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Technology

Paradigm Shift in K-12 Education

iLearn Schools believes that integrating technology into teaching will be a new and important paradigm shift in K-12 education. Computer-based technology is now fairly available in K-12 schools, but it has largely yet to be infused into the curriculum. With the tremendous change in access to technology, we expect a parallel increase in teacher use of technology in their practices. Today, in many schools, teachers’ use of technology is still quite limited.

Teachers use computers mostly for creating instructional materials, and fewer are using computers or tablets/apps with students in multimedia/presentations. The most common use of computers in the classroom is having students use Microsoft Office products. iLearn Schools believes that access to technology with Kindles, smart phones, tablets, smart boards, Forte Keyboards, or computers presents a real opportunity for widespread integration of technology into the curriculum, and that this will be the most important paradigm shift in K-12 education. Depending upon the technological improvements made, we can also expect another paradigm shift to be restructuring/reshaping schools. Schools will be redesigned from top to bottom, and traditional classrooms will not be as useful as once before.

The Future of Education

Many schools are looking for different ideas around technology integration in education.
Some schools use the “Blended Education” model, which is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online instructional tools, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. Some schools use the “Flipped Classroom” model, which is a form of blended learning in which students teach and switch roles with teachers.

They will learn content by watching video lectures online from home. What used to be homework is now done in class. With teachers and students discussing and solving questions, more personalized guidance and interaction with students exists rather than simply lecturing.

This is also known as the backwards classroom or inverted classroom. There are also virtual schools or cyber-schools where institutions teach courses entirely or primarily through online methods. The invention of tablet computers was one of the most important milestones of technology integration in education. With tablets, educators can use many different apps for their instruction, and students can exercise handwriting skills via stylus digital pens. Using new and different ideas in education will always be needed, as the world is ever-changing.

How iLearn Schools
Utilizes Technology

Many schools are looking for different ideas of technology integration in education. At iLearn Schools, our goal is to prepare our instructional staff to integrate technology into the classroom and promote a student-learning environment that assists and encourages technological skills. The implementation of technology is at the forefront of all educational programs at iLearn Schools.

The dominant vision is that all children will become technologically literate, so that they will be able to adapt to the myriad of technological advances in the 21st Century.
In addition, teachers learn how technological tools enhance instruction in the classroom. Students use technology to access the most up-to-date information from a variety of sources. Every classroom has computers available for student and teacher use, not just for drilling and practice, but for extended research in all content areas.

An instructional technology coordinator is available at all iLearn Schools to integrate new structures in classrooms, including: smart boards, reflective cameras, tablets, clickers, and digital pens to iPods, iPads, and kindles. Most importantly, iLearn Schools is established as a wireless community, which allows access to information from many locations and with any devices. To that end, iLearn Schools’ campuses aim to utilize technology primarily for instruction and communication.

Technology for Communication

School Websites

The iLearn Schools website (www.ilearnschools.org) is our main webpage that leads us to the highlights of iLearn Schools. In addition, individual school websites can be accessed through this website. Each individual website allows parents, visitors, future parents, faculty, and students to obtain information about the current and future happenings in the school.

Social Networking

Social networking is one of the most effective means of communication in the modern world; all iLearn Schools’ campuses are up-to-speed with social media in the form of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr accounts where the schools’ ongoing activities are clearly communicated with all stakeholders.

Voice-Messaging System

iLearn Schools uses SchoolReach to broadcast weekly voice messages that inform parents and staff concerning ongoing school activities and events. These messages are broadcasted instantly to the receivers’ mobile devices, and they are also posted on the school websites and on podcasts for convenience. Meanwhile, this system is also capable of sending messages via text, which is primarily utilized for school closings and openings when necessary.

Mass-Emailing

iLearn Schools uses iContact, an email-marketing system, to advertise school events, with thousands of registered stakeholders’ email accounts.

