The digital age is now. Equipped with burgeoning technological savvy, today’s young learners have the future in their hands. At St. James’, friendly and knowledgeable teachers are here to guide them in their journey of discovery. In our Academic Technology program, students use critical thinking and creativity to tackle real-world problems while deepening their learning in homeroom and specialty subjects.
Technology curriculum is best implemented in connection with other content areas (e.g., language arts, math, science, social studies, and arts). Instructional technology facilitates and enhances learning across content areas and exposes students to real-world applications of technology. As they complete project-based, cross-curricular activities, students develop an understanding of ethical, cultural, and social issues related to technology and its safe use. They become gatherers of data, problem solvers, and communicators of information.
In addition to having a beautifully updated Mac computer lab, St. James' integrates technology into classroom curriculum in all subject areas. Kindergarten through 6th-grade classrooms are equipped with SMARTBoards. iPads and computers allow for differentiated instruction, in that students practice skills and play educational games at their own pace on their own devices. All curriculum is designed and implemented in keeping with the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) laid out by the International Society for Technology in Education.
A 1:1 device program is used in the 4th–6th grades; 4th- and 5th-graders use iPads, and 6th-graders use Chromebooks. Students use tablets to research, share documents and projects, create video projects, and enhance their learning of homeroom subjects. A variety of applications aid in math practice, writing and recording stories, and creating art; students also learn to access, edit, and share files through Google Apps for Education.
By Grade Level
Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Kindergarten and 1st-grade curriculum primarily comprises educational games on iPads and computers to help children familiarize themselves with digital interfaces and develop basic navigational skills. Activities reinforce reading abilities, phonetic understanding, and mathematical skills. 1st-graders also become proficient in basic typing via fun keyboarding activities, such as Dance Mat Typing.
2nd-grade curriculum is closely tied to homeroom subjects, particularly social studies and mathematics, and involves working with Google Apps for Education and other software in exploratory activities. Students develop Internet literacy and research skills in independent and collaborative projects; they also exercise creativity in art and design applications.
3rd-graders begin the year with a review of keyboarding skills and then delve into the world of introductory coding, which prepares them for more advanced coding in later grades. As they work their way through brain-teasing games and logic puzzles, students hone their quantitative-reasoning abilities and learn by leaps and bounds in having to “think outside the box.”
4th-graders expand greatly on their homeroom learning with applied projects in the computer lab and on iPads. Throughout the year, students bring social studies, literature, and other subjects to life through art and design projects, slideshow and video presentations, gaming, and research projects. Along the way, they become adept collaborators, critical thinkers, and creative decision-makers.
For students in 5th grade, computer class is synonymous with Genius Hour: a weekly opportunity for students to pursue independent projects of their own design. Working individually or in pairs, 5th-graders identify an area of interest or a real-world problem in need of solution; then do research and make use of the many software applications available to deliver a product showcasing their creativity and hard work. It’s an opportunity for students to find out what they enjoy while developing research, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Students use Google Apps for Education in depth, and also learn the basics of Photoshop, Minecraft, and Google power-searching.
6th-grade curriculum is designed to refine students’ technical aptitude and to help them develop widely-applicable skills that will prepare them for further study and work in computer technology. Students learn programming languages via online courses and complete art and design projects using professional-grade software. By the time the 6th-graders graduate, they will have spent a year getting ready to bring their intellectual curiosity and broad range of technological skills with them into middle school and beyond.