Technology has been integrated into our lives at a level so profound that most of us find it difficult to imagine a life without it; even those of us old enough to have lived a life without it or, at least, much less of it. Whether or not that’s good or bad is not what is important. What’s important is that we recognize that fact. It is that recognition that allows us to begin to understand how to take advantage of the positive aspects of technology while learning to navigate and cope with the not-so-good ones.
Technology skills are not only integral to successful academic and professional careers but are also best learned in the context of other learning, and not in an isolated technology class or computer lab. Students better understand charts and graphs, and how to make them, using a spreadsheet tool, when working on a project in Science or Math class. Students best understand how to navigate a blogging and word processing tool when writing for a Literature class, and so on. This doesn’t negate the need for a technology focused class, but reimagines that technology class as a place where students can gain a deeper understanding of advanced tech skills, like coding, software development, and robotics.
At Academia Cotopaxi, we help our students understand organizational tools like digital calendars and online file storage systems. We work to make them masters of creative media production tools, like video and image editors. We help them make the most of important productivity tools like word processors and spreadsheets. We teach them how to find reliable sources well beyond a simple Google search. We help them think before they post a status update, or photo, and understand their responsibility as a global digital citizen. We also help them understand that many times, it’s a great idea to simply turn the tech off, kick a ball around, pick up a guitar, draw a picture, or talk to a loved one face to face.
So, how do we do this? Our primary method is through our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and 1:1 program. In Pre-Kinder to Grade 2, Academia Cotopaxi provides a variety of resources to students, allowing them 1:1 and group access to devices as needed. In Grade 3, students enter the BYOD program and continue up through Grade 12. We teach them how to customize the device to suit their learning needs while making use of it to take learning beyond the classroom. We are also developing a Makerspace that provides students access to tools like mini computers and microcontrollers as well as 3D printing and robotics kits. Equally important, we provide continual professional development for our teachers, so they understand the most effective ways of making use of technology to enhance their teaching and student learning. We also provide workshops for our non-teaching staff so that every corner of our organization learns to make the best use of technology.
One crucial element in all that we do at AC, is parent involvement. It’s important for parents to understand how to best help their children navigate technology while at home. This is why we offer regular events where parents are invited to share their experience, voice their opinions and learn about technology and its challenges. AC Loves Tech is our regular series of parent workshops where families can connect and learn together.
Learning in Community - it’s how we work at Academia Cotopaxi.
Director of Technology