Revised June 2013
Paideia uses Apple and Windows computers in labs, in classroom learning stations, and in the media centers. The computers are a mixture of desktops, laptops, iPods and iPads. A metro ethernet line is used for access to electronic mail, local libraries, subscription databases, and the Internet. The school is connected by a campus-wide wireless and hard-wired network that gives access to the Internet and electronic mail from every classroom and office. Our primary goal is to develop uses for technology at all grade levels so that students use technology in a variety of subject areas and environments. A committee of teachers, students, and administrators have developed a three-year technology curriculum plan.
Students in the elementary grades use tutorial programs in math, spelling, word recognition, reading comprehension, science, and social studies. Programs to develop logic/thinking skills are used extensively. The use of the word processor contributes substantially to the success of creative writing classes. Web 2.0 tools are used extensively. The elementary school has adopted a technology skills list by grade level to insure the regular use of technology by students and teachers.
Students in the high school use technology to aid learning in many areas. In physics and in chemistry, simulation programs allow students to explore interactions and situations impossible to duplicate in a laboratory. Laboratory tool kits and probes in conjunction with laptops are used as well. We offer optional classes and independent studies in programming and other advanced skills including HTML, web page design, robotics, apps programming, Maya, and Photoshop. Junior high and high school students also use instructional programs in language arts, social studies, French and Spanish, and mathematics. Music and art classes are often technology based. The school newspaper and yearbook are published using Apple computers and desktop publishing software. Creative writing and writing workshop classes are held in computer labs. Foreign language classes regularly use the Internet for researching newspapers and other materials published in the language of study. Class sets of iPods are also entering the classrooms as teaching and learning tools. The foreign language classrooms can especially benefit from the possibilities that the iPods offer, such as listening exercises and audio recordings. Research projects are created in traditional and multimedia formats; digital cameras, flip cameras and camcorders contribute to the projects. The popularity of these devices directly effects students’ engagement in the learning process.
During the 2011-2012 school year Paideia implemented an extensive pilot project with iPads. iPads were seeded in classrooms K-6 and issued 24/7 to selected teachers throughout the school and participating students in grades 7 -12. Building on the success of the initial pilot, elementary and junior high school classes were issued iPads during the 2012 - 2013 school year. In the high school, students in selected English and history classes used iPads with eBooks. All sophomores will be issued iPads in August of 2013. Parents and students report that the use of iPads improve student organization, access to resources, increased student enjoyment in learning and that e-books help lighten backpack loads.Technology also supports the administration and contributes to the positive community atmosphere at Paideia. Significant contributions to meeting our administrative/community goals are accomplished using:
- The Paideia Website: Our website is seen as our communication link within our campus and community. Some of the features include a Parent Portal a weekly electronic newsletter, volunteer sign-up participation, ordering for Pi Bites, our school lunch program and more access.
- First Class: The First Class mail program supports e-mail, news folders, conferences, personal and group calendars, and on-campus real-time chats. Faculty, staff members, and students in grades 7-12 have full mail accounts. Parents also have limited mail accounts that are primarily used for message delivery. Upper elementary students have mail accounts that limit communication to within the Paideia system.
- PowerSchool: PowerSchool has centralized school wide information into one database making the data accessible to a much wider range of faculty and staff members and facilitating corrections being made in real time. Information in over ten different databases have been consolidated into this one database.
- Promethean ActivBoards: Over 70 percent of our classrooms have Activboards that create interactive digital display spaces where students can view, share, and manipulate materials. Many teachers incorporate the use of Activotes, handheld devices that allow teachers to get instant feedback from students. The devices help generate discussions, gather opinions, and assess student understanding. Several teachers are utilizing the record feature on their Activboards and post videos of their daily lessons on their websites for student review.
- Web 2.0 Tools: Paideia’s teachers are taking advantage of collaborative web 2.0 tools to engage their students in higher order thinking activities. Many are using wikis as interactive websites where students can be involved in knowledge creation. Some students are assigned the job of “daily scribe” to record notes on a blog or a class Google Doc. Classes have held video conferences with field experts in other countries from England to South Africa. Several teachers have shared bookmarks with their classes on social bookmarking sites like delicious.
While many uses of technology at Paideia are similar to those being developed at other schools, our program has evolved some special characteristics which we value.
- Cross-Age Teaching: Opportunities abound in this K-12 setting to cross-age teach, utilizing the expertise of the student population.
- Technology Assistants: Student assistants volunteer their time to assist our program in a number of ways. The technology center is often in full operation without an adult present. Empowering students in this way has fostered a community spirit and set a tone of responsibility and respect.
- Ethics: By example and teaching, a clear policy on honoring copyright laws is maintained.
- Adult Participation: Parents with an interest and an expertise in technology volunteer in the classrooms and serve as informal sounding boards for the curriculum. In past years, numerous parents have taught individual and small group classes, assisted with the web page, and provided technical assistance.
- Software Evaluation and Development: Our teachers and students are constantly evaluating and helping to field test new programs. Appropriate, high quality programs and websites are added to our substantial software library. Programs are cataloged by subject and by recommended age level. The results of our evaluations are frequently published in periodicals and on the web.
- Sharing of Information: The sharing of ideas, successes and mistakes is important. We are cooperating with other schools in efforts to learn from each other and to help schools in all stages of developing and implementing a technology plan. Our efforts include visits to other schools and participation in numerous conferences, professional organizations, teacher workshops, and informal sharing sessions. Paideia was a co-founder of the Atlanta Area Technology Educators users group. The school also reaches out to the community through classes for parents, faculty, and area educators. Paideia serves as a preview center for teachers.
Technology is a powerful instructional medium and today's students must be educated to use these tools. At Paideia students use technology to supplement instruction from teachers and to explore new areas of information. By encouraging independent use, we help develop the attitude that technology is a tool for learning available to all students and under their control. As students learn to use technology, they gain confidence in their ability to think and to learn, a primary goal of education.
Director of Technology