School Mobile Applications

At iLearn Schools, parents and staff are afforded the opportunity to use specific apps (AES and Class Dojo) to access student accounts and information. This program enables parents to access essential knowledge concerning their child’s academic performance and behavior on the go.

iPad Kiosks

A Kiosk can be found at all of iLearn Schools’ school entrances, which is an advanced information system that enables visitors to electronically sign in and out of the building, as well as browse school communications, and even apply for our school online. This system sends automated emails to visitors regarding their feedback and opinion of their experience; these are then delivered to the school’s administrators.

Management Software

iLearn Schools uses Apple Education Service’s student-management software, which grants parents access to their child’s attendance, grades, homework, behavior, etc. This system enables parents to remain informed of recent updates concerning their child(ren). iLearn Schools is also adopting a new learning management system, Schoology. Schoology will abet our digital learning experience, particularly at the high school level.

Technology for Instruction

Smart Boards, Document Cameras and Clickers

At iLearn Schools, all classrooms are equipped with smart boards, document cameras, and clickers. Strong Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity is also available in every building, and teachers are provided a laptop computer or an iPad to support their instructional practices.
SMART Boards are digital, interactive whiteboards that are equipped in every classroom. The SMART Boards are an effective tool for helping to support classroom instruction across all grade levels.

The SMART Board can appeal to varying styles of learners. Tactical learners can learn by physically interacting with the SMART Board using it as a touchscreen, audio learners can participate in discussion, and visual learners can observe images. The document cameras are a wonderful way for teachers to share books, 3D objects, display content over the iPad, and conduct detailed demonstrations or experiments with an entire class. The classroom response system requires the use of clickers. Using the clicker, a teacher can ask his or her class a multiple choice question to review concepts taught over the SMART Board. Once the student submits the answer to the question using the Clicker, the responses are collected using software on the teacher’s computer. This will collect data for the teacher on the student answer choices. The teacher can then modify the instruction for students depending upon their levels of understanding.

Forte Keyboards for K-3

Future generations must be trained to hone their typing skills from an early age. This is just as important as students developing effective handwriting abilities at the K-3 level. The new state testing system, PARCC, requires all students in grades 3-12 to be tested using an online platform. With this new change to the testing system, even a 3rd grade student is expected to know how to type in the fastest and most accurate way possible.
iLearn Schools already purchased classroom sets of Forte keyboards for all K-3 schools, and students are provided 15-20 minutes of typing time in class daily. Our goal is to have our students discover “keyboard fluency” and the joy of writing.

Chromebooks for Middle Schools

To help digitalize instruction in the classrooms, iLearn Schools has purchased a set of Chromebooks for all middle school ELA and Math teachers. Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing "in the cloud". iLearn Schools 4-8 grade level students are provided with safe school email accounts that can be used as Chromebook accounts as well. Chromebooks have also been proven to be convenient devices for PARCC testing.

iPads for High Schools

To better prepare our students for the 21st century world, iLearn Schools started a one-to-one iPad education at Bergen Arts & Science Charter High School in 2011-2012. We were committed to providing each student and teacher with an iPad to use throughout the school year. To purchase the devices, we allocated funds within our existing budget by eliminating costly computer labs and deciding to forgo printed textbooks.

The one-to-one iPad program uses technology that’s already a substantial part of students’ lives in order to make them more excited about learning. Giving students access to an iPad also allows teachers to better adapt to their students’ unique needs and abilities. Students are no longer limited to writing essays and answering multiple-choice questions in order to demonstrate all that they know.

Kindles for Middle Schools

iLearn Schools has moved in the direction of using Kindles to allow for the tailored approach of ELA instruction to meet the needs of each student. Kindles allow for numbered pages, graphics, and a table of contents, just as a printed book appears. Kindles present many benefits and advantages; books may be downloaded and read anywhere, without an internet connection. Kindles are also portable. You can carry a whole library with hundreds of books with you, without worrying about their weight.

Kindles are safely stored and carried from one place to another. They also withstand the test of time more than hard copy books do. Fonts in Kindles can be resized, making them easier to read for students who are visually impaired or disabled. With additional software, it is possible to turn some of the Kindles into audio books.