First, let me welcome you to our newly renovated technology lab. Thanks to a generous donation, BCS recently upgraded our computer lab, by installing brand new touch screen computers and furniture that more easily allows for student collaboration. We couldn’t be more grateful.
Technology at BCS is more than devices- it is an integral part of the learning skills and attitudes that are necessary for our students to succeed in higher learning, in employment, and in life. It involves students and teachers learning and discovering together. It is not only learning the operation of a computer or iPad but also learning to use technology responsibly, appropriately, and respectfully.
The pace of technological change has surpassed anyone’s capacity to develop enough wisdom to handle it. The challenge we face is this: how best to equip our students for a future that is unknown.
However, I’m encouraged by the story of Daniel in the Bible. He was a young man ripped literally away from his homeland, any yet he became influential to those around him, learning their culture and customs, yet remaining faithful to the Lord. Our children can do the same, but in the digital world.
We teach….beginning as early as PreK, how to be good digital citizens, to understand the importance of asking their parents permission before going on the internet, only going to appropriate websites for them, and not talking to strangers online. They learn how the internet works, what different input and output devices are, and how to navigate a software application or website. As students move forward-from learning word-processing, spreadsheets and graphics programs, we begin building websites and writing code.
Beginning in fourth grade, students are given access to the G-Suite for Education. Just using Google Classroom alone, has made it so much easier for me to create assignments, send announcements, and instantly start classroom discussions with just a click of a button. Our students can share resources and interact in real-time. As students move into middle school, we begin looking at what it means to have a digital footprint, how to navigate social media, how to protect their privacy, and find trustworthy and reliable websites to glean research from.
It’s important to realize that I get the pleasure of working with over 400 students weekly, individually, as well as in groups to teach them the skills necessary to be lifelong learners. They come to me with a wide range of skills, knowledge, and learning abilities, and I try to meet each of my students right where they are. Some students in my class require more one-on-one interaction, while others just have a knack for computers. Regardless, I’m here to help. Some students may be more adept at certain tasks, like designing a brochure or a slideshow, while others may be naturally drawn to graphic design using Photoshop or computer programming. It really is all about helping each child develop their God-given talents, and seeing where their interest lie.
For my students, who want to continue learning computer science, I offer an additional elective in middle school, called Computer Science Discoveries. In that class, we dive even deeper into web development, animations and games, and physical computing.
Please, don’t hesitate to stop by the technology lab anytime, and see what we are doing. We would love to have you.