Students in the 21st Century live in an increasingly connected world and are expected to contribute as citizens on the global stage in ways that were never possible in the past. Our students demonstrate amazing creativity when they have the freedom to engage their academic work in motivating and unique ways. GSIS believes technology brings richness to the educational environment when implemented at developmentally appropriate levels.
Students are different from their parents because technology permeates their lives. The depth of these differences goes well beyond environmental factors at the surface. Current research on teenagers’ brains reveals differences in their brain development. Not only are their brains different, but students learn differently. They make meaning, engage, and process their learning in ways that reflect the digital world that surrounds them. An immense amount of information is now available to them as digital media. GSIS seeks to maximize the opportunities of technology to enhance the learning community of students and faculty.
GSIS believes that personal devices place powerful learning tools into students’ hands in every classroom during every period. Although we cannot foresee exactly what the future holds, we can predict skills that will make students successful in the 21st century. Digital literacy accompanied by the ability to adapt and learn new skills effectively is critical to our students’ success in their educational endeavors as well as longer term life goals. GSIS seeks to develop a learning community that celebrates innovation, collaboration, critical thinking, and effective technology infusion into these life skills.
GSIS proudly uses Apple devices for learning throughout the school. While GSIS has operated a successful 1-to-1 laptop program since the school's opening, it is now enhancing this program by implementing dual-device learning environments. Going beyond the single-device model of computer-supported learning, through learning with laptops and tablets, helps prepare students for their future by developing skills for both devices and the skills associated with the digital ecosystem needed to successfully navigate in a dual-device world. Additionally, a dual-device learning environment provides teachers and students new ways to learn that cannot be experienced in a traditional 1-to-1 laptop program. GSIS has selected Apple laptops and iPads for its dual-device program, continuing with the Apple platform that is already used in the school, and will be implementing the model in age-appropriate ways.
Elementary students from pre-k to 3rd grade use school-owned iPads, while 4th and 5th grade students use family owned iPads. Students in the elementary division also have access to Apple laptops that are shared.
Students in grades 6th, 7th and 8th will benefit from owning both an Apple laptop and iPad. This provides the student with the experience of choosing when it is best to use either of the devices and appropriately match the device with the task they want to perform. We believe that students learning in this dual-device 2:1 environment promotes a student-centered, inquiry-based learning experience which is a centerpiece of the IB programs at GSIS.
While the devices, platform and services are an important part of the overall GSIS technology program, it is the transformation of learning that defines who we are as a 21st Century school. Devices are tools. When connected to the internet they provide experiences through access to the world's information and other people. Learning is transformed because we use technology in a meaningful way.
We aim for learning to be an individual, personal experience for every child. Learning at GSIS is meant to be inquiry-based, connected with real-world contexts, both process and product focused, personalized as much as appropriate, and social. Learning happens best in community and GSIS seeks to create a learning community where 21st Century learning takes place in a Christian context.