We pride ourselves on technology at Oakwood. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a rapidly changing global society and technology is an integral part of class instruction and learning in all grades. A Google Certified trainer works with faculty to incorporate technology as an effective tool while students learn to purposefully collect and analyze information and to use technology to create, communicate, collaborate, and demonstrate their growing understandings of the world around them.
Starting in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade, each student utilizes an Apple iPad. In 2nd and 3rd grades, students use Apple iPads along with desktop centers and laptop computers stored on rolling carts. In 4th grade, all students are required to purchase their own Apple iPad to use through 7th grade; 8th through 12th grade may choose to use an Apple iPad or laptop.
Fred Austin, Director of Technology
Coming into the world of academia laterally, Fred has helped schools, corporations, and small businesses introduce technology into their world since 1992. Focusing his attention towards Oakwood in 2002, he leads the tech team to evolve Oakwood’s use of technology from cursory word processing and keyboarding to an environment that supports today’s more technologically advanced students as a ubiquitous tool for their everyday learning. Fred and Debbie have been married over 30 years and have two children, two grandchildren and an international daughter. As a patron of the arts, one of his hobbies is participating in the performing arts for over 50 years. Giving back to the community is important to Fred, volunteering for Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, Relay-for-Life, as well as several other charitable organizations throughout the year. He was raised in suburban Long Island, New York and Cape Hatteras as an outdoor enthusiast and now lives on a small farm in mid-west Pitt County.
Following are a few of the MANY ways of how students learn to use technology as an everyday part of 21st century learning in Pre-K-7th grades. By the time students reach Upper School, technology is a seamless part of the fabric of every student's education and learning.
- Students in pre-kindergarten use apps on iPads to practice tracing letters and shapes as well as develop numeracy concepts for mathematics.
- Kindergarten and first grade students use iPads and desktop computers as part of learning center rotations. They access programs such as Reading Eggs and Math Seeds to practice phonics and reading skills and work on number sense and numeracy concepts.
- Second grade students are taught keyboarding and word processing skills on laptops. They are also taught how to navigate websites on the internet. These skills will be used to do research for reports and stories which are written on laptops during Writer’s Workshop. Online subscription programs like IXL are utilized to help students practice math and grammar skills. Apps on the iPad are used to practice skills such as math facts, telling time and counting money.
- Third graders use online programs such as IXL math and grammar, Study Island, and Spelling City as part of their core curriculum to practice literacy and math skills taught in the classroom.
- All Lower School classes are equipped with Apple TV’s and use these tools to provide video clips and other types of media related to the curriculum. Resources such as Discovery Education and YouTube are utilized regularly in the classrooms.
- LS Music classes use Smart Music to work on reading rhythms, pitches, melodic reading, and playing recorders. KHAN Academy for videos about orchestras and instrument families is also used.
- LS Spanish utilizes many apps on the iPad such as Book Creator, iMovie, Quizlet, and Stitch.
- Completing assignments on iPads using touchscreen writing and pinch-and-pull to zoom in on words or math problems allows students with different levels of fine motor skills to demonstrate their work more effectively
- Work is projected in the classroom using the iPads, laptops, AppleTVs, and projection/sound systems, which allows the teacher to display a textbook, worksheet, or other curriculum component on the board while the students are working on or reviewing the same material
- Visual aids from a time period are shown to make a story come alive for the students
- Whole class peer review of writing or project work can be done using the projection system
- Students create multimedia presentations using pictures, movies, music, voice, and other elements to make projects more individualized and interesting
- Online textbooks are utilized in many courses that include interactive components and self-checking assessments providing the students with immediate feedback
- Internet sites are employed for research, exploration of current events, and in the visual and performing arts to view works of art and performances and research artists, writers, and composers
- Students utilize iPads in the science lab for timing devices, photographing lab work and results, taking time-lapse images of labs in progress, graphing data, and generating lab reports
- Study tools such as electronic planners, flash card generators, concept map generators, and other applications are used to stay organized, review content, and learn vocabulary
- Whole class educational electronic games like Classroom Jeopardy are employed to allow for real-time monitoring of individual student work while keeping the whole class engaged
- Educational electronic games are used to improve students’ fluency with multiplication facts
- Our 4th and 5th grade science teacher employs a flipped classroom model where students watch her lessons on video at home, so they spend class time doing hands-on, experiential science in our Lower Middle School laboratory space
- 5th grade students utilize their iPads and a green screen to make weather reports as though they are reporting live from the center of a storm
- 4th graders create a book about the human body systems they are studying
- 4th and 5th grade science employs software to connect the microscopes to a camera to allow for photodocumentation of samples and annotation of the images
- Students at all Middle School grade levels use the school server, Google Drive, and Google Docs to share and save files, and collaborate on the creation of documents
Our students are citizens of the world and we recognize that in the 21st century there is little divide between the online and physical worlds. Our emphasis on integrity, honesty, moral courage, personal accountability, and compassion for others applies to all aspects of our students’ lives. Through class discussion and advisory groups, our faculty helps students to understand the modern challenges of digital communication, information permanence, and the long-term implications of a student’s online footprint.