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Moderator aka AmyBob
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Where I work, we are making great strides toward integrating technology into our curriculum. I don't mean, like having a teacher project their lesson with a power point and a projector...I mean, like instead of a test on the Bill of Rights, students taking their cell phones and taking pictures of six of the rights in action, or creating podcasts instead of writing essays, etc. (Not to worry...we still focus on the basics or reading and writing and math, but we are looking differently at how todays kids learn and how they can best show us what they know.)

I am the head of the 21st Century Learning Committee for our building and we are researching and reading and learning about todays students as well as how to best use technology in education.

My question is, how tech-based is your kids school? First of all, is there technology available for the kids to use, do the teachers use technology in their lessons, and do you feel your schools are preparing your kids for being adults in the 21st Century?

This question is for people who send their kids to public or private school, and I'd love to know where in the country you are, as well.
 

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I have a 5th grader in KY. I don't think they're terribly advanced here. They have a few computers in each classroom. There is also a mobile computer lab- dell minis that the tech teacher takes to each class twice a week. They take some tests on the computers.
There is a tech club after school for fourth and fifth graders, but it is limited to a certain number. The kids have to fill out an application, get references and interview for it. My son got in and they do podcasts, a blog, robots and a few other things.
That's where we are and I know we are in one of the best districts in the state.
 

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DS (age 14 - 8th grade) attends a private school. They are a book, paper and teacher discussions kind of place. There are only 14 in a class, lots of one on one with the teacher and plenty of hands on learning. There are computers available for the students and computer classes are taught. But, for the basic subjects, it is a book/workbook/lab/note taking only kind of thing.

DD (age 16 - 11th grade) attends a public school. They have an IT academy in her school where the kids who are interested in technology can go for their classes. They incorporate modern technology in every class. In the regular classrooms the kids often have to do their own power point presentations. She also has many essays and research papers to do on a regular basis. Which I am very happy about. Writing skills are so important, in my opinion. However, I feel like essay writing and research skills are not focused on enough anymore. Computers are available in all classrooms and in the computer lab. They are also required to take a computer/business technology class. Basic computer, letter writing, and typing skills are taught.

We gave our kids the choice as to whether they wanted to attend a public school or private school. Each one made his and her own choice based on their learning styles and the class of students attending. All of DD's classes are AP, she has over a 4.0 and is ranked top of her class of 450. DS makes all A's and is also top of his class. I am happy with each of the schools they have chosen. I think both schools are doing just fine. But, I also do not believe it is solely the school's responsibility to prepare my kids. As their parents, DH and I are ultimately the ones responsible for our kids. I would never depend on any school, public or private, to completely prepare my kids for their futures.

We are in Alabama.
 

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A PS 12th,10th,8th and 5th grader. They have to do powerpoint presentations. That's about as 'tech' as it gets here. The elementary has like 2 computers in the classroom. The 8th grader is given time to do research on the school computers for projects. The high schoolers don't get time on the computer at school. I'm not sure what kids w/o internet do. I am in rural IN.
 

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My daughter is in grade 11 public school in Nova Scotia. She takes a technology class where they do projects on different computer software (moviemaker, photoshop etc.), as well as technical communication (email, etc.). They each get their own computer in that class. I don't know how much technology is incorporated in teaching her other subjects, I'm pretty far away so our conversations don't often touch on teaching methods. I know computers are available to them, and they all have email accounts and a personal drive on the school server.

I know you are focused on curriculum, but one thing the school does which is great from a parental perspective is they post information on their website. I can sign in with my daughter's student number and check her attendance. The teachers also maintain individual pages with details about assignments - due dates, assignment details. School events, exam dates, newsletters etc. are all posted. Her elementary school did this as well. I remember her grade 4 teacher updated his site daily with that day's homework - invaluable for me to keep her up to date.

The website for the school she went to here hadn't been updated in three years. I couldn't even find out when the first day of school was one year - had to drive to the school and read it off a sign.

BTW I love your school's ideas of taking pictures and creating podcasts. They really require critical thought (especially the pictures) rather than just repeating what they heard in class. Sounds like a great way to engage your students.
 

