The overarching goal of the Falk Technology curriculum is to equip students to be curious about technologies around them and how they impact their lives; to make thoughtful and informed decisions about their use of technologies; to confidently use technological tools to support inquiry, observation, expression, and communication; and to view themselves with the mindset of innovation to adopt and create technologies that we have not yet imagined.
We must prepare children to navigate in the technological landscape of their future, not our present. We do not know what today’s kindergarteners will encounter in their academic endeavors and beyond, 10, 20 years from now. Will they be required to use the same tools that we do today? Likely not. Will they need to be able to identify, think critically about, and adapt for their own needs tools and processes that we have not imagined? Will the imagining and building of new tools and processes be an avenue for academic and career satisfaction for some of them? Almost certainly. Our mission, therefore, is to equip our students to take these challenges on, unbounded by the limits of what we know about today.
Primary Level – Kindergarten through Second Grade
In the early elementary years, our goal is to provide opportunities for children to understand and explore the world around them. At this level, the focus is on breaking down technology into primary elements (light, sound, motion), engaging in curious and critical thinking about the technologies around us, and exploring technology as a creative medium and a platform for inquiry. Digital devices are integrated thoughtfully into technology starting in second grade after the seed of curiosity and wonderment of technology has been planted.
Intermediate Level – Third through Fifth Grades
In the upper elementary years, our goals include developing comfort with the tools that will support children in their academic life, as well as building vocabulary and competencies in key areas of computer science. We emphasize algorithmic thinking is in grades three through five. Algorithms are at the core of creating and understanding computer programs, and our algorithmic thinking curriculum is anchored by an extensive robotics exploration in 4th grade. By the end of fifth grade, students have foundations of academic computing, such as word processing, spreadsheets, and cloud computing. In addition, they are able to analyze scientific data, manage electronic files effectively, and present their work in multiple media. This emphasis is to allow students to become comfortable and successful in a collaborative digital environment as they progress to middle school.
Middle School – Sixth through Eighth Grades
In the sixth grade, the focus is on analyzing the digital world around us, how to use media for self-reflection and discovery, and using digital media for historical archiving. During this exploration, students seek to answer the question how is media manipulated and used to portray different ideas to the consumer. Additionally, how can digital media help characterize an image of how they see an aspect of their inner self and help them reflect upon the issues of identity.
In the seventh grade, students learn technology integrated within content. This seamless integration allows students to conceptualize the use of technology in real-world environments outside of the computer lab. Some examples of technology integration are the use of Google Fusion Tables to attach data to a map for analysis in science class, wiring of Dream Bedroom art projects with lights and motors, and analyzing data and producing graphs based on activity monitor output collected in physical education class with the intent to set activity goals.
In the eighth grade, the lens for study is computer programming. We continue to revisit important topics like personal information security and ethical use of resources as engage in programming projects.