Thinking about ED-Tech

As a school that strongly believes in the presence of ED-Tech to elevate and amplify learning, we strive to create vs consume and ensure our students have the tools and aptitudes to use technology responsibly. Through our work, our students are definitely ahead of the curve.

That starts with being an Apple Distinguished School and how that shapes our approach to learning. We are driven to look at our use of ED-Tech through the SAMR lens which ensures we engage in purposeful use of technology (refer to last week’s Mailchimp for a visual of SAMR model) If it can be done without an iPad or a technology tool, then that is what we will do. Whether it is using the Apple Suite of products like Keynote or iMovie, or Seesaw and Google Classroom, drones and Lego We-Do, IXL and Zorbits; it all has the purpose of advancing the skill set and knowledge of our students.

Here is an Apple commercial that really exemplifies the power of technology to engage and redefine the learning experience of our students.

Beyond learning, the use of ED-Tech has another equally important component at this age. By providing our students with the responsibility of their own iPads, they learn how to use them appropriately. I often say that by providing students in elementary with iPads we have the opportunity to truly shape their behavior and view on technology. I say that because students in elementary school truly listen to the adults around them and what we say sets their moral compass. With that, we have the ability to shape their thinking and actions. Not that this isn’t possible when they are 13, 14 or older, but it can be a greater challenge at that age as their curiosity and independence from adults grows.

At school we have the students sign an iPad agreement that our teachers review with the students at the beginning of the year. This encompasses everything from how to hold the iPad, to appropriate use, to sharing of consequences. Over our time with Covid our iPads were utilized to a greater degree than ever before. As we return to our regular school environments and collaborative learning we will begin to redefine our use of technology. Our iPads and technology will continue to be ubiquitous in our learning experiences but more purposeful as we balance a return to using paper and pencil in our daily work.

At home you can support the shaping of your child’s use of technology in the following ways:

  • Limit the amount of time your child uses their iPad.
  • When your child uses their school iPad at home, ensure they are learning or creating. The school iPad should be seen by the students as a learning tool in the classroom and at home. It should not be used for non-learning entertainment. (Information from Common Sense Media about time and purpose)
  • Keep your child’s iPad in a central room in your house. Do not let them take their iPad to their bedroom.
  • School iPads should not be used for Zoom meetings outside of school. Please use your personal iPads, and we would suggest being aware of their conversations.

Though we proudly allow iPads to go home on a daily basis, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure the iPad is being used responsibly outside of school hours. As educators we strive to ensure students are at their digital best at school and we need the help of parents to support their children in the same way at home.

Good character and strong integrity don’t happen by accident. They are shaped through concrete expectations, fair and consistent consequences, role modeling and frequent positive reinforcement and conversation. iPads are tools for learning and we all have a part to play in ensuring our students use this tool appropriately so they are digital citizen role models we all know they can be.

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