Technology at SFDS
Technology at St. Francis de Sales School
Using the power of technology to cultivate the next generation of informed, engaged and caring citizens
At our school, technology is widely used for and by all students. We view technology as an excellent tool to help students reach their academic goals. Technology also gives an opportunity to students to explore their creativity and express and share their creations with others as well as develop critical thinking skills. We use the power of technology to help shape the next generation of informed, engaged and caring citizens.
We embrace the concept of digital citizenship as explained by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): Digital citizens are learners who use their technology-driven powers conscientiously — and with empathy — to help make the world a better place.
Every digital learner is also :
Proactively manages their digital identity and property
Respects the digital rights and privacy of others
Understands the permanence of the digital world
Communicates with empathy via digital channels
Collaborates with others to accomplish goals
Applies critical thinking to all online sources
Leverages technology to solve social problems
Advocates for digital rights of others and access for all
Actively influences societal norms
Safety and Privacy
Our school complies with federal laws and regulations concerning student safety and student privacy: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Our school provides several layers of protection to assure safety of our students. We also monitor students' online activities (when they are using their school accounts) to make sure students follow the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) . We communicate with parents whenever there is a safety concern because of the student's online activity.
At St. Francis de Sales School we use G Suite in Education - Google’s set of productivity applications formatted specifically for student use. Access to the G Suite for Education enables students to explore the world, learn new skills, and collaborate with others while becoming creators of unique digital content.
G Suite for Education Privacy Notice gives parents a detailed information concerning student privacy and G Suite use. It is important to note that in the educational version of G Suite there are no ads in Core Services (which we mostly use) , and no customer data from core services is used for advertising purposes (in either core or additional services).
The applications available to students depend on the grade level of students, but for all of them we use the concept of "The Walled Garden": students can share documents, files, or send emails (for those grades who have that option) only within our St. Francis domain. The same way , only teachers and other students of St. Francis De Sales School can send files or emails to our students.
How Our Students Use Technology and What They are Learning
With growing concerns about students' excessive screen time, we are very careful in how we choose to use technology with our students. We believe that our students should mostly use technology to create, rather than to consume digital content.
Every classroom from PreK-3 through third grade has several devices - iPads or Chromebooks for student use. Teachers use those devices to enhance their instruction and give student opportunities to express themselves. In fourth and fifth grades student have several Chromebooks in each classroom; in addition, there is a cart with a class set of Chromebooks.
In middle school, each student is issued a Chromebook for use throughout the school year. Students use them to complete and turn in assignment , do research, communicate, keep track of their grades and create unique digital content.
All Chromebooks are managed by the school Google Administrator. Google admin sets up safety parameters and blocks and allows certain services and sites. Whether on Chromebooks or not, any time a student logs in into his or her Google account, the online activity is monitored by GoGuardian, an online student safety service (which is also in compliance with all federal laws and regulation concerning student privacy and safety). Alerts are issued if a student accesses unsafe or inappropriate information.
In addition to classroom technology use, all students attend a technology class, where they learn various digital skills including keyboarding, learn to use productivity tools, create unique digital products (music, art, digital storytelling, photo and video production). From the youngest age students are introduced to computer science principles and to developing computational thinking. All grade levels are involved in coding and using and programming robots.