "revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering".

The new digital media arts center known as "The Bridge," will enrich the curriculum and engage students by infusing education technologies into the learning experience.

"In just a few short weeks since school started, the power of the digital media arts has already begun to transform the way our student approach storytelling," said James P. Heus, Head of School at Ridgefield Academy.

"Students are collaborating, they're creating, they're thinking critically. These are essential skills in our global economy, and The Bridge is helping to immerse our students in the language of the future."

With over 330 students from preschool to eighth grade, Ridgefield Academy is an independent school that has pledged to further integrate the digital media arts into each and every subject, utilizing tools from graphic design, film making and green screens to clay animation and robotics.

David Haines has been hired to head up The Bridge. A former teacher at the Katonah Art Center, Haines graduated with a degree in digital arts from Pratt Institute and has worked on a variety of animated television commercials and series.

"This is not simply a computer room. The Bridge provides our faculty with the latest technological tools to help facilitate learning and teaching within our existing curriculum," said Joe Perry, Head of Middle and Upper Schools.

"The new digital tools are clearly engaging our students and augmenting how they learn in every subject."

The Bridge has a collection of books and magazines stacked on shelves just like any traditional library, but students at Ridgefield Academy are learning how to interact with traditional materials using his or her own iPad. The class are able to play on apps and games which allow students to travel the world through books, discovering an array of primary documents, photos, maps – all of which has been uploaded and approved by teachers.

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