Technology has been defined as anything that was invented after we were born. With this in mind, a sizeable gap can exist between how students and their parents view technology. On this page we aim to clarify FIS's technology integration objectives while dispelling any myths. There will also be links to websites that offer what we believe to be sound advice for parents to navigate this digital divide.
Educational Technology at FIS
The goal of integrated technology at FIS is to enhance learning. Therefore, the focus is learning through technology, not the learning of technology itself. From time to time students will however shift to learning technical skills such as 3D printing and design, programming, safe and responsible Internet use, managing social media etc.
Kindergarten and Elementary classes at FIS employ a developmentally appropriate integration of digital tools to enhance the learning experience. In our early years programme, students use iPads to enhance classroom investigations, but not to substitute developmentally necessary hands-on skills. As students advance through Elementary they increasingly use school laptops and school email accounts to improve communication, collaboration, information access and creativity.
In our Grade 6 to 10 IT classes at FIS we follow the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) guidelines which are closely aligned with the educational philosophies of the International Baccalaureate. In grades 6 through 10, our classes will shift from IT to the MYP Design classes at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. Design is the link between creativity and innovation - students will explore this through a focus on digital and product design. In Secondary, as with any learning tools, students bring their own laptops and devices to school. With this increased independence, students are expected to manage their personal devices.
By the time our students reach the DP, they have largely mastered the digital skills required to enhance: research and critical analysis; collaboration; presenting and publishing; design and innovation; as well as the learning of new platforms. Their goal is to then master the use of discipline-specific technology such as the sensors and probes used in physics, chemistry and biology.
parenting in the digital age
With the introduction of laptops, digital recording devices and other familiar or unfamiliar technologies into schools, it has been common for some parents to believe they have limited control of their children's use of these tools at home. The use of media tools should not compromise family values. A little understanding of what these devices, software and online platforms are capable of (positive as well as negative) will go a long way to empowering families to make the right decisions about use at home.
One concern that constantly comes up is students being online and unsupervised in their bedrooms. It really comes down to trust and maturity. If you feel your children are not yet ready for this responsibility, a recommended practice is to have them use their devices in a family space in full view of parents and siblings. If students are doing homework online, this will also give family members the opportunity to get involved.
HealthyChildren.org - online advice for families.
Family Online Safety Institute - simple sets of rules, controls and safety advice.
3D printing and computer-aided design (CAD)
As the popularity of 3D printing and design increases due to exciting and new applications across many industries, cost-effectiveness and increased performance, the teaching of these skills can no longer be ignored by schools. MYP Design classes combine digital and product design objectives in which students:
- apply practical and creative thinking skills to solve design problems
- explore the role of design in both historical and contemporary contexts
- consider their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.
3D printing is also integrated into our Visual Arts programme and there are opportunities for other disciplines to take part as well.
Robotics and programming
Currently robotics and programming are run as year-long after school activities. Using the MakeBlock maker kits, students learn to build logic boards (microcomputers) to which they upload their own programming to control the robots. Students learn to work in teams to reach teacher and team-directed goals. Students attach various sensors such as gyroscopes and ultrasound detectors to their builds to have fun solving challenges. The programming language used is based on Scratch 2, which they learn in their IT classes.