Technology and the 1:1 Learning Initiative
Technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy provides dynamic, effective tools to support curriculum and instruction, communication and professional development in ways that promote learning for today’s students. The use of technology as an effective teaching and learning tool is a key curricular and instructional focus that is exciting and engaging to both students and faculty on all three MKA campuses. All faculty and all students in grades 4-12 are provided with individual MacBook Pro laptops, together with an identical suite of software to ensure a common platform for instruction, while Primary School students benefit from class laptops and iPads. (For more on the 1:1 Laptop Learning Program see sidebar to left.)
MKA students use technology tools to acquire knowledge, practice skills, problem solve and demonstrate and communicate understanding and explore learning in new ways. Students are challenged to use technology to be more flexible, innovative thinkers and to understand and respect the moral and ethical issues related to their use of technology.
All campuses have wireless Internet access; all classrooms are equipped with a projector; and all students and faculty can save their work to MKA’s servers. In addition to their laptops, students on all campuses have access to an extensive array of tools, such as Tech Centers for Apple Certified support, iPods with digital recorders, iPod Touches, scientific probe ware, interactive white boards, and digital and video cameras. All computers are equipped with a wide range of software – both general and discipline specific. MKA makes a variety of resources available to students from home as well, including Moodle, technology tutorials, subscription online learning software and library databases.
In November of 2007, all faculty at MKA were issued laptops to use as professional tools for teaching and learning. The initiative, supported by ongoing, research-based professional development, has been successful in encouraging the innovative and powerfully effective use of technology as a teaching and learning tool. Embedded in all grade levels and departments, professional development offers opportunities for faculty to explore and refine their use of technology both throughout the school year and during the summer. A highlight is MKA’s annual, week-long Technology Institute which allows teachers time to collaborate with colleagues, explore innovative uses of technology and create classroom-ready products. An example of a learning tool that has become ubiquitous at the school is the Evernote application, first demonstrated at Tech Institute, and subsequently installed on every MKA laptop.
Technology and the Curriculum
Moodle, MKA’s web-based course management system used on all three campuses, provides a student-centered, dynamic, interactive learning environment. Moodle allows teachers to gather and organize their course resources for student access and to provide continuity from one class meeting to the next. Forums, wikis, journals and chats provide powerful communication and collaboration tools that allow teachers and students to share ideas, provide and respond to feedback and build knowledge together.
Primary School uses of technology include:
• retelling and analyzing stories using Comic Life or podcasting
• publishing multimedia, original poetry displays on the class web site
• practicing math skills using interactive software that provides feedback
• using Internet resources to research topics across the curriculum
• creating a web site or iMovie to share research results
• using digital microscopes to record real-time observations
• composing original songs in GarageBand
• practicing keyboarding skills on MKA’s web-based typing software
Middle School uses of technology include:
• creating an iMovie to present a personal narrative or the findings of their historical research
• self-assessing writing by recording the piece, listening and revising
• publishing science research results on a web site
• creating podcasts to self-assess and increase fluency in foreign language
• composing images that demonstrate understanding of concepts using Photoshop
• creating animations to explain mathematical concepts
• collecting data with probe ware
• using Moodle to discuss ideas with others in forums or chats, to reflect on understanding and self-assess with online journals and questionnaires, and to manage their assignments with the personal calendar
• practicing keyboarding skills using MKA’s web-based keyboarding software.
Upper School uses of technology include:
• demonstrating results of scientific research by vodcasting (video casting)
• improving fluency in foreign language by creating and listening to podcasts
• collecting and annotating oral histories using an iPod
• analyzing phenomena in physics using computer generated simulations
• peer-reviewing research papers in Turnitin.com
• designing a web site to reach an audience
• reflecting on learning in a Moodle journal
• debating a historical or current event in a Moodle forum
• summarizing and collaborating the day’s classwork in a Moodle wiki