Freshmen Blazing the Trail for Upper School Technology
Posted 09/01/2016 03:04PM
Story by Jennifer Good
Our 9th grade students are blazing the trail for greater technology use in Upper School classrooms. This week they all received their school issued Google Chromebook. Our goal is to provide expanded educational opportunities, increased engagement and curiosity in the classroom, and to respond more effectively to the unique learning styles of today's students.
Bob McCollum, Upper School Principal, said "Our students are what are called 'digital natives.' With the one-to-one Chromebook laptop program, we can teach them in their natural habitat, so to speak, by greatly enhancing the resources that teachers and students can access for instruction and learning."
A one-to-one program means that all students are provided with a school-owned computer assigned for their use at school and at home. This began in our Middle School three years ago with the Class of 2020, our current 9th graders. Each year another grade was added to this initiative and this year the one-to-one program begins at the Upper School.
Recent studies and our experiences with Chromebooks at the AACS Middle School have shown that students have responded with greater curiosity and engagement in their learning. "At the same time" says Mr. McCollum, "the Chromebook is just a tool for learning and, like a hammer, it is only useful for some tasks but not for all. We see this as a great opportunity to help high school students understand the power, both good and bad, of technolgy and to help them develop as Christian technologists enabling them to impact the digital world for Jesus Christ."
The Chromebooks were handed out in English class this past week. Policies and procedures about usage, access at home, printing, charging, and more were all explained in addition to the basic mechanics of the Chromebooks.
A lot of preparation went into this week's delivery of Chromebooks. AACS engaged Beyond Technology Education (BTE) to help improve our instructional technology game for the entire Upper School. BTE also provided three training sessions specifically for the teachers of freshmen, including instruction on setting up a Google classroom. Steve Deterding, Director of IT at AACS, has also been working behind the scenes all summer preparing the Chromebooks for distribution this week.
Technology has become a critical part of learning, expanding the classroom beyond traditional limits of time and space. Now that all freshmen have a school issued Chromebook, our sophomore through senior classes will have greater access to our mobile computer carts and computer lab. Technology training will also be expanded for all Upper School faculty. The plan is to add one grade to this one-to-one program each year, with the class of 2020 continuing to lead the way. It's been only a few days, but so far so good!