September 14, 2017

Friends is a Leader in Technological Learning

5th grade students build racing chariots from Sphero robots. 6th graders create security systems for their lockers from Little Bits components. 3rd grade students use a design process to identify problems and innovate solutions using Google SketchUp. 

7th graders construct rubber-band powered cars utilizing the 3D printer in the Maker Space at our North Campus. 1st graders develop and test solutions on Kodable and during their Hour of Code.  Middle schoolers research the origins of the minerals used in computer parts and study the impact on the local communities, as well as designing and building their own electronic circuits.

In both our middle and elementary schools, students have been pushing the bounds of their learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.)

Our talented technology teachers, Librarian deana harragarra waters in the elementary school and Director of Technology Stephen Butler in the middle school, inspire our students every day with an ever-evolving curriculum that stays current with the times.  Through PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) and keeping up with latest research, our teachers ensure that Friends School’s technology curriculum is ahead of the curve.

The goals of our technology courses are broad and deep, preparing students for high school, college and professional careers that await them, careers that may not yet exist. We want our students to be informed global and digital citizens, creative problem solvers, constructors of knowledge and meaning, design solution innovators, outstanding communicators, and thoughtful collaborators.

“Over the past 100 years, literally thousands of studies have shown benefits from the use of technology, while others report higher achievement with classroom instruction, and even more result in “no significant difference.” I, like others, believe that such mixed results reveal that the design of instruction makes the difference in learning, not the medium used to deliver the instruction. The question is no longer if technology
enhances learning, but rather how do we improve our use of technology to enhance learning?”
- Atsusi Hirumi, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Central Florida

That final question drives our instruction.  How do we at Friends improve our use of technology to improve learning? Meeting or exceeding ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards, Stephen and deana support their students in leveraging technology in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in STEM.

With enough iPads and laptops in the middle school for every student and, in the elementary building our iPad cart of 20 devices, enough for every class, and 12 computers in our library-based computer
deana harragarra waters
lab, as well as a growing arsenal of robotics kits and coding tools, Friends School is well equipped to remain on the cutting edge of technological learning.

Resources used in our technology classrooms include, but are not limited to:
Stephen Butler
Kahoot, Sumdog, Brain Pop, NoREDInk, Starfall, Follett Destiny Discover, Biblionasium, Google Classroom, Kid Blog, Google Be Internet Awesome, ReadWriteThink, Internet Library for Kids, Google SketchUp, Scratch, Hour of Code, Kodable, Google CS First, Keynote, iBook, Doogle Draw, Android Yourself, Storybird, Canva, Padlet, AutoDraw, Lego WeDo, Sphero, Cubelets, and more…..

Our students are challenged to create, to make, to invent and to problem solve in a wide range of modalities that spark their creativity and interest. Thank you to deana and Stephen for their expertise, passion and leadership for our school. 

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