Q & A with members of our Digital Citizenship Committee. We also proudly welcome James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media and author of Talking Back to Facebook: A Common-Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age to campus in October.
At Country Day, we believe the creative, innovative, and intelligent use of technology is critically important. By blending the best elements of traditional teaching and strong student/teacher relationships with the inventive nature of digital learning, our students will be ready for the future.
We thoughtfully integrate technology into the educational experience in ways that deepen learning for our students. Technology in and of itself does not make the educational experience better for our students. Yet, it can be very powerful when well-trained teachers with ongoing professional development blend it into their lesson plans to help further student understanding and deepen connections.
Our academic program provides students and faculty with technology that supports the curriculum. Grade-level appropriate digital tools deepen learning, curated resources in our media centers strengthen research, and technology-specific courses in the Upper School enrich our AP and International Baccalaureate programs.
Examples of how students use technology as an everyday part of 21st century learning:
- Country Day is proud to call itself a 1:1 school. All students in grades 3–12 receive school-issued personal computing devices as an integral part of their Country Day experience, with iPads for students in grades 3–8, and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets for grades 9–12.
- All three divisions utilize PowerSchool learning management system to connect students and parents to each classroom. Teachers rely on PowerSchool to share course information and publish tools, resources, and contact details. Middle and Upper School students rely on PowerSchool for all class assignments, online discussions, curricular support, and extracurricular information.
- Students use mobile devices to reinforce handwriting in kindergarten, capture and analyze real-time data in physics and engineering classes, and practice fluency in foreign language classes.
Our students are model citizens of the world and we recognize that in the 21st century there is no divide between the online and physical worlds. Our emphasis on integrity, honesty, moral courage, personal accountability, and compassion for others applies to all aspects of our students’ lives.
Our coursework and advisories explore the challenges of growth and development in each division, with special attention to the modern challenges of digital communication tools, information permanence, and the long-term implications of a student’s online footprint.
At Country Day, we're committed to taking a whole-community approach to preparing our students to use the immense power of digital media to explore, create, connect, and learn, while limiting the perils that exist in the online realm, such as plagiarism, loss of privacy, and cyberbullying. In 2015, we were approved as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School—the first area school to receive this distinction. Certification recognizes our efforts in teaching digital literacy and citizenship to young people and engaging the entire school community in this important discussion.
Country Day has a long history of innovation and forwarding thinking:
- In 1974, the Parents’ Association allocated $10,000 toward the purchase of the school’s very first computer. That was considered an incredible investment into a single computer the size of a phone booth. (In case you have never seen a phone booth, imagine a 12 cubic foot computer box!)
- In 1991, our students won first place and $110,000 in computer equipment in the first NC SuperQuest Competition.
- A few years later, our Middle School pioneered a “computers across the curriculum” initiative to integrate technology in all disciplines, and all faculty were equipped with personal laptops.
- By the 2000s, our campus was fully wired for high-speed Internet connectivity.
- In the fall of 2015, Country Day successfully implemented its 1:1 technology initiative. All students in grades 3–12 received school-issued personal computing devices as an integral part of their Country Day experience.