Providing students the technology tools, instruction and support for 21st Century Learning.
We continually strive to advance student achievement through the use of technology at our schools. Our technology goals for student achievement include:
1) adopting technologies and strategies that enhance 21st Century Skills such as STEM and STEAM initiatives, technology standards curriculum, and blended learning opportunities
2) enhancing student collaboration & communication through project-based learning opportunities
3) providing relevant and enhanced digital tools to support 21st Century Learning through redesigned learning lab spaces and a 1:1 device ratio
4) creating a culture of respect and ownership of DECS Technology through student technology internships and support groups.
Providing teaching staff with the most current tools, strategies, and support to better meet the needs of all students.
We believe that the correct use of technology can greatly enhance classroom instruction for students at every grade level. With this belief, we provide many tools and training for our teaching staff to better utilize and integrate technology into their classroom for more effective instruction, including: 1) ongoing group and individual professional development for teaching staff, 2) a curriculum review process that integrates technologies into existing curriculum, 3) an environment that encourages teacher collaboration, innovation, and peer support, and 4) a clear set of standards for each grade level and multiple methods for developing the skills.
Providing technology that encourages and supports family and community learning and collaboration.
We recognize the opportunities that technology affords in opening up communication channels between our community of students, families, and staff. We work to widen and deepen the level of interaction within this community through: 1) enhanced communication between the district, students, teachers, and families through an enhanced website presence and the use of teacher websites, 2) providing multiple community involvement opportunities both during and after school, 3) continuing the pursuit of technology that engages all parties in varied environments, and 4) pursuing initiatives that address inequalities in technology and connectivity such as after-school technology instruction for adults.
Building 21st Century technologies that support students, teachers, and staff in their roles. All of our aforementioned goals cannot be achieved without a substantial tech infrastructure at our schools. Knowing this, we continually work to:
1) provide computer hardware and software on a sustainable replacement cycle that meets student, teacher, and staff needs
2) deliver support services with a focus on customer services
3) build and maintain networks and services that are reliable, robust, secure, and easy to use
4) manage account and data systems that are efficient and reliable.
Our hardware and software infrastructure includes the use of:
Google Apps for Education
– Google Apps for Education
DECS utilizes Google Apps for Education, a free resource is used by more than 14 million students and teachers in schools and universities worldwide. Google Apps for Education allows students to access their files seamlessly from school, home, or anywhere there is an internet connection, supporting the development skills vital to success in the modern world – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
Google Apps for Education fits our commitment to provide academic and personal excellence for every child by incorporating cloud-based educational tools and affording us the opportunity to train students in digital citizenship skills. During our first week of school, all North Star Junior Academy students participate in classes that include information on how to protect themselves against online threats from bullies to scammers, and to think carefully before they share any information on the internet. Teaching students digital responsibility, citizenship, and how to create positive footprints online, is an important skill set that must be incorporated into today’s curriculum. Google Apps for Education provides us with the opportunity to teach these skills in an authentic way.
– Smart Boards
At DECS, 100% of classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards, interactive digital white boards. Teachers and staff are trained in the proper and meaningful use of Smart Boards and use them to enhance learning and make curriculum more engaging. Specifically, teachers are trained in the software package Smart Notebook that allows teachers to download, use, and create interactive content that brings the students up to the board to interact with it.
Learning Lab Pilot at Raleigh
The Learning Lab Pilot at Raleigh will focus on STEM instruction and 21st Century Learning. Through STEM instruction, the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math will be integrated into project-based learning activities throughout the school year. Instruction will also focus on helping students develop creativity, collaboration, communication and creative thinking skills that will help them inside and outside of the classroom walls.
Students in the Learning Lab will continue to use the Journeys and Everyday Math curriculum and will get the opportunity to use a Lego Education curriculum as well. Throughout the year, students will take part in thematic units that will guide them in exploring a concept in a cross-curricular manner.