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Technology use will continue to expand at ICJA next year. At this time last school year, ICJA faculty and students could only imagine ways that the 1:1 School initiative, where every freshman and sophomore has a school-issued iPad, would work.

This year with iPads in hand and in our state-of-the-art building, it’s hard to imagine what our school day would be like without 21C technology. Thanks to a new George Shay z”l Endowment for Excellence in Academic Arts and Sciences, the program will continue to expand next year to include the incoming class of freshmen, so that all freshmen through juniors will have iPads. The school-issued iPads are loaded with apps, digital textbooks and software to enhance learning opportunities and collaboration. Students in all grades and in all classes use a learning management system (LMS), Haiku, to keep up with classwork and syllabi online. Group projects, final reports and lessons are created using video and even gaming apps in many classes.

Next year, these programs will all expand, not just by introducing more iPads to another grade, but also by expanding training for teachers across disciplines. This summer, 10 teachers across grades and disciplines will be selected to join a Summer Teachers’ Institute to work together and with outside consultants on exploring all that the technology infrastructure can do for learning. The outcome of the institute will be to design two multidisciplinary projects that focus on problem-based learning for each grade, ninth through eleventh. Teachers who participate in the summer project will become technology leaders for the school, and specifically for their departments.

Our decision to become a 1:1 School is in line with educational research and trends that show that students today learn better using the same technology in the classroom that they are using in their daily lives.

More than any other generation, high school students today think holistically. With infinite knowledge at their fingertips, they glean the knowledge they seek from a constant barrage of information encountered on multiple devices at once.

Asking these students to then enter the classroom, put away all their devices and compartmentalize information into eight separate subjects creates a disconnect between school and students’ everyday lives. To continue teaching today’s students for tomorrow requires new ideas and new tools.

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