On Saturday morning I was telling a friend about what our girls had been doing this week with respect to the integration of technology and just how proud I was of both their work and the collaboration between staff and students. One might think I was talking about technology integration within the context of academic classes; however, it was just the opposite. What we witnessed this week was integration that enhanced the experiences of our community beyond class time.
This past week was Spirit Week at St. Clement’s-one of our community’s favourite times of the year-with each grade and staff member participating fully in fun, themed activities. Our student leaders chose the theme of movie franchises this year and each Junior School division, Upper School grade and the staff was assigned a colour and movie theme that would guide what they should wear each day.
How does technology integration fit in with this?
In addition to the costumes and dressing up, there were lunchtime activities, including a Beat the Box Office competition. Our student leaders wanted to make sure that our community could experience the activity ‘real time’ and could cheer on their representative teams, despite the competition’s being held in various different parts of the school. Accordingly, with some guidance by our Technology and Teaching Coach, but mostly the girls’ creativity and innovation, a program was created and the entire event was live streamed in our lunchroom for students to watch. Teams were followed using our iPads, allowing classmates the opportunity to watch their representatives; scores were updated as teams completed activities, and the rest of us cheered on our groups together.
At St. Clement’s learning and its facilitation and enhancement are our fundamental foci. Thus whatever choices we make around instructional practice must reflect our mission of developing outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate. Ensuring that any pedagogical approach is creating an exceptional environment that stretches our girls’ capacity to ask questions, to take risks in their learning, and to do so in a manner that ensures a safe environment for everyone is a must. With respect to technology, tools should not drive technology integration. It is how technology and its integration enhance learning that counts.
During Spirit Week, our student leaders were our role models, creating the activity, problem solving to make it more engaging for all, and allowing all students and staff beyond the competitors, to be a part of the activity. It was clear that the integration of technology enhanced the experience for all of us in the community, beyond just academic time.
At the end of this week, our student leaders arranged to have our Head Girl, Margaret, currently in the UK going through a series of university interviews, Skype into assembly on Friday morning to give her ‘thought of the day’. Margaret was very sorry to miss Spirit Week, but was, in fact, able to be a part of it nonetheless.
Congratulations and thank you, girls, for demonstrating technology integration at its best.