By now you have all heard plenty about computers in education and, in particular, at The Grauer School. This, and “Green Grauer” are two of the major initiatives we are creating this year—you’ll hear a lot more on Green Grauer. Our main reason for the technology shift is the general move to interactive, digital textbooks. This is an exciting and real opportunity for all kinds of learners.
We have a long history of technological leadership. Our new laptop requirement for students (a joint development of faculty, a student team, and our administration) might not really be called leadership; after all, we are formalizing an earth-shaking trend that is already here. Our kids are online, with us or without us. 95% of our students already owned laptops as of last year. Digital technology is the norm in fine schools everywhere. The major educational publishers are racing into digital and online textbook resources—and we agree that the best way to continue is not to cart heavy textbooks back and forth every day in giant crates or backpacks.
This year we will be regularly inviting you to join us in engaging with your child to ensure that the technology that we are inundated with is managed properly and with balance. Times of transition are tricky. We are there for you. Our role is to help students navigate those transitions wisely. To those who are struggling with ownership of a laptop, we will provide loaners at low cost. To those who bemoan the transition to a digital world or just need a hand with it, we want to talk to you—call me or our IT coordinator Sean Hauze. We plan to help make sure your child has the equipment he/she needs to function safely and well in this changing landscape.
By squarely facing the fact that we are deep in a digital age, we can focus on the issues that have presented themselves along with that: being social on and off line, appropriate technology, eye focus, handwriting, being present, taking down time from digital tech.
Here are some facts about your kids:
Our students are avid, daily users of social media, with Facebook being the most popular site at 68% (many even have a second Facebook to stay “under the wire”)
Most teens in general report a positive impact from using social media
Most teens prefer face to face communication, as “moments only happen in person”
Some of our students wish they could disconnect more often
Our school will take a leadership role in developing parent, student, and teacher practices for healthy living and mindfulness. Along the way, we hope to have some serious fun!
[Please refer back to the previous two columns in this newsletter if you have missed our coverage of digital technology.]