You may be surprised to learn that I believe that technology is neither good nor bad, but neutral. For every advancement there are negative consequences. Doubtless, we have all become aware of the serious consequences for education and childhood development presented by the growth of access to new technologies.
Yet, is technology to blame for its misuse? It is people who turn technology into its most degrading forms. Regardless of where you stand on the exposure of children to technology–it is a part of their lives and ours. To avoid that means simply to deny the reality of the world they live in. Therefore, what we will focus on with our Technology theme is maximizing its positive applications, and minimizing its negative ones.
Here are some of the initiatives we began this year, all of which should become a permanent part of our school:
- We became one of the only schools in the United States to include Technology Coding classes into the curriculum. It was added to grades 3-8.
- We added Robotics Teams to all grades from K-8, thereby having more teams than any other school in Nassau County.
- We had several students taking advanced courses online at John Hopkins University
- We had absent students monitoring classes via SKYPE
- We initiated live communications with sister schools, such as the Nile River School in Egypt
- We came up with new policies for In school control of cell phones– so they are available before and after hours for emergencies, but do not interfere during classes.
- We started workshops on texting etiquette and the consequences of public social media data.
A key partner in these efforts has been the IT department of Hofstra University. They provided graduate students to teach Python, Databases, HTML, and Scratch.
Our technology efforts will continue in the future as we envision more online courses, E-days replacing snow days, a local Wikipedia, and improved security.