Education Week - March 25, 2015 - (Page 15)

admission to the country's most elite universities. "Where technology makes sense, we deploy it," said John Palfrey, the head of school, who also teaches U.S. History. "But most days, we've got 12 kids sitting around a table, and I ask Socratic questions and write on a whiteboard. I still think that's a great way to teach and learn." Investing in Teachers In addition to its focus on creating, rather than consuming, digital content, Andover also differs from many public schools in another key way. "Our approach is not to roll out a lot of technology, then figure out how to use it," Mr. Palfrey said. "Our teachers use a variety of approaches, and we support them like crazy when they head in a particular direction." Despite their dramatically different strategies, both the Waldorf School of the Peninsula and Beaver Country Day School share that emphasis on investing in teachers and trusting their decisions. The Waldorf School of the Peninsula, which enrolls 320 children in daycare and preschool through grade 12, foregoes the use of classroom technology altogether until the middle grades, when teachers then have the discretion to introduce the Internet and begin educating students on how computers work. Teachers at the school move with a single cohort of students from kindergarten through grade 12. By high school, students are required to have access to a computer, which they use for research, writing, and coding. "There's an aspect of being a teacher that's more than just delivering content and curriculum, but has to do with supporting the development of a well-functioning human being," said Monica Laurent, who has taught at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula since 2005. "It's not about liking or not liking technology; it's about using technology as a tool." And while Beaver Country Day embraces ed tech much more enthusiastically than either Andover or the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, the school also focuses its investment on teachers. Staff at the school receive extraordinary supports, including professional development by Google engineers, training from international experts in design thinking, and access to the school's "innovator in residence," whose job is to support school staff in trying new classroom methods. "Teachers need to be encouraged to make mistakes," said Peter Hutton, Beaver's head of school. "We say here that when we have an initiative, everybody's expected to be in, but there are 1,000 ways to do what you want to do." Many independent schools are showing increased interest in edtech tools and strategies now common in public schools, such as blended learning, maker spaces, and 1-to-1 computing, said Mr. Chubb of the nais. Private schools can learn from the public sector when it comes to training teachers, taking initiatives to scale, and sustaining them over time, said Keith R. Krueger, the ceo of the Consortium for School Networking, a Washington nonprofit for schooltechnology leaders. But independent schools' abundant resources, extensive curricular freedom, and deep-seated resistance to one-size-fits-all solutions mean they will likely continue to use educational technology quite differently than their public school counterparts. "It's just natural for schools that pride themselves on being independent and doing things that are unique to want to take advantage of the online space in a way that is also unique," Mr. Chubb said. Coverage of trends in K-12 innovation and efforts to put these new ideas and approaches into practice in schools, districts, and classrooms is supported in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York at Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage. The DIGITAL EDUCATION blog tracks news and trends on this issue. NuVu Design Studio Each trimester, 20 Beaver students head to NuVu, an innovation school/fabrication studio located near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge. There, high school students conceive, design, and build solutions to real-world problems during two-week studios modeled on graduate-level architecture programs. At the students' disposal are a staff of architects, robotics engineers, and artists; experts from mit and Harvard; five 3-D printers; and a workshop outfitted with everything from a circular saw to an industrial sewing machine. Beaver's "Trout Technicians" use technology to help raise native brook trout and promote conservation. Izzy Ramras, above, makes a video about monitoring water quality. Coded Curriculum Many public schools now offer computer science classes and introduce students to computer coding. But at Beaver Country Day School, computer coding is taught in every class, and incorporated into extracurricular activities, such as the school's "Trout Techs" team. "They're not telling kids they have to become computer programmers or designers," said parent Joshua L. Glenn, whose two sons attend Beaver. "They're saying that there are things about programming and design that are really valuable, no matter what you do." Photography by Erik Jacobs for Education Week MULTIMEDIA: For an in-depth look at Beaver Country Day School's approach to integrating digital teaching and learning into classroom lessons, go to: Beaver Country Day junior Alea Laidlaw, 17, third from the left, works at NuVu with a team of students from other area schools to create a dress that will protect people from falling rocks. The making of the dress is part of a lesson in which they imagine what it would be like to live underground. EDUCATION WEEK | March 25, 2015 | | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 25, 2015

Education Week - March 25, 2015
Civics Tests for Diplomas Gain Traction
For Education Next, Views With An Edge
Employers Integral To Career Studies
Experience Seen as Boost For Teachers
Elite Private Schools Tackle Ed Tech
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Eligibility Rules Fuel Growth Of Indiana’s Voucher Program
States Should Play Role in Fostering Engagement, Report Says
Teacher-Leadership Movement Gets Boost From Ed. Dept.
Blogs of the Week
Nonprofits Link Businesses To Career-Tech Programs
At Beaver Country Day, Investing In Innovation
Special Education Task Force Urges Overhaul for California
Gov. Cuomo’s Budget Sparks Backlash in N.Y.
Fight Looms on Kansas Plan To Fund K-12 Via Block Grants
Blogs of the Week
Why School Policies Need to Be Fine-Tuned
Which ‘Common Core’ Are We Talking About?
What Will Be the Impact of the Assessments?
More Educator Voices on Common-Core Implementation
Overcoming ‘Initiative Fatigue’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Breaking the Code of the Common Core

Education Week - March 25, 2015