Technology

In addition to an ongoing computer technology curriculum implemented throughout the grade levels (see curriculum guides for each grade), in 2010 Columbia Academy made a commitment to become a leader in technology with the implementation of a new one-to-one technology initiative. Starting in the Fall of 2011, Columbia Academy began providing every student in grades 7-12 with an Apple iPad  (16G, Wi-Fi). Students in grades Jr. K – 6 also have access to numerous iPads, which will be provided for student use and as instruction tools for teachers. This bold step positioned CA as the first school in Tennessee to offer this revolutionary new model for learning.

Although this device is still new, its technology has already proven to be a transformative medium of communication and essentially a new function in our society with the iPhone and similar devices. Portability and in
stant Internet access are now becoming the norm. We cannot afford to be left behind or our students will not be equipped for a world that continues to change at a rapid pace.

With changes come challenges, but we are more prepared for those through our infrastructure that supports
this enhanced technology. Currently all academic buildings on campus are 100% wireless Internet facilities. Our technology efforts are also being led by Eric Karkau as the Chief Technology Officer. Eric brings more than 10 years of IT support and security experience from Nashville companies like Guidant Partners, ServiceMaster and HCA.

Although we are still in the early stages of incorporating this technology into our classrooms, we are confident that embracing it aligns with our mission – to serve students so they master skills, knowledge, and character appropriate for them and their future while becoming Christ like in attitude and behavior.  Although we strive to be not of this world, we live in this world and must understand it to be effective servants. Our goal is to help our students embrace this technology in an environment where they can be trained to use it responsibly and for good.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What will be the cost to individual families for the iPads?

A: The cost requires a technology fee for each student in grades K - 12 ($250 for K-6, $450 for 7-12).

Q: Will students “own” their iPads?

A: Although students in grades 7-12 will be allowed to take them home for homework and personal use, the iPads will belong to Columbia Academy and will be upgraded as necessary. Students will turn them in to CA if they move to another school or graduate.

Q: What if my child already has an iPad? Will we still be required to pay the technology fee?

A: Yes. We are aware that some students may already have an iPad, but in order to support the technology initiative that will enable the entire school to have access, every student will be required to participate.

Q: Will every student be required to use an iPad in some way in the classroom?

A: Yes. For this program to be successful, it must be implemented at every school level. As we integrate technology throughout our curriculum, every student in every class will be affected. We believe that our students will become better equipped for college and will develop a lifetime love of learning and increased creativity as they embrace use of this device.

Q: How will these be used in the classroom? How can this really enhance learning?

A: The answer to this could take numerous pages and hours of discussion, but briefly stated, the iPad completely changes how students can learn and how teachers can instruct. Examples include:

  • In all grades, teachers can get immediate feedback from students that provides valuable assessment on classroom comprehension (ex. teacher asks a question, students answer on iPad, results travel to teacher’s iPad. In this way, the teacher knows everyone’s comprehension level – not just those who “raise their hands.”)
  • Literally hundreds of educational applications exist and continue to be developed for all grade levels that can “tutor” and challenge children in math, science, history, grammar, spelling and much more. Most applications are under $4.00, and many are free.
  • iPad applications and Internet platforms can be projected in classrooms and allow students and the teacher to move through an application or exercise together.
  • The technology isn’t “one size fits all” and appeals to all different types of learners – visual, auditory and tactile.
  • The iPad iBooks application will eventually allow us to replace the heavy load of textbooks on our students. Most classic literature is available for free and books for purchase cost less than printed versions. Students can also instantly look up word meanings or information that relates to what they are reading.
  • In general, students who are using iPads in the classroom become more engaged in the learning process. Homework battles become fewer, and parents find that students become more responsible and enthusiastic regarding their schoolwork.

Q: Won’t this increase the possibilities for our students to view inappropriate content on the Internet at school and/or home?

A: Although this may initially increase the instant access many students have to the Internet, we know that in today’s world, students already have this access through numerous channels. It is simply a reality of our times. The best response to this technology is to learn to use it responsibly with guidelines and boundaries in an environment where Christian values are taught – this includes home and school.

On campus, we will continue to use our secure content filter, which attempts to block all inappropriate content from our server. We also trust that you will enforce similar guidelines at home by using content filtering technology and communicating and enforcing your expectations.

Q: How is this implemented in the younger grades, Jr. K – 6?

A: Starting in 2018, all students in grades 3-6 will have a dedicated iPad for their personal use at school. These devices will stay at the school. Dedicated carts with approximately 24 iPads in each will be available for younger grades. iPads will be available in every classroom for Jr.K – 1st grade to use in their center learning times.

Q: Does the Spring Hill campus have iPads too?

A: Yes, the Spring Hill campus uses a cart and classroom iPads in the same way that the Lower School does at the Columbia campus. The 3rd and 4th grade students have an iPad for use at school for each student.