Adults see technology as information and communication. Children view technology as entertainment and an avenue for social networking. How do schools manage this cultural divide? The start of a one-to-one laptop program brings the issue into sharper focus and forces communities to address the wide gulf between adults and children in the area of technology. Moving to a one-to-one laptop program is not only about enhancing teaching and learning in an academic setting, it is also about being open to the online world of students and being ready to deal with the social landscape that forms such an integral part of their lives.
Nueva launched its laptop program in 2007 to provide for differentiation, perpetual access, equity, and increased visual and auditory learning components to support learning. The program has enhanced teaching and learning and has embedded computing technology into the core curriculum. Each student in grades 6–8 has his/her own MacBook laptop with an impressive software package. Through the use of computing technology, we begin to transform the entertainment or gaming perspective so prevalent in students into a mature, more productive and creative paradigm.
While our technology platform provides great opportunities, the school's Social-Emotional Learning program uses this environment to educate students on becoming knowledgeable and discerning digital citizens. The SEL team developed a multiyear approach to educating students regarding online behavior and helping them develop both a code of ethics and sense of self-control.
As early as third grade, the SEL team starts to discuss, explore, and teach ethical concepts, digital-collaboration guidelines, and healthy online habits. In addition to the SEL team, the technology-integration specialist covers ethics with Lower School students.
The Technology Office also covers ethical behavior with entering Middle School students in orientation classes for grades 5–6. In addition, we help guide our students in their use of laptops via the Acceptable-Use Policy for Laptops (pdf). The school is very mindful of its responsibility to teach and model good technology practices.