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ISH: A home away from home

Technology in the Junior School

Technology use is not hard to come by this year! In the Junior School, students have been hard at work using Seesaw to complete their online learning throughout the remote learning time. I have seen students go on dinosaur explorations, explore volcanoes on Google Earth, create digital non-fiction books, learn and videotape a Mathematics rap to learn doubling in addition, engineer and design their creation of Mars Rover prototypes, and showcase their knowledge in numerous presentations, video conversations, and number talks online. While it has been a difficult year, it has been a rewarding experience to see all the amazing things students have created online. Throughout the experience, students have been incredibly resilient, resourceful and quick to showcase their own technology knowledge to other students or even their teachers.

While we are on campus, students and their teachers have been enthusiastically engaged in using Seesaw, Google Drive, BrainPOP, Tumblebooks, and many other mathematical and reading apps designed for iPads to compliment their awesome daily instruction. Often in our classrooms, if I come in, I will see teachers using their classroom iPads for a variety of things: In whole classroom situations, teachers often use their iPads for station activities or individual learning experiences with students to help them build their skills in Mathematics and writing, to showcase their learning using the platform Seesaw, using QR codes to connect to learning experiences, or document their learning through video explanations. In one-on-one settings such as EAL or in support services, students will use appropriate apps on the iPads to assist their learning, such as read-along apps or tactile and highly visual apps that aid their learning goals.

To highlight a few learning opportunities this year is like picking a favorite child—there are so many things students have accomplished, and we look forward to providing more opportunities next year! In the 1st grade, students have explored using a variety of technology: from “visiting” galactic planets as part of a research project on our solar system with green screen technology to using Bloxels to build their own video game characters as part of their Toymaker unit. In 5th grade, students actually built the video games themselves using Bloxels to design, code, and test a video game that could be appropriately made and played by a first grader. Then the first graders got a chance to product test and give feedback to their fifth grade game makers who in turn revised and further product tested their games!

Also in third, fourth and fifth grade, to make sure students are able to technologically transition to the Secondary School, students have done a deep dive into digital citizenship topics including but not limited to the following:

  • learning etiquette and respectful treatment of others online
  • tracking their technology use over time and discussing how to balance technology usage in their daily lives
  • understanding plagiarism and how to avoid accidental plagiarism
  • creating amazing, engaging presentations in Google Slides for shared formal presentations
  • learning the latest in Google citation tools and online databases for research

Meanwhile in second grade, students have learned the ins and outs of film production by writing, directing, filming and editing their own film. Additionally, in our STEAM Club, fourth and fifth grade students have learned how to code their own games, create 3D designs with computer aided design software, and were just about to start creating music compositions through coding with EarSketch.

Upcoming technology opportunities include block-based coding initiatives, students engaging in digital citizenship learning experiences, incorporating more Google tools in fourth and fifth grade, and using an iPad app which will allow students to animate their historical fiction stories. There are so many vibrant opportunities to integrate technology in the learning at ISH— I am so proud of the passionate and creative way students and teachers have seized these innovative opportunities!

By Laura Jakubowski, Junior School IT Coach