I spent some time with some very innovative and creative teachers at Marymount of New York. The school is located has undergone a great deal of change largely due to a new culture of innovation and an investment in technology.
Marymount staff believe the secret to their success isn’t complex. It’s the combination of strong leadership, teacher learning, creativity, robust IT infrastructure with full mobility and linking all technology to the curriculum.
Principal, Concepcion Alvar says they had to change what they were doing because many students were disengaging from their learning. They encourage teachers to be creative in the way they deliver learning using today’s tools. Whatever they do must be pedagogically sound.
Initially, there were security concerns about giving students access to the internet but they have adopted an open access policy to the web (including social networking sites) and students are encouraged to bring their own devices.
The school deals with unacceptable use when it happens and this approach has allowed a high level of trust to develop between staff and students. It’s evident as you walk through the corridors and see students using technology whenever with little supervision.
Several staff made the comment that the technology is helping to improve students’ literacy skills. Art students are able to design and publish their work to the web but it must also be accompanied by a written exposition. French is also taught with the aid of iPods so students can access programs while going to and from school and on weekends.
It’s easy to see why their students are engaged in their learning.