Is it best for students? Is it needed to prepare students for the technologically sophisticated classroom they will enter upon graduation from Jackson Prep?
These are the simple, yet powerful, questions that shape Jackson Preparatory School's use of technology.
Over the years, the tools used to educate students have changed. However, at Prep the commitment to appropriateness and preparedness continues to guide the school’s use of technology. The dedication to equipping students with the necessary 21st Century skills is evident and evolving just as the industry itself is evolving at an ever rapid pace. The teaching of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity is powerfully harnessed with the use of sophisticated technology tools.
At Jackson Prep, while we employ state-of-the-art technology at all levels, our goal is not simply to display our technology, but is instead to present learning. While it may seem the “magic” is the technology, it is not. Jackson Prep teachers are effective in their useful integration of technology at every level while encouraging each student to harness the power of inquiry and innovation. Come see learning at Jackson Prep!
List of 1 items.
State of the Art Dreaming
Every great step into the future was driven by a vision of what could be. Explorers and dreamers knew that although the future was uncertain and murky, it was inevitable. When Neil Armstrong’s foot touched the moon’s surface, it was a step into the future that reflected the dreams, plans, trials, and errors of those who believed in the reality of that outcome.
While state-of-the-art technology is employed at all levels at Jackson Prep, the goal is to facilitate learning. The “magic” is not the technology. It is the enthusiastic engagement in learning. Jackson Prep teachers select and utilize the best technologies to engage each student’s power of inquiry and innovation.
The use of smart-phones for learning activities will not be permissible. Small devices have limitations that make them unsuitable for some activities including accessing electronic textbooks. In addition, the temptation to be distracted from learning activities will be greater with a smartphone.
It would be sensible to ensure that your child’s property is labeled with their name through engraving or other indelible marking where it does not impact the warranty. Advantage should be taken of the capacity of certain devices to locate them when they are missing. Apple devices have a built-in service called “Find my iPhone/iPad/iPod” that can help locate the device on a map as long as the service is enabled before the device is lost). Laptops can also be located when missing.
Our filtering provides a first line of defense by blocking by protocol online games and social networking. However, the reality is that the technology does provide the potential for distraction. The challenge of developing self-control in avoiding these distractions is not limited to students; in fact, one could make a case that this is a vital skill for the 21st century workplace. School and home both have a role to play in helping young people to self-regulate in these areas. Plainly, this will be minimized through teachers’ expectation that devices be closed on the student’s desk unless being used as a part of the learning process.
Electronic organization is a necessary life skill, so it is better they learn this skill while they are young. Student storage of files has been shifted to the cloud rather than on the School’s file servers. Jackson Prep is a Google Apps for Education School. All students have access to their Jackson Prep email account that is hosted by Google and this account includes access to Google Drive which allows users to work on and store documents online and offline, and enables sharing of documents between students and staff. Google Drive is the cloud storage of choice. This will give the advantage of being accessible from home.
Antivirus\AntiMalware software is necessary. In addition, different teachers will make use of different programs, sites and resources for learning, but the vast majority of these will be web-based. Each device would need an internet browser, a PDF reader, word processing software, and some form of presentation software. OpenOffice is an open source, free productivity software program that can be downloaded from openoffice.org. In addition, as a Google Apps for Educations School each student has the suite of Google products available via their jacksonprep.net email address.
As with other equipment, individual students retain responsibility for their own property at school. Common sense would suggest that students would do well to ensure that devices have protective cases or coverings. Parents are advised to make their own arrangements regarding insurance and cover for accidental damage. Jackson Prep will not take responsibility for accidental damage to student property, nor do our insurance policies cover it.
The BYOT Initiative is governed by the Jackson Prep Student Guidelines including, but not limited to the Jackson Prep Acceptable Use Agreement. Discipline issues are planned for, but not expected. They will be handled by the Head of Junior High, or her designee. Consequences for inappropriate use will align with consequences for inappropriate use of cell phones. Since Jackson Prep students behave in an exemplary manner, the school expects the highest level of integrity along with respectful and ethical use of technology. In conjunction with school policy, teachers will have guidelines for use of technology in their individual classrooms.
We believe that students should use the device with which they are most comfortable and with which learning will be most effective. The device does however need to be able to access the internet wirelessly and have a day-long battery life. Our preference is a device with a screen of at least 10 inches (25cm). We understand that some younger students may choose a 7 inch screen. A laptop is more suitable.
If the School were to provide computers, parents would ultimately be paying for them through increased fees. In addition, there would be significant inefficiencies and extra costs involved, which would also be reflected in fees. It makes more sense for families to purchase the device that best suits their circumstances, budgets and needs, and one that they are best able to support at home. We also consider it likely that students will exercise more care and responsibility in looking after their own property.
We are discouraging students from planning to recharge at school; power cords/chargers can be a hazard and they add extra weight to school bags. For this reason, battery life is a key consideration in choosing a device. Students will need to cultivate the habit of charging their device overnight.
Student usage of the school’s network and internet connection is filtered to varying degrees. Younger students will be more heavily filtered. Parents need to be aware that if they provide their child with a device with direct internet access, the school is unable to filter, log and monitor the student’s usage. Many students have cell phones with "HotSpot" functionality which may be used circumvent the filtering.
We are conscious of this issue, particularly for our younger students. It would be wise to consider weight and size when choosing a device with your child; netbooks and ultra-books are significantly lighter than full-sized laptops. The heaviest items students have to carry are textbooks and many of the textbooks are available online.