The Middle School Technology Program is designed to help students from grades five to eight become confident, capable digital citizens. The program gives students grade-appropriate opportunities to use technology to consume and produce knowledge, problem-solve, and for creative expression. Additionally, the program provides students and faculty with the hardware, software, and support that meets the needs of particular classroom curricula and student differentiation.
Whenever possible the technology curriculum is fully embedded in content areas to give purposeful context to teaching the concept of “technology as a tool.” For example, how to use technology as a tool for analysis is covered when science classes use Excel to collect and graph data. The introduction and reinforcement of these technology skills is spiralled and scaffolded by grade and content area. Technology skills are taught horizontally by grade-level with skills introduced in one course revisited throughout the year in other courses. For example, research skills introduced in an English course are utilized later in the year by Science and Social Studies projects. Technology skills also build vertically by department and grade-level as levels of proficiency and sophistication increase as students progress through the Middle School. Proficiency of these skills are assessed as a part of those content-area rubrics.
In a world where technology can often be the sole representative of a person to the outside world, students are guided by thoughtful professionals in advisory settings and in grade-level environments to reflect on ways to conduct themselves ethically. “Is it safe? Is it kind? Is it honest?” -- these fundamental questions challenge every student who creates an interface through the Web, whether through social networking, email, or otherwise. Indeed, these questions, heightened by technological realities, are fundamental to all people who seek to live a life of impeccable character and integrity. In this way, Middle School technology supports students as they develop 21st-century skills at the same time that it underscores the values that have always been at the heart of a McDonogh education.