Ringgold Elementary School is leading the way in technology rich education, offering a variety of opportunities for students and parents to communicate and learn using today's latest technology.

To learn more about these programs, parents participated in a Tech Night workshop held at the school. Three stations were offered and led by administrators and staff, educating parents about Gaggle, Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Parent Portal, group messaging, and more.

Technology director, Steve Sawyer, shared valuable information about Gaggle. Using this program, teachers can post thing such as assignments, announcements and reminders. Students can do their work while at school or home and then submit the assignment electronically to their teachers.

Each student has his/her own e-mail account, which is accessible by parents and school staff. Many expressed concerns about security and cyber bullying. Sawyer and Braden Moreland, assistant principal, assured parents the program was secure.

“Gaggle is extremely safe,” Sawyer said. “The program is designed to be child-friendly with the utmost security.” Numerous examples were given to illustrate the level of security Gaggle provides.

At another station, Kim Erwin, principal, and Tina Hay, technology specialist, reviewed opportunities for students who bring their own technology or device to school for academic use. Beginning the second nine weeks, students may bring smartphones, lap tops and electronic notepads to school for work completion using the school's server which has a strict firewall, as well.

Whether or not a child brings personal devices is the decision of the parents and guardians and is not a requirement. RES has 14 iPads in every classroom, as well as several desktops and/or laptops. The school also has two class-size labs for student use.

The third workshop was in a computer lab with computer teacher, Kristy Chastain and math teacher, Tami Fava, who answered many questions from parents about accessing Parent Portal for grades, receipts, lunch accounts, and messages.

Parents were encouraged to join the messaging group to receive RES text alerts and school system information. Chastain discussed how she is teaching children to use Gaggle in the lab and how her curriculum uses technology safely and respectfully.

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