St. Barbara School implemented a 1:1 technology program in the Fall of 2015 to adapt to the learning modes of 21st century students and to allow students to work at their own pace and level. The program was implemented with the goal of increasing student achievement and engagement.
By providing technology in the classroom, the teacher is able to meet the learning needs of each student by setting individualized goals, tracking student progress, and developing strategies to improve areas of deficit by varying the way information is presented. Known as differentiated instruction, the efforts of teachers respond to variance among learners in the classroom. Whenever a teacher reaches out to an individual or small group to vary his or her teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, that teacher is differentiating instruction. Teachers can differentiate at least four classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile:
- Content – what the student needs to learn or how the student will get access to the information;
- Process – activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content;
- Products – culminating projects that ask the student to rehearse, apply, and extend what he or she has learned in a unit; and
- Learning environment – the way the classroom works and feels.
Technology helps facilitate differentiated instruction in many of these areas.
Students in grades 1-3 are currently using iPads in the classroom and students in grades 4-8 have Chromebooks. Originally the plan was to use iPads in all grades. In Spring 2013, 10 iPads per classroom were purchased. During the implementation, it was noted that 4th through 8th graders needed keyboards to allow for the development of writing skills. Chromebooks were purchased for Grades 4-8, and the iPads were distributed to Grades 1-3.
Students have access to Discovery Education Techbooks for Science Grades 2-8 and Middle School Social Studies. Grades K-8 have access to the IXL Online Learning Academy for additional support in math. Grades 2-8 are using IXL for Language Arts. Other grade levels will be added as they become available from the publishers.