Our goal is to prepare, enable, and empower students to utilize a wide variety of technological tools and skills in their learning and in their daily lives. To achieve this goal, our curriculum involves direct instruction and practice in Grades 1-6 technology classes as well as in regular classrooms throughout the school. We have identified six strands of learning based on the recommendations of the International Society for Technology in Education. The scope and sequence for each strand is designed to align learning outcomes in technology with skills and content knowledge in all other subjects. Technology integration teachers, grade-level teachers, and administrators share responsibility for supporting students in developing technology skills, and in using 21st century tools and applications in meaningful, appropriate ways.
First graders are introduced to technology through a range of devices and applications. Their identity as “digital citizens” becomes a lens for considering questions about online communities and the digital environment. Children learn about how computers work, and they make regular use of iPads throughout their curriculum. They create story maps, publish stories, experiment with drawing and multimedia tools, and visit websites with the support of their teachers.
Second graders continue to use iPads in their classrooms in addition to larger desktop machines. Digital citizenship and computer literacy activities include lessons about internet safety and online responsibility. Children use computers to aid in the writing process as well as for creative pursuits in making short movies and publishing stories. Teachers regularly locate useful websites to bring information and virtual experiences into the classroom.
A highlight of the third grade year in technology is an extended unit in computational thinking, engineering and robotics. Children learn basic steps in programming and create simple procedures using a graphics-based application. They also design and program robotic devices using LEGO bricks. Third graders learn keyboarding and editing skills and begin to use computers for more frequent writing projects in class.
Presentation skills and digital communication are the focus of technology classes in fourth grade. Students get Foote School email accounts (for use within the school community only) and learn about responsible practices. They expand their knowledge of editing skills, improve their keyboarding efficiency, and use word processing tools to revise written work. Teachers also model online research techniques throughout the year.
Each fifth grader receives a Chromebook at the beginning of the year for in-class use. This one-to-one device program allows students and teachers to collaborate on documents, and enables students to gain significant independence and confidence in their use of technology. Students work with digital images, spreadsheets, animation tools, graphic design applications, blogs and calendars. They practice writing interactive fiction and even make their own digital comic books on iPads.
Computer coding is an interactive, hands-on pursuit at Foote. For a third grade STEM project, students design robots using LEGOs and program their movements using click-and-drag Scratch coding.