Lower School Technology
Our goal in Lower School is to use technology in meaningful ways to create student-centered, inquiry-based learning environments. In our fast-paced world, it is critical that we find ways for students to design, create, problem-solve, connect, and collaborate within their own classroom as well as with others around the globe. Educational technology is planned to help each student reach his/her greatest potential, always with pedagogy at the forefront, then choosing technology that augments and redefines the learning.
The digital learning specialist works closely with teachers to integrate the technology into the curriculum effectively, focusing on creation versus consumption. Students have access to a digital learning lab as well as shared iPad carts for each grade level. Our first through fourth graders blog on a regular basis, sharing their work with friends, family, and students from other schools. Students demonstrate curricular learning through a variety of iPad apps (i.e. creating videos, screencasts, ePub books). In addition, students learn productivity applications as well as keyboarding skills. Discussions on digital literacy and citizenship begin at an early age and are woven through lessons in age-appropriate ways.
Computational thinking and beginning coding are an integral part of the curriculum. In December, we celebrate the Hour of Code as a special focus on programming. This is just the beginning, however. Throughout the year, students explore a variety of apps and online programs that are often combined with programmable robots. Tickle App, code.org, Kodable, and Lightbot are just a few of the programs students explore. Ozobots, Osmo Coding, Ollie, and Sphero are some of the robots available in the lab. Why code in the early ages? It is an excellent way to improve logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
As part of the Digital Learning Lab, our makerspace encourages students to discover their talents and interests through making, designing, and creating. Children learn the value of perseverance as they find that sometimes things don’t work as planned. Besides high-tech items, we also have a variety of low-tech supplies (circuits, Makey Makey kits, Legos, and much more).
Please visit TVS TechnoWizards for an assortment of resources that are used in our lab classes. There are also examples of projects that students have created. The TVS Tech Tips blog provides more details regarding student projects.