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Moderator aka AmyBob
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0911laob...that's great you live in an area with such great schools...can I ask you to elaborate with regards to technology in the school?

monkey...we do a similar thing with our school website and teacher pages...it makes such a difference for the students and the parents...I'm glad to hear your DD's school does it as well!
 

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I know you are focused on curriculum, but one thing the school does which is great from a parental perspective is they post information on their website. I can sign in with my daughter's student number and check her attendance. The teachers also maintain individual pages with details about assignments - due dates, assignment details. School events, exam dates, newsletters etc. are all posted. Her elementary school did this as well. I remember her grade 4 teacher updated his site daily with that day's homework - invaluable for me to keep her up to date. .
Both of my children's schools have this as well.
DS's is done through his school's website. We can log in 24/7 and get all of his info. DD's is maintained through the school system. I love it because I have found, on several occasions, where the teachers have given her zero's on classwork, homework and even tests by mistake. Had I not been able to see her grade, we would not have been able to find these mistakes and get them corrected. I like being able to know on a daily basis what their averages are, in case they fall below an A or a B.
 

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Each teacher in the elementary class has a smart board to you to each lessons. The elementary students go to computer class twice a week. The teachers can borrow lap tops for every child to use in the class. There is also a tv with cable and a dvd player in each room. upper elementary ed students make power point presentation. The upper elementary students can be in a after school group that makes a local ( in school) tv program and airs it for the school.

In middle school it is the same as above but they have graded computer class everyday.

Al lstudents can log on to their text book sites via the internet at home.

High school I'm not sure I don't have a high schooler.
 

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We live in Va. Both kids attend public school but are in the Magnet Program for the school district. Ds is in 8th grade and dd is in 6th. They are both currently enrolled in the science and technology magnet so the availability of technology is skewed because of that. They have access to more technology than if they were attending our zoned school or if they were attending a different magnet program. All of the schools do at least have a computer lab in the library, including the elementary schools. And they try to get at least one computer in each class room. The optional preschool program run by the school district has a computer in each class room to try and get the kids used to using a computer. It is by no means a rich school system, but they do try to expose the kids to technology as early as possible.
My son has applied for one of the high school magnets that is nothing but computers. DS will be able to sit for a certification exam in his senior year but i can't remember which one it is.And he'll have some college credits earned as well.It's part of the aviation program so they get some other neat techy stuff to learn on too. They even have a mini wind tunnel. That is not the norm for our schools.
The non magnet schools do use computers quite a bit and they are starting to get smart boards into the regular classrooms. They also offer computer courses as electives.
 

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Both of my kids attend public school, but they're in different schools. DS6 goes to the nearby primary school and is in a class with 19 children. They do the basic school subjects and have "centers", which allows them time to pick what they want to play and do that. They do have computers in the classroom and a Smart Board, but that's about it.

DS11 goes to a special needs class in a public school. He's with four other kids and there's one teacher with two assistants. He gets therapies from all spectrums to help him develop essential life skills for when he gets old enough to be on his own. They also use a Smart Board, but a lot of their learning is more traditional than most schools.

I imagine the kids get more technological-based learning at home. We try to emphasize other means of learning before technology. I'd say that the kids are given access to as much as they need for the age that they're currently experiencing. I'm not sure about other schools in the system, but with 180 schools in the public school board alone, I imagine that many of them utilize either more or less technology than we do.
 

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My DD (12) is in the 7th grade at a public school. All of her classes are equipped with a "smart board". They also use computer labs in most all of her classes. She does most of her reports with power point and puts them in a drop box for that particular teacher on the school website. The school has a website that the students, parents and teachers use to communicate. We can also see the daily assignments and additional information on this website.
 

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both my boys have to make essays, slide shows and use corel, powerpoint etc for alot in differnt subjects. Plus I find it helps that I have net so they can send and use their own passoword protected program through this puter and send it to school one. check Mondays when they get to school and go over it with teacher for first and second copies and see whats needs more work.
 
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