We challenge students to take an active role as creators, collaborators and designers of technology, not simply consumers.
—Cathy Varga, Director of Technology
The Far Hills 1-to-World Program, inspired by Alan November, affords each student with an age appropriate device that helps him/her communicate, collaborate, create and think critically.
- PreK–Grade 2: iPads
- Grades 3–8: Chromebooks
The 1-to-World focus allows students to reach outside of themselves, their classroom, and their communities to become an informed Digital Citizen of the world. Digital Citizenship concepts start in PreK and are taught throughout all curriculum and content areas. 1-to-World focus goes much further than providing a device for each student - it provides each student with a platform for global collaboration, interaction, and learning.
Step into the Brain Space...
Our Brain Space is an exciting new cross-curricular and collaborative classroom environment aimed at providing Lower School students with the opportunity to ask questions, generate ideas, create and test. Within the Brain Space, students will be provided with the materials and resources to direct their own learning through inquiry.
Students will engage in STEAM lessons, including several keystone projects over the course of the year, extending their learning, broadening their thinking, and further utilizing the design thinking basics they already use in their classrooms.
The Brain Space is the latest enhancement to the Lower School design thinking, robotics and coding and digital citizenship curriculum. Over the course of their Lower School journey, the cumulative program promises to prepare students for the Upper School’s digital learning by ensuring each child is meeting the national ISTE Standards (formerly known as the National Educational Technology Standards) to make each child an empowered learner, a good digital citizen, a knowledge constructor, an innovative designer, a computational thinker, a creative communicator, and an effective global collaborator. Read more about the ISTE Standards.
The space itself features a mobile green screen, 3D printers, whiteboard design space on both tables and walls, flat screen, cubbies for displaying student projects and modular seating for collaboration and teamwork. Students may also reference the design thinking process by viewing the oversized infographic on the classroom wall.
- Coding in Every Classroom
- Design Thinking Develops Modern Skills
- Digital Collaboration, Connections, and Citizenship
Coding in Every Classroom
Coding, simply put, is creating sets of logical instructions which can control apps, robots and devices. Creating code to control robots can be extremely engaging - but, it doesn’t stop there. By coding, our students collaborate with coding partners on algorithm design, and problem solving.
Coding partners need to work as a team, and use all their communication skills to reach a goal. Each coding challenge may result in a different outcome, as coding groups have creative control over the end product and how they approach the tasks. Finally, our coding experts are faced with difficult, real-world logic problems, and they need to use their resilience and critical thinking skills to come up with a solution to the challenge.
Coding is applied in two ways at Far Hills:
Code to Learn - Curriculum content in every grade and subject is enhanced by engaging coding and robotics to make the lesson and outcomes clearer, engaging students' minds and creativity while teaching content results in engaged students and more successful learning outcomes.
Design Thinking Develops Modern Skills
How will our students be prepared to take on the challenges of an every changing academic, professional and technological landscape?
We know they will need more than just technological skills. They will need to be experts in problem-solving, collaboration, global communication. They will need to leverage the informational landscape to allow them to learn what and when and how they require. And, most importantly, they need to be fearless in their ideas and resilient in their efforts. By using Design Thinking - teachers and students apply this learning opportunity to real world problems.
Far Hills teachers and students are in year two of a Design Thinking Challenge which uses this model , and project-based learning opportunities, to develop resilient and creative thinkers, prepared to take on the world.
For example, students have designed floating devices to specification - taking into account scientific principals. They then prototype their devices in the real world - and work on testing and changing them. Lastly, the use 3D Design techniques to design and 3D print models for future enhancements. Design teams create blogs and tutorials sharing their collaborative process with the world.
Students experience opportunities to discuss digital citizenship each year at Far Hills. In the lower school ,teachers using SEESAW as a device and model, encourage students to share original works and create a digital portfolio which is curated throughout their years at Far Hills. Because the students can post their work, process and successes to an authentic audience of peers, parents and through blogging, other connected schools - students have ample opportunity to think about being a good digital citizen.
Started in Grade three and continuing into the upper school, students engage in a virtual classroom experience using Google Classroom and Google Suite tools to enhance executive functioning, time management, organizational and collaborative skills. Google Classroom is the homework, classroom and collaboration hub of busy Far Hills student.
As students pass into the upper school, digital citizenship conversation is coupled with a curriculum designed to enable students to acquire and hone the skills necessary to harness the vast flow of information and to be agile lifelong learners, using technology and media as two powerful tools. The sub-goals of this course require upper schoolers at this level to use technology and media to collaborate and communicate as well as to access and evaluate information.
We have adapted national and international technology and media standards as part of our performance expectations. Students bolster their skills to use technology and media enhance the following skills:
- Creativity and innovation
- Communication and collaboration
- Research and information fluency
- Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
- Digital citizenship
- Technology operations and concepts
Moreover, technology skills are also integrated with subject areas, as students use many different software programs and platforms to complete research, class work, and projects. In upper school, there is increased focus on using digital media and environments to communicate, to work collaboratively, to support individual learning, and to contribute to the learning of others. In addition, students focus on ethical digital citizenship, working to demonstrate mature responsibility for handling technology and for respecting individual and group work within shared networks.