Bringing computers to the classroom: uniting modalities for a student-centered education
By Kevin Yaley, Head of Francis Parker School
Not long ago, the thought of using computers in the classroom would have sounded like a science fiction fantasy. But today, technology is an integral part of our daily lives – and an increasingly significant educational tool. Widespread use of digital technology has inspired many schools to implement computer-based learning models; but even as they marvel at the possibilities posed by computer technology, teachers also face challenges when it comes to integrating such technology into a traditional classroom environment.
Some teachers hail computers as a timesaving tool that frees up valuable class time through the use of online learning programs. Others, however, bemoan the challenges of assessing individual student progress with computer-based assignments, and of balancing independent online study with the pace of group learning. In order to strike a happy medium, it is thus important to include a certain degree of flexibility in the curriculum. Fortunately, independent schools are well positioned to do just that: to create an environment in which both teachers’ and students’ needs may be met.
In order to prepare students properly for life outside the classroom, it is imperative to include some degree of technological education in any successful college preparatory curriculum. Therefore, the challenge for our teachers is to foster a system that does this while also permitting students to progress at their own pace, and without sacrificing opportunities for collaboration and creativity in the classroom. Such a system requires teachers to be intimately familiar with the computer programs being used in schools, and to understand how those programs can help students expand and develop their thinking – not just at school, but at home and in the world at large.
Independent schools: a prime venue for innovation and opportunity
At Francis Parker School, we offer an independent education designed to create citizens of the world. We are committed to individualized instruction, and make every effort to strike a balance between encouraging academic excellence and fostering each student’s unique talents and abilities. To this end, we have begun a one-to-one iPad program at Parker, designed to allow every student on campus to have access to an iPad for in-class use when appropriate. By teaching our students when and how to use technology effectively, we aim to integrate digital learning into our curriculum in such as way as to meet students at their own levels, and prepare them to take responsibility for their own progress. Learn more about technology at Francis Parker School today: visit www.francisparker.org.
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