Technology Program Overview
Along with our library program, our technology program builds specific academic technical skills that are integrated with core curriculum to enhance project-based learning and the workshop model. Technology integration is designed to expand and enhance the core academic curriculum in general studies including math, science, social studies, and Language Arts.
Students in 3rd to 4th grades learn how to critically evaluate website content, perform library searches, give PowerPoint presentations, and create animations. In 2nd through 6th grades, students use iPads to integrate technology into core classrooms. The introduction of Google Apps for Education in 4th grade allows students to work collaboratively on school assignments.
Digital citizenship is a core component of our Intermediate school technology program. Our technology program focuses both on technical skills and the bigger picture. Particularly in this day of intense social media, we want to be sure our students practice online safety and know the importance of managing their digital footprints, practice critical website evaluation, and understand intellectual property rights.
We have a 1:1 iPad program that provides on-demand access to technology, as well as labs of Mac desktops to share. Students have dedicated time to learn and gain expertise in specific technology skills to help them succeed in their academic courses. Critical site evaluation skills, Internet searching skills, presentation skills, and proper citation are stressed so that students are able to research and write effectively. And students utilize many different computer programs and related technologies to help them create multimedia projects as part of their course work.
The power in the iPad as a learning tool is that it provides students with an array of choices and supports that can help them individualize their own learning. This means that students benefit most from learning a handful of high utility applications and not from using single skill focused Apps. Instead of using an App for skill building, students use Apps to differentiate their learning, including the creation of products. Further, these high utility Apps can be used for any area of the curriculum and children at multiple grade levels and abilities. The iPad is a much more versatile tool when students use it to convey their thinking and not strictly as a means to practice isolated skills.
Overall, we are using multipurpose apps to allow students to use the iPad to demonstrate their understanding of concepts, to show their thinking in flexible and creative ways, and to self-differentiate their learning.
As a powerful learning tool, the iPad provides students an array of choices and supports that can help them individualize their own learning while promoting independent decision-making. Students benefit most from learning a handful of multipurpose applications instead of by using single skill-focused Apps.Further, these multipurpose Apps can be used for any area of the curriculum by children at multiple grade levels and abilities. The iPad is a more versatile tool when students use it to convey their thinking rather than strictly as a means to practice isolated skills. In this presentation, we will share specific strategies for how we have effectively used iPads as a value-added learning tool in our classrooms.