As you look into the best schools in your community, one of the most important things to consider is how technology will be integrated into the classroom instruction. Web and computer based educational tools are making it easier than ever for students to have self-paced and individualized learning. However, not every student necessarily needs personal tablets to have a comprehensive tech education in school. Here are three reasons to look for private schools with a robust computer program for your child.
If you think that putting your child in a tech-focused program means they’ll be sitting in computer labs all day, think again. The best schools, and indeed, the best private schools, will make sure that students have access to laptops and tablets, so they can bring their text book learning into the real-world. Educational websites like the popular Conjugemos reinforce the classroom instruction, and teachers are now able to create their own websites and share lecture notes to support the traditional classroom instruction. Computer labs and digital textbooks are certainly part of the equation, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
Tech-savvy teachers know that students prefer working with computers and tablets, and truly clever ones know how to leverage their students’ interest to support independent study. Students learn best when they ask questions and have the chance to do research on their own, and easy access to computer labs lets students chart their own independent study. One of the best ways to do this is to give students their own “Genius Hour,” or time to pursue their own passions and interests as they relate to the in-class curriculum. For example, a French class may give students time to interview native French speakers via Skype or video call that can be used as a primary source for a cross-cultural project. The sky’s the limit!
Preparation for the Real World
In addition to making learning fun, tech-literacy is increasingly important in our world. Students should know how to use Microsoft Office, how to troubleshoot basic errors, how to keep their information safe, and how to use a calendar. Students with disabilities can also start using tools on their phones, tablets, and computer labs to improve their learning experiences for college and the world beyond. For example, students who are visually impaired should know about talk-to-text functions to compose essays, while children with ADHD benefit from having a computer read assignments to them while they keep their hands busy. Teaching students how to use these tools early on will make their post-secondary education and future careers even easier.
Not all top private schools structure their education the same way, so don’t be afraid to ask what a typical day in the classroom will look like. The best schools ultimately are the ones that instill the values and teach the lessons that are best for your child, so look beyond the name recognition and sticker price to make sure the curriculum fits your student’s needs.