Grey Nun Academy’s overarching mission is to continuously improve student-learning outcomes. One way we achieve this is by investing in technology as a tool to improve student learning.
Our objective is to put a tool into the hands of every student that will make his/her education more engaging, and positively transform the way teaching and learning takes place. The great potential in this long-range investment is in terms of fostering a culture of student engagement in learning that has long-term quantitative--and qualitative--benefits.
Our research and investigation into the use of 1:1 technology (per International Society for Technology in Education, Google, and National Association of Independent Schools) and our own experiences indicate the following potential benefits related to student learning, assessment, and implementation of new innovative teaching models:
Personalized Learning / Differentiated Instruction
Recognizing that students do not learn the same material at the same pace and in the same way, 1:1 technology makes it possible for teachers to differentiate content delivery and student assignments, using a variety of teaching methods and tools.
For example, videos can be paused and viewed multiple times by students for whom the traditional lecture moves too quickly. In addition to video, electronic and online resources can be selected and shared at the appropriate student readiness level or learning style, ensuring that the content is being delivered and standards are being met, in a way that can be best understood by all students.
Enhanced Student Engagement, Motivation, and Ownership for Learning
In a 1:1 environment, the learning shifts from the more traditional instructor-led model to a more student-centered focus. Accessibility to online learning tools gives students options that naturally engage them in the learning process. Technology is one tool that provides effective differentiation, while increasing student engagement and motivation.
Access To Student Work Facilitates Ongoing Formative Assessment
When students complete their written work and presentations through Google Drive and other web-based systems, teachers are able to view student work in progress. This facilitates ongoing feedback to students from teachers and formative assessment opportunities; both of these are considered best practice in assessment and will lead to improved student outcomes.
Enhanced Opportunities For Group And Project-Based Learning
In a 1:1 model, it is possible to shift from traditional 'lecture-based' learning, to more student-centered research projects and project-based learning. Not only does this model provide a variety of ways to deliver content, it offers a wider range of opportunities for students to show what they know and understand about a topic. Project-based learning is typically framed by a 'real-world problem' that requires students to work in groups, gather and synthesize information, think critically, and apply this knowledge. The teacher becomes a facilitator/coach helping to frame student questions.
Tools for Teaching, Tools for Learning
A 1:1 program has the ability to scaffold student tasks, and assess what they are learning along the way. Project-based learning supports 21st century-style critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity—which are essential skills required in high school, college, and the workplace. A student can choose from myriad technologies to implement effective research strategies, to collaborate with peers, and publish findings.
Enhanced Opportunity For Collaboration, Within And Outside The School
When provided with a device, students have a sense of ownership and are more apt to take charge and become more invested in their own learning. They have access to resources not confined by the classroom walls or the school day. Students are able to collaborate with their peers through tools such as Google Docs, blogs, Web 2.0 tools, etc., as they communicate and problem-solve. Personal devices will also enable students to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information in all their subject areas.
Access To Primary Source Information
The best schools envision students accessing primary sources of information from multiple sources in order to synthesize meaning and understanding - a key element of college and career success in the 21st century. On-demand access to a reliable device makes this possible for students and allows teachers in the classroom to plan around this instructional opportunity.
1:1 Technology Improves Student Workflow
This is perhaps the most commonly cited finding from schools using 1:1 technology. Students experience greater independence, greater task completion, and more efficient workflow with the ability to electronically manage and share tasks in a single environment (as opposed to across multiple binders, notebooks, etc.) that travels easily between school and home.
Decreased Emphasis on Technology as a Discrete Topic or Subject
A concern sometimes raised about 1:1 technology programs is that schooling will become overly-focused on technology and connecting students to devices. Ironically, making devices ubiquitous across the school day may actually have the benefit of minimizing technology as the focus of learning; instead of learning about technology, students learn with technology. Teachers are better able to use technology as it is literally intended, as a tool for achieving work and goals we already have, such as student learning, collaboration, access to information, and engagement in problem solving.
Minimization of Traditional Resources
With 1:1 technology, students require fewer resources such as binders, calculators, and some traditional textbooks. At minimum, it provides Grey Nun Academy the opportunity to fully explore and balance the benefits of digital resources versus traditional ones.
In summary, technology is reshaping our world – the way we work, how we create and consume information, and how we interact.
Grey Nun Academy is unsurpassed when it comes to incorporating technology into teaching and learning as compared to other elementary schools in Bucks County and nearby NJ schools, because we have skillfully incorporated it in a way that offers more instructional choices for our teachers and improved outcomes for our students.