In this recurring blog series, we look at the Culture of Innovation at Eastern Christian School. A major Institutional distinctive that sets EC apart as a global leader in Christian Education is that this is a school community and leadership team that takes calculated risks on new, leading ideas in order to more effectively fulfill the mission and Kingdom Impact of the school.
Before reading on. Take a moment to reflect on your schooling and try to answer the following question: What was your favorite learning tool?
Having trouble answering the question? Here are some possible answers to choose from: No. 2 pencil, Bic pen, mechanical pencil, spiral notebook, 3 ring notebook.
The common denominator for all of the above examples is that at one point in time they were necessary technology tools individually deployed – 1:1 – to facilitate learning. In other words, each was a necessary tool for each student to have for learning. However, in each example using the technology was not the goal. These tools facilitated learning-centered goals. Although the term 1:1 was coined relatively recently, it is not a new concept. Education has always had 1:1 initiatives to enable learning.
At Eastern Christian School we are doing a lot of thinking about equipping our students to be 21st Century learners who can think critically and problem solve using information, knowledge and understanding they can access from a variety of resources. We know our graduates will be expected to be skillful at collaboration and communication, think creatively and adapt to rapid innovation. So, we are working at creating learning environments on each campus that will support a variety of devices (learning tools) students can use to enhance their learning.
Perhaps, the recent creation of a 1:1 Chromebook initiative at our middle school is the best example of this ongoing work. A Chromebook is a cloud-based laptop designed specifically as a Google Apps for Education learning tool. Our 7th & 8th students are responsible for bringing their Chromebook to all classes, and our 5th & 6th grade students have classroom access to Chromebook laptop class sets.
Transitioning to this new powerful learning tool has been seamless because students are already experts at using digital devices. They use the device to work together to investigate teacher designed essential questions, simultaneously contributing to a common document that is shared with the teacher. Now, instead of a teacher exclusively preparing materials and presentations for the classroom, students are developing authentic and creative presentations, movies, podcasts and web quests.
Do you remember when you were in kindergarten or first grade being taught how to hold the pencil so that you could write clearly? The purpose of that teaching was not the end your teacher had in mind. You were being trained to use that 1:1 tool for learning. Learning growth is always the goal of 1:1 innovation. At Eastern Christian the first paragraph of our Graduate Profile sums up the end we have in mind as we continue to equip our students with effective learning tools.
“Utilizing Biblically informed inquiry and strong academic knowledge, an Eastern Christian graduate will think critically, exhibit curiosity and develop the discernment that will enable him/her to confidently and intentionally strive for excellence in every endeavor.”
Richard Van Yperen
Director of Curriculum & Instruction
Other “Culture of Innovation” Blog Posts: