Technology is our children’s world. It allows them to reach a wide audience, communicate with others, create their own work in multiple media and access information. Our students’ work is learning with and through technology. Our work is to keep up with the ever-changing IT landscape. In order to be on the cutting edge, we have implemented a 1:1 iPad Program from JK to GR 6. The use of iPads with our youngest students sets the stage for future learning. While our students come to us already demonstrating great iPad skills, we focus on the use of iPads for learning rather than entertainment. This is exciting for the children because it empowers them to be creators rather than consumers.
Our 2020 vision for SBS calls for Visible Thinking, citizenship and the Permeable Schoolhouse for our students. Our 1:1 iPads contribute to all three goals. We enable our students to willingly extend their learning beyond the walls of their studio and the school. With their iPad they have the tools to do just that, whether they make a video about something they learned, create a book with a unique story, research a topic on the web or communicate with their peers about homework. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were to assign them less work, but they would engage in active learning more? Because they are motivated, interested, curious and eager to continue with their inquiries beyond the school day?
We are very aware that today’s technology and the pace of change bring challenges as well as benefits. In order for our students to learn responsible use of IT from an early age we teach Digital Citizenship beginning in JK. In addition, we strive to maintain a balance between screen time and traditional learning methods.
The iPads offer many benefits in the elementary Learning Studio. We can offer a much wider range of reading materials on their devices. Individualizing spelling programs just became much easier. Creating multi-media presentations is accessible for all age levels. This is tremendously exciting with the iPads, where students can use multiple sources of their work in one presentation. In these ways our students’ thinking does indeed become more visible. We are just beginning to tap into the range of uses of the iPad with our students. These are exciting times at Sunnybrook School.
IT tools which complement the iPads include SMART Boards in all our Learning Studios, Apple TV, a laptop computer lab for older students, cameras, sound and video equipment, printers and scanners.