Educational Technology at KSA
1 to 1 Chromebook Program
Slowly but surely over the past two decades, technology has been seeping into our everyday lives. From desktop computers in libraries and labs to laptops and tablets in our laps and living rooms, technology has become a vital and indispensable part of our world.
In the world of education we have seen important shifts in thinking around technology. Whereas technology used to live in a computer lab visited by students a few times a week, today technology is not something we learn - it is a tool that helps us learn. At KSA, we recognize this shift and want to make sure that we give all of our students every tool they need to meet their personalized educational goals and excel in the habits of mind that are so vital to their future success.
Toward this end, KSA is proud to have a one to one laptop program for all middle school students graders at no extra cost to the parents.
At the beginning of each school year every 6th, 7th and 8th grade student receives a Google Chromebook to use throughout the day. Chromebooks are unique laptops in that they are internet only machines; there is nothing to download, update or install - ever.
These Chromebooks are powerful tools in executing all of KSA’s innovative initiatives, from robotics, to global e-learning, video conferencing with scientists and physicians around the world to online chavrutah learning. We’ve been inspired by an amazing video by Prof. Daphne Koller from Stanford University on the power of e-learning and invite you to take a look.
All of these Chromebooks are managed through our KSA Google account. That means that we are able to control and secure how these Chromebooks are used by our students including which sites are permitted and which are not. Each student will have their KSA Google account which will only be able to be used within the KSA domain. Students will be able to send and receive email but only from other KSA email addresses.
Part of this one to one program includes teaching students how to use and care for their Chromebook. Despite our best efforts, we know that accidents happen and we are anticipating small repairs that need to be made and the occasional replacement unit. Toward this end, we are offering an Accident Protection Program for each of our families. For $40 you can purchase Accident Protection for your child’s Chromebook. This means that we will take care of repair and replacement costs for your child's Chromebook for normal wear and tear. If you choose not to participate in our Accident Protection Program and your child's Chromebook needs repairs or replacement, we will ask you to cover that cost (up to $400).
Collaborating with Google Drive
Google Drive is also an important part of our school work and life. Google Drive is a suite of free online tools including a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing and presentation programs. What makes these programs unique is that they are built around collaboration. Students and teachers can create documents, share them with one another and then collaborate on their work. No more printing, no more sending Word and Powerpoint presentations back and forth. Everything is hosted in the cloud securely, ready to be accessed through any browser. This means that while the Chromebooks live at school, students are able to continue their work and their collaboration using any computer or tablet with an internet connection. They just have to log into their KSA Google account and all of their work will be there.
A flipped classroom model takes the teaching of new concepts and moves it to an online format for students to learn at home, while bringing the activities (i.e., traditional homework) into the classroom. (adapted from www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom). Created and instituted by two science teachers from Colorado, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, flipped classrooms allows students to learn the concepts at home using a variety of multi-media (e.g., videos, articles, and online interactive activities), and learn the concept or skill at their own pace. As a result, learning is now both personalized (based on each child’s learning styles using Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences) and collaborative, through project based learning. Furthermore, each student is able to receive direct and individualized support.
At KSA, teachers are using both blended and flipped (and double flipped or flipped 2.0) models to reach every student. Be it watching videos or reading articles at home and answering questions to submit, to each student having an individualized activity plan that allows each student to select the path he/she chooses to learn the concept, every student is learning. Activities range from individualized assignments to collaborative project based learning. In addition, assignments vary to meet not only each student’s needs but also their interest. This is all done through careful planning, reflecting, and the use of technology. Incorporating new technology to make learning more meaningful is a core component of this teaching. In addition, teachers are now facilitators of and guides to students’ learning as students learn the skills of research, analysis, and reflection.