At The Elisabeth Morrow School, technology is integrated into the curriculum; it is part of many areas of study and resulting projects. The School is committed to keeping current in hardware, software, use of the Internet and its increasing possibilities for collaboration using external sites.
The tools we use to teach will constantly change, but the core of what students need to know remains constant. Beyond essential academic skills, teaching students how to think independently, question, hypothesize, investigate, analyze, collaborate and effectively communicate are at the heart of what we have always taught. Technology simply provides new and innovative tools to develop and expand those skills. Just as we expect our students to be good citizens in and out of school, we teach and then expect the skills and attitudes that will reflect good citizenship in their “online” interactions.
With so many exciting and enticing new technologies available, it can be overwhelming to determine what makes the most sense. We are guided by our belief that technology should be a backbone throughout our buildings and should support and enrich the curriculum in all areas. At Elisabeth Morrow, curriculum comes first while technology, as an enhancing tool, is secondary. Concurrently, we also introduce skills relevant to the technology our students use; our ultimate goal is to equip them with the ability to navigate, adapt and be successful in a rapidly changing world.
The Elisabeth Morrow School uses The National Educational Technology Standards for Students, which were developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) as a guide. The following areas are covered at the level appropriate for each grade level.
Students learn how to navigate the local computers as well as the School’s network, and the Internet, learning common vocabulary and the management of all their files. Students start formal keyboarding instruction in third grade.
To support the curriculum, students use graphic organizers, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs. Students learn to conduct research online with a focus on searching, assessing, authenticating, and citing sources. Student use a variety of multimedia tools to communicate what they have learned. Movies, slideshows, photo books, podcasts, and Voicethread, are just a few examples.
Interactive Social Media
Students practice collaboration, digital citizenship and online safety through the use of a variety of tools.
Students collaborate with each other and teachers using First Class (our email and communications system) and Google Docs (an online collaborative suite). These tools allow students to work together, both in class and remotely. They also use a number of online tools to collaborate with students in other schools. These Web 2.0 tools include, but are not limited to, blogs, wikis, Skype, Google Sites and Voicethread.
Developmentally, appropriate virtual environments are used to model, practice and develop online citizenship, etiquette and safe behavior. These spaces foster the development of an array of essential 21st century skills as outlined in The National Educational Technology Standards for Students.
The Elisabeth Morrow School is committed to helping our students by providing a 21st century faculty; teachers who are always learning and stretching their own ability to use technology. We are committed to providing abundant access to a well-maintained fleet of computers with an array of productivity and educational software to enhance their learning.
We are committed to providing our students with opportunities to use and explore interactive social media within controlled spaces in order to model and practice safe, smart and civil behavior online.
We understand that the paradigm in education is shifting . Faculty, parents and students must work together to ensure safe and smart navigation of this new, uncharted frontier. It can feel quite disorienting to be an adult trying to provide guidance in a world we hardly recognize. Nevertheless, if we remember that the tools will change but what students need to learn to be successful adults remains constant, we will have the wisdom and experience to navigate this uncharted territory with our children.
Our technology faculty is always available to answer questions, give examples of projects, advise on online safety issues or otherwise be of help to parents.
Sarah Rolle, Director of Technology
Marianne Malmstrom, Technology Teacher
Micah Malmstrom, Technician