Through formal computer lab instruction as well as embedded lessons in the classroom, LREI students learn to be critical thinkers who use technology to seek answers for themselves and to effectively express their ideas. A solid foundation of skills is built beginning in lower school and continuing on into high school, thus giving students the the ability to navigate new technologies confidently and responsibly. All students sign a responsible use policy and work to be good citizens at school, in their communities, and online.
As students transition from early childhood, technology is slowly integrated into their classrooms at developmentally appropriate times. Students become problem solvers with a variety of tools in their tech-box. Starting in lower school, students are encouraged to become self-directed learners who can effectively ask the right questions to discover new information independently. Students study their first programming language in third grade. When coding in Logo, the students learn syntax, develop troubleshooting skills, and become computational thinkers. As a class, fourth grade students write their own digital citizenship contract. The students are responsible for including examples of what makes a good digital citizen, as well as consequences for not abiding by this contract. This contract is then shared with and signed by an adult before students receive their school drive accounts. Fourth grade students produce the lower school yearbook, Really Red. Students work together to design a unique edition every year and become confident in Photoshop and InDesign.
Middle school technology instruction builds upon this framework. Fifth grade students dig deeper into coding, create their own games in Scratch, and produce their own websites in HTML. Continuing in middle school, students learn how to evaluate websites and resources for veracity and bias. In fifth grade, students are given access to an LREI email account, and discuss at length what it means to write an email and have a digital record of their words. Fifth grade students are also asked to design everything from websites to storage solutions to 3D models and board games. Our “Gear Girls” group creates Rube Goldberg machines, presents on female inventors, and experiments with maker technology. Eighth graders are able to express themselves using Photoshop and InDesign in our digital arts course, creating public service announcements, and manipulating basic images.
In high school, students build and strengthen their internet research and resource evaluation skills in the technology and digital literacy course. These students explore how their digital identity interacts with the information they consume. They build and strengthen their internet research and resource evaluation skills, and create thoughtful, intentional visual media.The culminating experience for students at LREI is the senior project, which students complete in their final trimester. Each project is experiential and interdisciplinary and reflects the student’s individual passions and interests. Students share what they have learned at the senior project presentation evening, utilizing their digital design skills to create visual presentations.