SSLS and Mooresville Middle School

Imagine a computer for every single child in America and teachers using computers day-in and day-out. This means more computers, fewer dry erase boards and textbooks. Well, it's a reality. And that's what brought President Barack Obama to North Carolina.

President Obama visited Mooresville Middle School (Mooresville, NC) on Thursday, June 6. In his visit, he commended the school district for its advances in technology. He cited the school district as a leader in technology and a model for other schools to replicate. President Obama credited increased attendance, increased graduation rates, and increased test scores as evidence that the technology improvements can enhance a student’s overall success in school.

Obama said that one goal of the technology conversion – achieved through classroom blogs and Skype sessions – is to ready the children for an increasingly digital world.

"We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology," Obama said in a written statement before his stop in Mooresville. "In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools? These are the tools our children deserve, and there’s no reason we can’t do this."

Obama further said, "In an age when the world’s information is just a click away, it demands we bring our schools into the 21st century". In the Mooresville Graded School District, every student from 4th-12th grade is issued a MacBook Air to use at school and to take home. Classrooms use laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards.

So … how does Obama’s visit and this story impact technology and learning at St. Stephens Lutheran School?

It affirms that we are moving in the right direction to improve our educational technology for students. It affirms that we are also "leaders" in technology learning. And it affirms that our advances in technology can greatly impact our teaching and learning, too.

Our technology plan is to equip our teachers for effective teaching using technology to supplement and enrich the learning environment. In our technology plan, we believe that the iPad will best meet the needs of our students. The iPad is a mobile device that is accessible, media rich, creative, collaborative, and connected. We believe an iPad in the hands of our students can powerfully assist in the development of lifelong learners.

There are many iPad programs (apps) that can enrich and supplement our current resources, and these will help us in our teaching and connect to student learning. Our teachers are learning how to use the iPad technology to improve teaching and learning in our classrooms.

In our iPad school program, we want each student in Preschool-Grade 5 to have access to an iPad for educational use during the school day; teachers will develop plans to use iPads for learning in their daily lessons. And our middle school students will bring their iPad to school each day and use it for learning, homework, assessments,

and extended projects … and some middle textbooks will be accessed online (or apps), replacing traditional textbook learning.

We, too, have interactive whiteboards (Promethean Boards) in every classroom. Classrooms utilizing a Promethean Board also have an Apple TV receiver to link an iPad to the digital projector for full classroom viewing. With this added technology, teachers can move around the classroom while teaching and still utilize the Promethean Board.

We also understand that the world of the present and the future will require our students to be highly comfortable and competent with using many different types of hardware and software resources in order to work, play and live. As such, our students will use the iPad technology and they will still use the classroom and computer center PCs so they will become "bilingual" tech students … able to learn and function through different operating systems.

Education in the 21st Century is dynamically changing environment. Our children need a wide variety of skills to learn and excel in today’s world: flexible creativity, diverse collaboration, dynamic communication, and other skills. St. Stephens Lutheran School is committed to equipping students with these 21st century skills as we seek to meet our mission of nurturing and training students to develop their God-given gifts, to excel academically, and to live their faith with others.