Technology and Learning at ISO
Mindful and intelligent use of computers, the Internet and other technologies has become a foundational skill in the modern world. At ISO, in addition to our institutional digital presence, we use technology to support and enrich learning across the grade levels, guided by the International Society of Technology (ISTE) Standards and supported by teacher training and collaboration. This tech use takes the form of the utilization of various devices as well as several online digital platforms and applications.
The digital landscape in Burkina Faso is constantly shifting, with increasing availability of dependable and affordable Internet bandwidth, and growing access to devices and support services. Accordingly, ISO is constantly engaged with updating our opportunities to leverage technologies in teaching and learning. In 2013-14, we installed a dedicated satellite link to provide dependable Internet access on our campus, and previously we were an early adaptor of Google Apps for Education (GAFE), with individual student Google Apps accounts, including Gmail. Our satellite link combined with GAFE allows students to work collaboratively with many types of media, create content and share it with a global (or local) audience, and to access their work on any device anywhere via the Internet. All students at all grades have GAFE accounts within our system, although they are not used individually until the student reaches at least Grade 4. Parents of children below Grade 4 can access their child's GAFE accounts using a default password, but older students are encouraged to personalize the password to protect their work.
In 2013-14 we also implemented Moodle, an online Learning Management System where teachers can upload assignments, resources and lessons, and where students can access and submit their work. This is particularly important so that learning can continue in case of a school closure or an extended student absence. All students have Moodle accounts, and parents can access any class Moodle pages via Guest accounts. Students in Grade 4 and above are expected to access their class Moodle pages regularly through their individual student accounts.
Implemented in 2014-15, Seniors make use of Naviance…an online college database that allows them to fully research different colleges and universities worldwide, submit applications, archive letters of recommendation and transcripts, and compete for college placement with students of institutions globally.
We have well over 200 devices available to our students and teachers on our campus to enrich learning as well as develop student digital skills. We have two computer labs, one Mac and one PC, that are regularly used at all grade levels, as well as a bank of research computers in the library with access to online databases, and several student-use computers in other locations around the school.
Students in the lower Elementary grades have access to a set of 25 iPad Minis and in-class support with a mindful selection of applications to enrich their creativity and skills. Upper Elementary classes have access to a set of netbooks to further develop their independent learning skills as well as their digital citizenship. Upper School students have a set of Kindles that are utilized in English classes and to promote reading, as well as access to student computer workstations for research and college application procedures.
Our future tech plans include the deployment of additional classroom technologies to enrich learning, such as document cameras expanded to include all divisions, laptop computers for teachers and specialists, and a wi-fi 'net' to cover the entire campus. We also plan to add more iPads and Kindles to our environment, as well as increase student access as our bandwidth and accessibility grow to support this.
All users of technology at ISO are expected to abide by the following Acceptable Use Protocols: