Keystone Magazine - Page 69

Q: One of Keystone’s educational objectives is to teach students how to successfully navigate the changing technological landscape. In order to achieve this goal, Keystone should make sure that its teachers and students are ahead of the technology curve. How are Keystone’s facilities, hardware and software, planned and designed to ensure that this educational objective is reached? A: Dong Ai: We describe our infrastructure design as simple, reliable and engaging. We understand that the end-user will only be willing to try, and use, the technology if it is simple. So in order to realize the true value of our technologies, we must ensure their simplicity on the front end. On the back end, we will not only emphasize information safety and the connection between online and offline networks, but we will make sure that the back end technologies are accessible at all times – many times the accessibility of these technologies is compromised because of the concern with information safety. Moreover, sometimes teachers and students will need to move from one location to another, but because the IT is not flexible it is unable to allow for this move and therefore negatively affects the learning process. We will not allow this to happen. Finally, our infrastructure design will be engaging because we understand that students and teachers will only use something that is engaging. In addition to providing these simple, reliable and engaging technologies, we will work to make sure that the end-users know how to use these technologies. Traditionally, people call our department and staff the Information Technology department. However, it is a priority of mine that others come to know our department and staff as Technology Integrators (TI), who act as information technology education consultants. Our staff will be responsible for integrating our innovative technologies to support teaching and learning, first and foremost. Sean: Since we are building Keystone from the ground up, we have a unique opportunity to ensure that we have the ability to support technology, education and growth from the beginning. This autonomy is phenomenal because it gives us the liberty to not only think about what will happen next year, but what will happen 10 or 15 years down the road. Beyond this, we will be early adapters in China to source, research, filter and implement the newest technologies. To show our commitment to our teachers, we will have a training classroom for adults where they can ask questions about, test, and learn implementation techniques. TI staff will also work closely with teachers to collect and understand the feedback they have from using the technologies. This type of communication should narrow the gap between and promote the development of education and technology at Keystone. “It is a priority that others come to know our department and staff as Technology Integrators (TI), who act as information technology education consultants.” Q: Students have the option to board in grades 7 and 8. Starting in grade 9, students are required to board. How will technology be used in the residential program? How will Keystone cultivate a student’s sense of responsibility to ensure the proper awareness and usage of the internet? A: Dong Ai: In addition to time that boarder’s spend in class, the after-school activities that they participate in at night will also include the use of technologies such as iPads, laptops, video cameras, etc. When a student returns to the dorm, for example, they might receive a notification that it is their classmate’s birthday and they are planning a birthday party that will start at 7 pm. How does this happen? Our wireless network can provide us access points to know a particular student’s location, and based on that student’s location provide them with fixed information. No matter what the program or activity is, all students can be informed in this way. Information about daily food menus, the school’s calendar, and homework can all be obtained through a cell phone or computer by simply scanning a bar code. We are also now considering integrating the use of motion sensor technologies. So we hope to virtualize many areas of the student’s boarding life. Sean: Students will have internet access so that they can complete their homework and check email, among other tasks. Teachers who are on duty will support and monitor students to ensure proper usage of the technologies available. National and school policies will delineate what students can and cannot do with the technologies available to them. The expectation for teachers is that they not only know these policies, but are adept at communicating these policies and the ramifications of breaking them to students. We understand that students will try to cross the line, but we will endeavor to help them understand the fact that actions have consequences – some of which may actually be adverse to their own personal interests. In addition, dorm team members will be responsible for compiling a running log of what happens each night so that everyone knows what is going on with the students. If I am on duty on Tuesday night, for example, I will already know, from reading the logs, that Student A had a difficult time on Monday, and therefore be better prepared to work with that respective student. 67