Technology in the Classroom

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Technology in the Classroom

Our technology resources allow elementary students the opportunity to utilize the benefits that technology can offer in terms of research and multimedia access to course content that brings information alive in a way that traditional teaching tools cannot always do.  Our faculty strives to strike the appropriate balance of traditional and technology-enhanced instruction so that students learn how to utilize technology responsibly. 

Beginning in kindergarten, ICS students attend a weekly technology class. Integration with grade level curriculum guides application of concepts wherever possible. Kindergartners begin with learning basic computer operations, including mouse skills, keyboard layout and initial discussions of safe technology practices. Sequencing is used to lay the foundations for concepts of coding. Each grade level builds upon the prior year, layering on higher levels of understanding and application, incorporating documents, presentations, spreadsheets, digital citizenship, Internet safety, copyright and plagiarism, the design process for engineering, coding and 3-D design concepts.

Preschool

All Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 classrooms are equipped with BenQ Boards enabling teachers to offer interactive instruction to our youngest students. Websites such as Starfall, ABC Ya and IXL provide integrated language arts, math and music lessons that allow students to access introductory academic concepts in a fun and age-appropriate presentation format.

Kindergarten

Technology usage in the kindergarten classrooms is primarily in the form of guided instruction. All kindergarten classrooms are equipped with BenQ Boards used by teachers to present interactive lessons where appropriate. As a class, students can see letter formation demonstrated, practice letter sounds aloud with classmates, or observe visual representations of mathematics concepts that enable them to apply that understanding independently. Although a device cart is available for kindergarten classes to access, usage is infrequent at this early grade level. Parents are provided with online resources that can be accessed with their child at home for extra practice or reinforcement of skills.

Elementary School

Technology usage by students varies by grade level in the elementary school, with students gaining increasing levels of competency over time. With laser projection systems in all classrooms beginning in the 2nd grade, and interactive BenQ Boards in 1st grade classrooms, technology-aided instruction allows teachers to bring concepts alive. In our primary science lab, study of habitats can be enhanced with webcam viewing of arctic or rainforest zones, in elementary school social studies classes viewing of historic sites and video of actual events enhances student understanding, and mathematical concepts and algorithms can be demonstrated visually for students to observe, troubleshoot and predict outcomes.

All elementary grade levels have a Chromebook cart in each homeroom so that every ICS student has a dedicated device. Devices stay at school and are charged each night so that they are always ready for student access when needed.

Device usage in the 1st grade is introductory and occurs late in the school year, focusing on accessing the device outside of the weekly technology class for the first time. In the 2nd grade, devices are integrated into some lessons, but only in teacher-led and guided activities. The whole class can log into their individual Chromebooks while the teacher directs step-by-step activities or learning games. Some independent usage occurs in the 3rd grade, with the IXL platform introduced for skills practice in math and language arts. The technology specials class begins to integrate some interdisciplinary instruction within the social studies curriculum, guiding students in some basic online research and creation of a google slide on a chosen American symbol or a shark tank presentation.  

In the upper elementary grades, devices are utilized in the editing and revision of writing assignments. Drafted on paper, compositions are transferred to a Google Doc to enable teacher feedback to be incorporated as students progress towards a final product. Students begin to use their device to access instructional materials, including activities such as submitting responses to discussion questions posted in online platforms, annotating lesson presentations as a form of note-taking, completing online quizzes, participating in Nearpod interactive classroom presentations, and using google slides to present project-based learning to their classmates. 

Daily homework is posted in Google Classroom at all grade levels. By the 4th and the 5th grades, students are encouraged to begin accessing this independently at home to learn self-monitoring skills and ensure that daily assignments are completed.

Middle School

At the middle school level, ICS students have a true 1:1 Chromebook learning experience. Devices are purchased by parents when students enter the middle school, so they are the property of the student. Students are responsible for taking the Chromebook home daily, where it is typically needed for completion of home assignments, and to bring it back charged each day for use in the classroom where warranted. The devices are maintained and monitored through our IT Department. When devices are issued they are pre-loaded with e-books, instructional software, and security features that are consistent for all students. At the beginning of the school year, students are oriented to the device and to acceptable use policies, and ongoing support is available to parents and students for software issues, security concerns, and even loaner devices when needed.

ICS middle schoolers interact daily with Google Classroom. Homework assignments are posted there so students have an online record of assignments given in class. Teacher presentations are often posted so that students can add their own clarifying notes to them during the class period. Students may choose to access the electronic form of a textbook at home or in class. The device is most importantly a tool for a great variety of instructional enhancements that are unique to each subject area ranging from recording of pronunciation and conversation in Spanish to use of digital microscopes in science to exploration of geometry concepts through digital visualization in math class.