We are pleased to announce that St. Michael’s has been named one of Arizona’s few Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified Schools for the second year in a row! There are numerous criteria to fulfill before applying to become a Common Sense Certified School. This is an annual certification, and criteria must be completed during the current school year. St. Michael’s takes this responsibility seriously, and we teach digital citizenship K-8!
Common Sense Media, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology, has recognized us because we have demonstrated our commitment 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.
At St. Michael’s we strive to support and enhance teaching and learning through the integration of innovative, equitably accessible technologies into curriculum, instruction, assessment, and administration. We seek to prepare the school community at large to live, work, and lead in a rapidly changing digital world.
At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, every K-5 classroom was supplied with iPads, and every middle school student was given one to use at school and at home. In 2014, the fourth and fifth grade classrooms went 1 to 1 also, and currently the second and third grade classrooms are also 1 to 1. Middle School students have recently begun using Chromebooks instead, currently used in sixth and seventh grade. The iPads and Chromebooks are used for enrichment, for reinforcement, for research, for creation, for recording assignments, etc. They are yet another asset in the arsenal of teaching tools available to today’s students.
Students in grades 4-8 are using a variety of Web 2.0 tools in order to communicate and collaborate via the iPads. These tools include free websites and apps such as Google Apps for Education, Quizlet, and Educreations. They allow for students and teachers to have 24/7 access to discussion boards, shared documents, and other educational tools.
Incorporating digital tools such as iPads and laptops into the lives of students requires that they also are taught how to be safe, secure, and respectful digital citizens. St. Michael’s is utilizing the curriculum materials published by Common Sense Media to provide a comprehensive digital citizenship education. Themes include security, digital life, respecting creative work, safety, searching, connected culture, research and evaluation, self-expression and identity, and privacy and digital footprints.
SMART Boards and Apple TVs
All St. Michael’s classrooms have been equipped with SMART Boards since the summer of 2010. This touch-sensitive, interactive whiteboard allows students and teachers to physically manipulate text and images on the projection screen. The changes are done in digital “ink,” which can be saved on file for future discussions. Each SMART Board also has an auxiliary projector called Apple TV which allows students and teachers to project their iPad’s screen onto the board from any location within the room.
Computer Education Classes
Students in grades K-5 enjoy weekly computer education classes in our lab. We instruct children in proper keyboarding skills and thoroughly teach and use desktop publishing applications. We also explore basic coding with developmentally appropriate programs.