AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO BUILDING DIGITAL LITERACY & CITIZENSHIP
By embedding technology in the curriculum we offer students authentic, real-world ways to seek knowledge, problem solve, create content, and analyze data. Technology at The Philadelphia School is purposefully integrated across each curricular module rather than siloed as a separate class or subject. Each component of technology, whether it be hardware or software, devices or apps, is utilized in a developmentally appropriate way to enhance teaching and learning.
The emphasis is making students more self-aware and cognizant consumers of information, as well as emphasizing the role of becoming more thoughtful and skillful creators of digital content. The school's Technology Integrator collaborates with teachers on a regular basis, providing timely professional developmental, and co-leads innovative, tech-based initiatives alongside faculty members.
What does technology look like in our classrooms?
In the Primary Units, a 2:1 student-to-iPad program fosters the early stages of technological fluency as first and second graders listen to reading, practice math remediation, animate plays, and demonstrate knowledge of foundational coding concepts through iOS apps. Students learn the basics of how to operate and care for their devices and grow in their understanding of technology's appropriate use.
Chromebooks are the primary tool used in third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms, where students learn to type and harness the collaborative power of Google Apps for Education (GAFE), creating and editing documents, composing research publications, blogging reflections, and designing presentations. The students engage in digital citizenship coursework throughout the year as they grapple with such challenges as digital footprint maintenance, conscientious social media use, and consumption versus creation during screen time.
In middle school, students migrate from a 1:1 Chromebook ecosystem to a 1:1 MacBook Air environment as they explore the iWorks suite and OS X apps and dive deeper into Google Drive, Chrome, and GAFE. Middle schoolers enroll in Edmodo groups, or digital classrooms that exist within the school's learning management system, where students communicate with their teachers and peers, submit work online, take quick quizzes, access project rubrics/directions, and host discussions on relevant topics. Students become more proficient with their email etiquette and continue the digital citizenry curriculum by evaluating proper usage of personal mobile devices, applying criteria for reliable research resources, analyzing/interpreting data, and responsibly balancing fun gaming experiences with educationally enriching opportunities.
The implementation of various apps and the deployment of different devices dependent on a student's level promote technological literacy and a growth mindset. Each student graduates with a solid foundation from which to construct a continually improving knowledge of online learning and agility with technology.