Saugus school superintendent promotes technology

SAUGUS – Saugus School Superintendent Richard Langlois says advancements in technology could prove key to helping many students learn to read and embrace literature.Langlois and Director of Pupil Personnel Services Cynthia Joyce told the School Committee Thursday about their experiences with reading devices like Kindle and Nook and how it has shaped their plans for equipment purchases.According to Langlois, some school districts have purchased iPads for every high school student, an expensive proposition which allows them to connect to the Internet. By purchasing Kindles or similar reading devices, Saugus students can take advantage of electronic book archives without being distracted by Web surfing, he said.Joyce humorously recalled how she received a Kindle as a Christmas gift and turned it back. “I returned it. I said, ?I’ll never us this.’ But I was wrong,” she said, explaining her passion for electronic literature displayed on the font-adjustable, non-glare screen of her Kindle. “I went in with a bad attitude. I admit it. But it’s very exciting.”Both Langlois and Joyce clarified they are not recommending any particular brand or model of reading devices. Langlois said he has used the Nook. He told the committee thousands of books are available at no charge and can be downloaded in a matter of seconds.”It’s important that these kids read and not just what is on the mandatory reading list,” he said. “But we don’t want to have to control access to the Internet. We just want to foster reading.”The high school currently has 10 iPads that seem most beneficial to students with special needs, he said.The superintendent said a new educational assessment and vision is being created, which includes teachers grabbing hold of the latest technology and dovetailing electronic books into their curriculum.”It’s all about access to books,” said Langlois.School Committee member Arthur Grabowski commended Langlois and Joyce for showing wisdom in recommending the purchase of reading devices unable to link to the Internet. He noted with a Saugus public library card, students armed with Kindles or other readers can download thousands of books.Langlois also announced Thursday as part of his superintendent’s report the hiring of Saugus resident Lori Gallivan as principal of the Lynnhurst Elementary School. Gallivan currently is an elementary school principal in Newburyport, he said.

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