Media & Technology
Technology and media at PHS are used to deepen student learning, collaboration, innovation, and communication.
We recognize the unique opportunities that technology and media provide for intellectual growth beyond the walls of the classroom. As part of our vision, we want to create an equitable environment whenever technology tools may be required or useful. Our aim is to help students use tools to create and explore, rather than consume.
Presidio Hill takes a mindful approach to the use of technology in school. We promote skills that allow students to build and represent understanding. In the youngest classrooms technology is used in a developmentally appropriate manner, typically for special projects. The third through fifth grades utilize classroom sets of ChromeBooks for research, word processing and media creation. The use of technology is viewed as a means rather than an end: Students explore functions of technology that will build on one another until they are ready to move on to Middle School.
In Middle School, students have several different options to use technology for their academic work. Different devices are better suited to different needs. Students develop the ability to choose the right tool that suits their learning process and the task at hand. Students are part of a 1:1 iPad program that begins in sixth grade. While the iPad program gives students access to the digital world for information gathering and sharing, the emphasis of the program is focused on learning by doing. Students learn the process of working in an online world while creating a wide array of digital and online products. The process over product approach gives them the 21st century skills required to be fluent and agile in a modern, technology-rich world.
Middle School students build digital portfolios as a central part of the learning process and authentic assessment. The portfolios document the work, growth and reflection of each student. Building student portfolios supports the metacognitive process as they curate their work, reflect on their thought and work processes, and share the portfolios with their family, peers and other audiences. Portfolios also enable students to embrace our pedagogical model of plan, work and reflect in all that we do.
The ethics of technology use, otherwise known as Digital Citizenship, are embedded in the library/media curriculum from grades 3-6. Digital Literacy is also practiced through guided hands-on use of computers in the classrooms and library program. Presidio Hill believes it is important to instill the skills of ethical media and technology use beginning in the upper elementary grades, helping students develop awareness of their online presence and community. Learning about their digital footprint, how to communicate online, and how to properly cite sources of information will ensure that students are ready for Middle School and beyond.
Digital Literacy and Citizenship Benchmarks
Students in grades 5–8 are assessed on the following benchmarks that relate to their thinking and behavior and apply across all subjects in the same manner as the Habits of Mind.
- Uses technology and information safely and responsibly; is a positive digital citizen. (Digital citizenship)
- Collaborates, communicates and innovates on digital projects and online (Collaboration, Communication & Innovation)
- Demonstrates critical thinking skills: evaluates, analyzes and synthesizes information (Critical thinking)
- Uses and credits information from a variety of resources and media (Digital literacy)
The Maker Movement is firmly rooted in the core progressive educational principles and pedagogical techniques of experiential learning (or learning by doing), self-direction, intrinsic motivation, project-based learning, learning from failure, process over product, and iteration. Teachers and students have been engaged in these practices at Presidio Hill for decades, in virtually every classroom and subject.
We view making in the school environment as harnessing students’ natural inclination to create, deconstruct, analyze and innovate. The modern Maker Movement has influenced us profoundly as it encourages weaving together no-tech, low-tech and high-tech materials with problem solving and design thinking. The library contains a maker/media space that serves as a resource to all students. Some of the resources and activities currently available and on the horizon include: sewing, movie making, circuitry and electronics, creative computing (Arduino, Makey Makey, Raspberry Pi), programming with Scratch, 2D/3D modeling and 3D printing.