technology at TCA
Technology integration at The Christian Academy is governed by the idea that technology is an extremely valuable tool in administration, education, and development. The vision statement TCA uses to guide the technology planning process reflects this idea.
The goal of The Christian Academy’s technology plan is to develop and organize the means by which the school can most effectively use technology to enrich student, faculty, and staff learning and productivity, to enhance technology use in the classroom, and to use technology as a tool to advance institutional standards, while simultaneously being sympathetic to cost and quality of technological equipment. All of this will be done according to the classical philosophy of Christian education that we uphold.
It is with this idea that TCA seeks to implement technology in a purposeful way that is focused on clear objectives and consistent accountability.
TCA has wireless internet that runs through the entire school. This supports a variety of technology initiatives at TCA. TCA is a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school. This means TCA has access to Google’s Apps offering as well as email for all staff and students in grades six through twelve. Classrooms are equipped with a wall-mounted LED TV. TCA has a computer lab that is available to all of its students and is home to the school’s computer-related courses.
High School students are immersed in technology integration through TCA’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)program. This program requires all high school students to bring their own technology device to school for use throughout the day. These devices are used in class to enhance their learning opportunities. The devices are utilized in a variety of ways from simple tasks like note-taking to more complex tasks like collaboration and content creation.
The BYOD program is here to put powerful tools in the classroom for teachers to utilize in meaningful ways. Teachers are using the program to interact with students, provide immediate feedback, collect important data and streamline collaboration. All of this makes teaching more effective.
Middle School students have regular classes in TCA’s computer lab. In sixth grade, students receive an understanding of their role as digital citizens, work through a keyboarding review, develop introductory skills in the Google Suite Applications, and are introduced to the fundamentals of computer coding. Seventh grade challenges students with advanced Google Suite training, digital citizenship discussions, and more complex computer coding skills. As students move to the eighth grade they shift to a more S.T.E.M. focused instruction. Their first semester involves understanding energy and information transfer, while their second semester dives into the application of these concepts through robotics. Teachers also bring their classes down to the computer to complete a variety of assignments and assessments.
Teachers also have a fleet of Chromebooks available to them for use in their classrooms or within the Library. Students use the Chromebooks to add an interactive element to their class, conduct meaningful research, and become content creators. The students become familiar with the Chrome operating system through an introduction in their computer class and also leverage TCA’s GAFE initiative since it is integrated into the Chromebooks.
Elementary students in fourth and fifth grades are introduced to keyboarding by spending half of their Library classes in the computer lab. Over the course of their fourth and fifth-grade years, the students will complete a typing course to prepare them for Middle School and beyond.
A cart of Android tablets is also available to all Elementary students. The cart can be taken to individual classrooms and used for developing an interactive component to student learning. They put content and assessment at the student’s fingertips in meaningful ways. Teachers use the tablets in centers as developmentally appropriate to create new knowledge and reinforce what has already been taught.