Welcome to Heads Up, a blogging experiment that aims to:
- connect the people, parts, and principles of Durham Academy;
- share ideas about learning and human development;
- spotlight a few of the many wondrous things I get to see every day at Durham Academy.
Thanks for reading the posts below — and sending news, links and ideas worth sharing.
Michael Ulku-Steiner, Head of School
Tiptoeing on the tech tightrope
This week I feel pulled between the exciting promise of technology integration and the trusted glories of machine-free, human interaction.
Today I watched Lower School Teacher Chris Mason share with our 4th Graders the school's expectations for their new school-issued iPads. Our LS iPad learning program takes its cues from the Middle School Technology Program that has learned far-reaching lessons in recent years from a similar one-to-one initiative. Excitement is high in 4th Grade - both among the "digital natives" and the older learners who teach them.
Most of our older students have spent this week far from their devices - on outdoor education trips to the North Carolina mountains or coast. Curricular goals vary for these trips, but high on every grade's list is the kind of interpersonal bonding that happens best on buses, bunk beds, and beaches. To read a fascinating article about what happens when you take pre-teens to a nature camp with no access to computers and mobile phones, click here.
And yes, I am chuckling at the irony of sending you to a digital link to prove how valuable face-to-face interaction can be. My point is this:
As schools across the planet embrace, reject, and ultimately select the best paths forward for technology integration, I am grateful (both as parent and educator) to be in a community full of discerning people who approach the issue with eyes open and long-term goals squarely in mind. As the DA mission statement puts it: we strive "to provide each student an education that will enable him or her to live a moral, happy and productive life." The best tool at any given moment of that quest might be an iPad, a pair of hiking boots, or a brand new friendship. Here's to well-stocked tool belts!
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