Lower School Technology
Technology is threaded throughout the Durham Academy Lower School curriculum. During their four years in the Lower School students gain proficiency in word processing, multimedia presentations, image creation, iPad and calculator use as well as keyboarding skills, and information and digital literacy. Our goal is to continue to embrace the rapidly changing landscape technology offers by providing instruction and exposure to the relevant tools, using International Society for Technology in Education standards of: creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information retrieval, critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, digital citizenship and technology operations and concepts.
In November of 2008, Durham Academy registered with Common Sense Media as a free resource for our parents and teachers, to help them manage their children's 24/7 media lives. Common Sense Media is the leading non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to helping families find age-appropriate movies, television, books, music, games and Internet platforms for children. Parents can make informed choices about the entire media landscape, and most importantly, find simple tips and tools about how to raise your children to be safe, smart and responsible media users and creators. Durham Academy technology coordinators also host several parent information sessions throughout the year on various topics related to raising responsible digital citizens.
Durham Academy has a 1:1 iPad program in the fourth grade and will expand that program to the third grade for 2017-2018, based on the success of the program in the Middle School.
First grade students focus on using the technology tools available at school and producing documents with original artwork. Students learn how to log in and out of a computer using their unique username, open and close software programs and multimedia resources, save documents to the appropriate places on the network and print to the desired printer.
Students also work with online learning resources such as Education City and TumbleBooks. The projects the students work on allow them to use a mouse and a keyboard and the tools and features of publishing software. The first grade year culminates in a research project that is a collaboration between the classroom, library and computer. Students conduct research on a topic, draft a report, draw a picture on the computer, and publish a final project by importing their original artwork and typing the report onto a document.
Second grade students begin the year by learning to publish a document that uses the skills of inserting pictures and formatting fonts and text styles. Second graders also learn how to be "CyberSmart." CyberSmart students know how to safeguard their personal information, use good manners, recognize advertising, evaluate websites and apply the attributes of good citizenship to the cyber environment. Students use VoiceThread to learn about collaborating on a digital project.
Digital cameras are introduced in the spring. In a collaboration between art and computer, students learn to take photographs and then organize, edit and print the photos. Toward the end of the year, students work to create a research report. This project is a collaboration between the classroom, library and computer. Students learn to find and save photos from the Internet, use iPhoto to organize photos and use a word processing program to type and format a report with text and photos in computer class.
The main focus of the computer curriculum in fourth grade is to develop students into independent computer users who learn to manage the many steps necessary for completing projects. Students work to apply their computer skills independently in a variety of situations. This helps to ensure success as they transition to the Middle School where they will manage their own projects.
Another vital part of being an independent computer user is learning about being a good cyber-citizen. In addition to the email curriculum, students explore the use of Internet-based tools and social websites. Topics such as: protecting private information, avoiding SPAM, unsubscribing from email lists, chain letters, email hoaxes, phishing scams, and methods for protecting your email address and the addresses of your friends are discussed. While many Internet tools are designed for students age 13 and over, students take time to look at privacy settings from various sites so they are prepared to navigate such sites in the future.