Blue Valley aims to effectively integrate technology to support curricular objectives: learning is first, technology is second. The school has a full time digital learning coordinator who collaborates with teachers in the implementation of digital resources. Technology is one of the many tools that Blue Valley uses to offer cutting-edge academic preparation and holistic education
The use of mobile devices in the classroom changed the way teachers design their activities. Internet connectivity allows the students access to a vast variety of resources and content. There are many examples of innovation among Blue Valley’s teachers.
The protocol that the school developed to foster innovation was somewhat different from other protocols. We did not start with the risk takers; we started by working with all the science teachers (preparatory through twelfth grade.) By systematically incorporating all the teachers, the more experienced colleagues helped the less digital teachers with the transition.
The interaction generates an on-going dialogue among teachers who, in turn, get a big picture of the possibilities through peer conversations. The IT support team models good practices for the integration of technology in the curriculum. Thus, we reach our proposed goal: to make students’ learning more enduring and enjoyable.
For the practical strategy, the digital learning coordinator communicates with the teacher to look for the best resources to incorporate in a selected subject matter. They jointly design the plan for the lesson and then co-teach it. The students’ enjoyment and requests to repeat the system validates the integration. Assessments will confirm expected learning if the cognitive objective for the activity has been well designed.
The greatest strength of the program is a clear vision for the integration of technology in the classroom. The school’s community agrees that learning is the priority, not technology by itself. A reflective process to constantly evaluate and adjust the integration of technology to students’ needs and teachers’ benefit ratifies the advantages of the approach. It also contributes to structure professional development sessions to address computer training as a tool for pedagogical innovation.