Technological advances are at the forefront of modern society, affecting many aspects of our lives and providing new ways to interact with the world around us. The goal of Plumstead Christian School’s technology department is to provide insight from a distinctly Christian perspective with regard to the integration and implementation of information and other technologies. While preparing students with 21st-century skills we desire to instill in them an understanding of the moral and ethical concerns associated with these tools. It is not only important to know how things work, but also the importance of using them wisely. There is great potential for advancing the kingdom of God, investigating His creation, and helping mankind through technology, and it is our hope that PCS students will learn to purposefully leverage this science in a manner that brings glory to God.
K’nex STEM Design Challenge 2016
The lower and middle schools each anticipate sending two teams to the regional K’nex STEM Design Challenge competition. The STEM Design Challenge encourages students to work as a 4-person team to answer a challenge. This year’s task is to create a K’Nex structure that will move a ping pong ball from one side of the table to the other lengthwise. The length that the ping pong ball must travel is 4 feet. Students may create a cup or dish to hold the ping pong ball but all pieces must be made from K’Nex.
LEGO Robotics Space Challenge Finale
The after school LEGO Robotics club invited parents to visit and observe the final meeting for the Space Challenge. Elated students demonstrated their robot creations and programming skills while eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Challenge’s top performing team. First through third place winners were each awarded a plaque with their team logo. Following the award presentation, all of the students enjoyed a variety of cookies in recognition of their efforts. Parents interested in continuing robotics learning at home can find information at LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or Make Magazine Robot Gift Guide. We are also seeing a variety of robot toys in stores this year. Be sure to get one that is programmable and/or configurable to get the best educational advantage.
Computer programming is offered beginning in the lower school all the way through upper school. Young elementary school students are exposed to technology in many of their regular classes. They also have weekly technology classes that expose them to computer science and programming through such tools as Scratch and after school LEGO Robotics. The middle school offers courses each year in Computer Concepts, Computer Applications, and Multimedia. Our middle and upper school courses include introductory programming using Multimedia Fusion as well as courses in C++, Visual Basic, Web Design, Photoshop, and others to stimulate interest in engineering and computer science careers. From K-12 our students are instructed in Internet safety and digital citizenship and taught to think biblically about technology use in the information age and to consider how technology and information science can be used to serve effectively through a Christ-centered life.
Wireless Document Camera/Projector
The addition of wireless document cameras has opened up more opportunities for students to interact with technologies in the classroom. The document camera allows students to share their individual work with the entire classroom by providing a live video image that is projected onto the classroom’s interactive whiteboard. The camera can capture both still shots and moving video which can be stored for later use. Technologies like these are tools to help teachers make lessons more interactive, visually stimulating, and timely.
Document cameras have been available for teacher use for years, but the addition of wireless capability now allows teachers greater freedom in the classroom. In fact, these cameras have a range of up to 75′ which enables them to be used in nearby “remote” locations outside of the classroom. Another feature of this new camera is the ability to take time-lapse images to allow students to investigate slow processes such as bacterial growth in a petri dish or watch a plant grow before their eyes.
The images shown depict a student demonstrating a potato battery experiment while the whole class looks on.
PCS Improves 1 to 1 Computing by adding B.Y.O.D. for Middle School
This year Plumstead Christian School will be broadening its B.Y.O.D. policy. Our new approach allows middle school students to bring their own devices to school. While our program has always included opportunities for 1 to 1 computing through the use of school laptop carts in the classroom, this new initiative allows students to use the devices that are most comfortable for them. Our middle school program will provide additional support through lessons teaching proper netiquette and informing students regarding online hazards. We still use Internet filtering for our entire school to protect students from unsavory web content. All device use is under the supervision of our teaching staff.
Upper school students have enjoyed this privilege for years and have demonstrated responsible use and behaviour. This additional access to information technologies has enhanced learning and collaboration for many students. We believe that technology provides tools to help foster 21st century skills needed to excel in present and future leadership roles.