All Lower School faculty teach technology skills integrated with classroom learning and projects. The Lower School Librarian and Instigator provide additional experiences and support.
Here are just a few examples:
Fifth graders continue to expand their knowledge of coding and robotics by completing the final level of the Code.org elementary curriculum. They learn sophisticated coding skills such as conditionals, variables, and functions which help them create programs that respond to user input or perform more complex operations. The students generalize these skills over a variety of block programming apps (code.org, Scratch, LEGO Mindstorms). Block programming allows students to code without having to worry about typos or syntax and is used to teach coding even at the college level. One of the many benefits of coding and robotics is that it helps students apply math concepts in meaningful ways. Geometry concepts such as calculating internal angles of polygons can be abstract, but when students are using those skills to teach their robot to drive or their character on the screen to draw a snowflake, the concepts become much more concrete.
In Pre-K 3, 4, and Kindergarten myriad technology tools aid learning and age-appropriate projects: Nabi, very large android screen tablets, allow for group interactive learning games, See-Saw iPad application for recording original stories and serving as a virtual portfolio for student work, Smartboards for assessment of skills and interactive centers, and the Green Screen application where students recorded a Career Day video.
Perhaps one of the best examples is the use of the Journey North application where students record data about the monarch caterpillars in their garden. Data are collected from around the world and shared to help track the biannual monarch migrations.
In Episcopal’s Lower School, we are comfortable with technology. But we use it as a vehicle for inquiry learning and projects not as an end in itself.