School Computing

Tech Plan Excerpts

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Interesting Short Excerpts from Independent School Technology Plans Please add excerpts by the year the plan was written.

Also see: Technology Planning page on this wiki for discussion and links to school technology plans.


Rye Country Day School (by Doug Higgins)

Instead of a terse outline of needs, program implementation, and budgetary requirements, I have employed a modified essay form that includes rationale and argument. The reasons here are threefold. First, because we are embrking upon a project that will affect every aspect of school life, we all must be informed, we all must to some extent become computer literate. Too often in other schools both teachers and administrators had unrealistic or misguided expectations -- or they were never give the time or the opportunity to dispel their misconceptions and biases. Bitterness was a result. Second, because the technology is advancing so rapidly, we must incorporate into our plans how best to anticipate and to take advantage of that progress. As will be argued, how we allocate resources here is crucial. We must be flexible. Third, we -- and by this I mean all school personnel -- need time to assess properly our needs.
Our students need knowledge of the computer -- its power and limitations -- if they are to enter the work force of tomorrow with the advantage they deserve. Every facet of society has become increasingly dependent upon the computer. No longer is it advisable that knowledge of the computer be the exclusive domain of the engineer and the scientist. It has become the essential tool of our society, available for the first time to all. He who understands the computer not only will enjoy the power it brings but will also be in a position to wield that power effectively. The technological revolution brought on by the development of the microprocessor has changed almost every facet of our lives: banking, business, transportation, engineering, medicine, law, and very soon education. In fact, it could be called a revolution in information. For the first time in history information can be made accessible and manipulated from almost anywhere to anywhere instantaneously.
These developments are only the tip of the iceberg, shallow indices of what is really happening. The pace of this technology is awesome and bewildering. It is difficult to see through it to some kind of accurate and sensible picture of what the fast-approaching world of tomorrow will be.
Education is, from one point of view, the transmission of knowledge and culture from one generation to the next. Assuming we are in the midst of a revolution concerning the organization and transmittal of information, then we must conclude that education, institutionally, should be at the center of that revolution.
Aside from preparing our children for the world they will enter, there are persuasive pedagogical reasons for the teaching of programming. First, programming teaches in a unique and striking fashion sound, logical thought processes and does so far more effectively than any other discipline we now teach at the secondary level. The student must first understand completely the nature of the problem at hand. He then must devise a carefully constructed series of logial steps to achieve the desired result. Second, he must learn to diagnose and to correct his own errors; in the parlance of programming, to "debug" his program. He cannot simply turn to his neighbor and ask him to do it for him. Programming fosters critical and independent thought, initiative and patience. Third, what he creates is uniquely his. Part of the profound attraction that the computer has for many young people is that they can see immediately an act of their creation. It works. Something happens, happens in the way they want it to happen.


Rye Country Day School (by Bill Buck)

The significance of computer technology (or its absence) both with respect to the ability of the school to perform the services needed of it and with respect to the perception of the school beyond itself will grow noiceably in the next 5 to 10 years. (Civilization has already reached its next major level of information transmission; Oral-->Print-->Electronic. A most important mission of a school now is to educate the student in the capabilities and use of the electronic medium--the incorporation of the development of fundamental skills of thinking, writing, and analysis with electronic means of idea/information, presentation, storage and gathering. Additionally, sources of information for the classroom particularly in the natural and the social sciences more and more will be via electronic media.)
The nature of computer technology in a school is a unique and, to some extent new, consideration for the school:
--cutting across all areas of the school, academic and non-academic
--lacking the tradition of but surpassing in impact many traditional topics of instruction
--being of a highly evolving nature
--requiring significant equipment acquisition, on-going maintenance, and planned replacement


Rye Country Day School (by Fred Bartels)

Laptop computers have been central to the present Committee's discussions about how to more consistently achieve these benefits. An underlying frustration of the current computer deployment model is that teachers can't easily turn to the computer when it is the most effective tool for getting a point across. Computer lab access is limited, all a teacher's other teaching materials are not available in a lab, and work started in a lab can not easily be continued without ongoing access to computers. Requiring students to have a laptop computers solves these issues.
Laptops make the power of the computer available to the student virtually anytime and anywhere. This does not mean the laptop will or should be used all the time. Instead it mean that the computer will be there whenever there is a benefit to be gained from its use. This approach is essentially no different from how pencil and paper have been deployed. Pencil and paper are not used all the time but we want them to immediately accessible at all times.
The Committee spent a significant amount of time investigation the experiences of schools that require student to purchase laptops. This research has helped to alleviate the concerns of many Committee members about the potential for loss, breakage and theft of laptops. Accumulating evidence points to students overwhelmingly being capable of clearing the hurdle of successfuly caring for their laptops. In fact there is evidence that laptop owenership can serve as a catalyst to generate increased student responsibility. Laptop schools have also reported increased student enthusiasm, new excitement for learning, and improved problem-solving skills.
Adopting the laptop model will require infrastructure and organizational adaptations at RCDS. At a minimum the school will need to commit resources to help finance computers for scholarship students, provide increased professional development, extend the school's network and provide the support needed to quickly resolve technical difficulties. Changes may also be need in classroom furniture, room confiurations, the supervision of students and classroom management.

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