Making Technology Second Nature in the Classroom
In a world where children are already digital natives – familiar with the ins-and-outs of technology in daily life – it makes sense that technology is embedded in our curricula, allowing students the opportunity and tools to safely practice new skills and learn about innovations they will be using in the future.
That is why a computer lab is not enough. Although our students consistently apply technology skills to classroom projects – from multimedia publishing to website design–there are greater questions to be asked:
- How can we, as digital citizens, help create a safe and positive online experience for everyone?
- What tools can we use to find and evaluate appropriate information to solve problems – and how?
- Where and how should we collaborate and share our solutions?
These are some of the core questions that drive the 21st century skills our students learn and apply in their daily academic lives at Stevenson School.
Elementary Grades: Intuitive Learning
In the Elementary Grades, students begin with Apple iPads in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 1, when touch screens are fun and intuitive for young children, and countless, age-appropriate applications are available to enhance their learning in class.
Technology discovery and skills are gradually introduced in later grades with keyboarding practice and creative multimedia and writing, using MacBook laptops, which are available to every student in Grades 2-4.
Grades 4-6: Productivity and Skill Building
In our Grades 4-6, students learn and use expanded productivity skills such as word processing, mind mapping, multimedia, and website publishing. After developing an understanding of the tools, they begin using them regularly in classroom projects to express their ideas and solutions.
In Grade 5, technology is weaved even further into the school curricula as students engage in our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program. This cross-curricular approach allows for students to apply several disciplines into key projects throughout the year, providing a more real-world, project-based experience for the students. In many of these projects, students are introduced to unique and modern technologies, including drones, robotics, wearable technology, microprocessors and more.
As students approach Grade 6, keyboarding practice gradually phases from skill building to practical use. As students rely more on internet research and communication, they begin their exploration of digital citizenship by learning and practicing safe, ethical, and effective searching and communication.
These trends continue as the students enter the Middle Grades. They are empowered with the skills needed for vigorous research and creative endeavors in classroom projects.
Middle Grades: Research, Development, and Design
Students in Grade 5-8 are required to own a personal laptop, and are provided with an e-mail address from Stevenson School. This unique laptop program continues in Grades 9-12 at the Pebble Beach Campus. Students learn invaluable lessons in personal laptop care, and appropriate communication use with both the academic community and the world around them.
In Grades 5-8, students learn to demonstrate their work online with an e-Portfolio website. As they build and present their projects to the school community, they are able to publish, reflect, and self-evaluate – all while learning to design and develop, and behave, on the internet.
Coding and Computer Science Curricula
Students are introduced to computer science and computational thinking in the elementary grades. With or without a computer, the act of sorting, categorizing, and spacial mathematics practice sets a foundation for later development. In Grades 3-6, students are introduced to MIT’s Scratch, Code.org, LabView for Robotics, and other age-appropriate environments where they learn that programming is useful, approachable, and even fun.
Opportunities in computer science increase from Grades 5 through 12, where students may choose to join coding electives and clubs, robotics teams, courses such as ROV engineering and mobile app development, and more.
Digital Citizenship and Online Safety for All
From the second that students are first introduced to technology at Stevenson, we begin to reinforce the practice of being an stand-up “digital citizen.” Students learn how - and why - to be safe and appropriate while using technology on our campus and at home, and then apply those concepts to their broader audience on the internet. Through our many online tools to enhance their learning - Edsby, Google Apps, e-Portfolios, and email to name a few - students have ample opportunity to learn and practice how to “be their true selves” online and to represent themselves as productive and responsible citizens.
We are proud to partner with Common Sense Media
in providing professional development for our faculty in digital citizenship.
Technology Resources and Security
To support our learning environment, audio and visual equipment is installed in each room as requested by faculty, so to support their vision for the classroom ecosystem and pedagogy. This includes SMARTboards, AppleTV, flatscreen televisions, and more. Other subject-specific resources are available, such as handheld computers and probes in science, iPad tablets, video and still cameras, to name a few.
To allow for continuous and safe research throughout the school, student accounts are protected by content firewall and continuous faculty moderation.
Technology thrives as an everyday resource for our community at Stevenson. It furthers our communication, enhances our experiences and research, and enables us to teach, and to learn, in ways we never imagined.