GRACE’s vision is to embrace technology in all areas of the school and transform the classroom into an empowered, digital learning environment. The goal of the technology initiative, Technology at GRACE (TAG), is to embrace technology to better engage and empower students to excel as lifelong learners. When rolled out, this initiative was given the name E4 to reflect that goal. GRACE technology enhances the curriculum, and equips, challenges, and inspires students as 21st-century learners to impact their world for Christ. It aligns with and advances GRACE’s mission, vision, and core values. The core values of the original E4 mission statement still hold six years later, but GRACE also continues to evaluate technology in education. Now TAG contains an increased emphasis on Open Learning, the Maker Movement, and the growing Computer Science curriculum.
To support TAG, GRACE uses digital resources in all grades. Since 2011, each student in 5th-12th grade has a laptop computer to use for school work in the classroom and at home. 4th grade students have a laptop that stays on campus. TK-6th grade classrooms each have a SMARTBoard interactive system.
Because the world is changing rapidly and we are preparing students for jobs that have not yet been created, a primary goal of the technology initiative is to create lifelong learners who know how to research, analyze, and synthesize new information and present it professionally. Students need to be problem solvers for both local and global issues. As they develop solutions, students must have the ability to clearly communicate ideas in both digital and physical products. Technology allows students access to information, mentors, and audiences to help them develop these skills. It also allows for increased student inquiry and differentiation, enabling each student to be challenged at the correct level.
To guide the use of technology in the classroom and ensure we are preparing students well, the GRACE Information Technology department wrote a complete TK-12th grade Scope and Sequence to teach digital and library skills. These skills include computer literacy, internet safety, information fluency, and ethical use. The GRACE standards align with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) standards.
At GRACE, we strive to create an environment where technology supports and enhances the instruction of the curriculum, but does not take precedence or distract students from achieving the desired learning outcomes. GRACE does not use technology simply because it is popular. Rather, GRACE uses technology to provide opportunities that would not be possible without it. Faculty continually strive to make technology a natural extension of the curriculum by seamlessly integrating technology into their classrooms.