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Computers & Digital Arts
Website Classrooms


Old Orchard views technology as a powerful tool for learning and teaching, and as an equally powerful medium for creative expression and intellectual exploration.

In Grades K-8, students take tech classes as part of the regular program, learning computer basics to computer programming and advanced graphic arts and design. In other classes, they use and experience computers and other technology as important tools that advance and enhance learning and discovery on a daily basis. Sometimes, the teacher may lead students through an online tour of famous museums or historical sites; at other times, students will take the lead and create presentations to go with book reports or safely track down reliable research on the internet.

In terms of hardware, the Lower School is equipped with many Apple Mobile Computing Carts for housing classroom Macbooks and iPads. At the Upper School, students are asked to bring their own iPad devices which they will leverage throughout the day across all subjects from Language Arts to Science to Robotics and Website Design.

Our students' "tech" learning curve spirals upwards very rapidly. At the start of the school year, Kindergartners quickly learn how to properly boot up and power down their laptops, and then they are off visiting child-friendly websites or working with child-friendly graphics programs. At subsequent grade levels, students learn more about using technology as a daily classroom tool for reading, writing and research, and how to use increasingly sophisticated programs to create or edit images and movies, to work with code, or to log into classroom sites on the school websites or participate in a class blog.

Computer & Digital Arts

Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade: In Kindergarten, students first learn the basics to use computers properly: how to turn them on and off; not to touch screens; to be careful with cords, etc. Soon, they are introduced to basics graphics arts programs which allow them to work with images and create their own images, to go to educational websites, and produce work related to their studies on the galaxy, math games and more. First and Second Graders learn and work with increasingly sophisticated programs and expand their familiarity with the educational resources available on the internet. They are also introduced gently, but more formally to proper keyboarding techniques.

Third Grade: In Third Grade, it all begins to come together and students take off. Students learn the fundamentals of computer programming using MIT's Scratch program; they use Keynote for presentations and book reports; they get their feet wet with Lego Robotics, Photoshop, and more. Additional emphasis is placed on good keyboarding habits.

Fourth & Fifth Grade: In these grades, students begin to use word-processing for school work, typing and type-setting stories for pop-up books they create; giving California Mission reports using Keynote; creating a silent movie for California History; in addition to learning more advanced programming with Scratch; editing movies and learning Photoshop; to exploring the fundamentals of composition and creating music. Increasing emphasis is placed on learning good keyboarding habits, and students are strongly encouraged to practice at home - so that class time can be used for more challenging pursuits!

Grades 6-8: Most students arrive at the Upper School with a basic working knowledge of common word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs (Microsoft Office programs, Open Office, Google Docs or Apple iCloud) and with solid keyboarding skills. Students are expected to write and edit all of their papers using a word processing program, and in various academic classes they will be asked to present Keynote or Power Point Presentations. These are important skills for Middle School and they will be essential skills for students to possess when they move on to high school. In core academic classes, students use computers on a regular basis for editing, research and other guided lessons.

A wide range of Tech Classes are offered as part of the Upper School enrichment course offerings. The subjects taught vary from year to year, as teachers keep up both with new technology and students' interests and ability levels. Typical offerings include: digital video and editing; digital photography and editing; robotics; programming; 3-D modeling; web design; game/app design; and more.

Website Classrooms

Old Orchard's website allows students at all grade levels to log into classroom websites and see assignments, handouts and resources posted by their teachers. Depending on the class, they may have a blog, chat rooms and other "virtual" experiences that reinforce their daily work in the classrooms. Younger students use these features largely in the classroom under the guidance of their teacher. Older students are more active users of these tools, which not only assist their learning and their knowledge of virtual resources, but help them take increasing responsibility for their work as they move toward high school.

Computer arts offerings vary depending on the interests and skill levels of different grades. Sixth Grade students must demonstrate basic mastery of touch-typing or take key-boarding before moving on to other computer subjects. Before graduation, all students must demonstrate basic mastery of key programs, including Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point. Other offerings may include designing web pages, Photoshop and other graphic arts programs.

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Common Sense Media

At Old Orchard School technology is an important and engaging educational tool. Students’ use of technology is a privilege. Old Orchard trusts and expects students to be good “digital citizens.” Being a good digital citizen isn’t very different from being a good citizen: Always treat others and their devices the way you want to be treated. Take good care of your device. Respect your privacy and the privacy of others. Never share your personal information or other people’s personal information. Students, parents, faculty, and staff use the Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum to create a safe online environment for our community.

Parenting, Media, and Everything In Between

  • August 2020
    • MonAug17 All-Staff Meetings
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    • ThuAug20 All-Staff Meetings

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