Inside SFS

License to...Type?

Tagged with:

To help her Fourth Graders learn about digital citizenship, Paige Sandoz led them through a rigorous (and fun!) licensing process through her iPad Boot Camp.


By Melissa Holman-Kursky, Communications Manager

For so many reasons, Fourth Grade is an exciting year at SFS. Among those reasons, as any Fourth Grader will tell you: it is the year in which students begin using iPads as part of their regular classroom curriculum. Thanks to our one-to-one iPad program, Fourth Grade students receive their own (kept at school) iPad for academic use as part of the classroom curriculum. 

Wonderful news? Of course! And, of course, as students gasp in joy at the prospect of iPads at school…parents and teachers celebrate a little more cautiously, all too aware of the great pitfalls - along with the great advantages - of entering the digital world. Questions pop up right away: will they be learning, or just playing games on devices all day? What if they don’t know how to use an iPad yet, or type? What if they already spend a lot of time on devices at home? Most importantly - how will we keep them safe, and knowledgeable, about this new world? 

Paige Sandoz, Fourth Grade Head Teacher, is prepared. Using a comprehensive technology curriculum that she created in partnership with her professional development work with Knowing Technologies, Sandoz arms her students with important lessons in digital citizenship, starting with them earning the right to use their iPads in the first place. “I use the analogy that getting an iPad in school is like getting your driver’s license,” she reflects. “It’s a privilege, and you need training and testing before being able to use it independently. New drivers have more restrictions than experienced drivers; it’s the same with iPads in school.” 

Sandoz expects students to enter Fourth Grade with a range of ability with and exposure to iPads and other devices. Whatever students’ experiences, she also expects them to learn to think about technology differently depending on the context. “We discussed that an iPad at school is a learning tool. It’s used to enhance your learning in class, not for games, which can be different than how it might be used at home.”

To help students with this understanding, and to help them acquire the basic computing skills they need to start their Fourth Grade year, she created an iPad Boot Camp. To earn their licenses, students had to attend lessons in class, pass three quizzes with a grade of 100%, and create a final project to show what they’d learned. Students with a grade of less than 100% had a chance to meet with teachers for one-on-one training before the next lesson. “They were really proud of themselves when they earned their licenses,” Sandoz notes. “They take iPad use very seriously, and I can trust them while they use them. Trust is key for me, because then I can more easily integrate iPads into our subject-area classes to enhance learning.” 

The Fourth Graders’ ongoing technology lessons have implications beyond this year, even beyond their lives at SFS - another topic of which Sandoz is well aware. “They need to be able to code-switch between iPad use at home and at school. But they also will have strong skills in  many applications (like the Google Suite, Canva, Flipgrid, Newsela, and Seesaw, plus general typing proficiency, for instance), which they’ll use in the future. Most importantly, they will be familiar and comfortable talking about topics related to digital citizenship.” 

Posted January 30, 2018