Technology at Mounds Park Academy is integrated into the overall PK-12 program. It is our philosophy that since technology surrounds us, its knowledge and skills are best learned through active participation. Mounds Park Academy is prepared to meet the challenges of this continually evolving digital environment with new ideas and new ways to use it spiraled throughout our curriculum.
The entire campus at Mounds Park Academy is wireless with several types of computer workstations and four labs located throughout the school. Many Lower School classrooms and the Library have computers available for quiet study or research. The Library features an online catalog system and research-oriented databases.
At MPA we are educating students for the future, as well as present, job market and the skills we teach are broad-based with six areas of focus: proficiency skills, critical thinking skills, research skills, multimedia/communication skills, creativity and ethical development. Measures of student literacy include the ability to deal with information-related tasks, demonstration of general computer and associated application skills and ability to follow appropriate online safety protocols. Exposed to many different applications of computer use that include a wide variety of grade-specific software and peripherals, students learn to use the computer to connect, to study and to investigate during their school experience.
Lower School students at Mounds Park Academy have access to technology in their classrooms and in the Lower School computer lab. Students begin to develop their skills through integrated lessons, focusing on using technology as a tool for learning. Classroom teachers use the computer for demonstrations or activities that involve peripherals such as the digital microscopes. Students also apply their technology skills in a variety of ways through paint and draw programs or as they organize and analyze data using spreadsheets and graphs. They also learn to navigate and evaluate web sites as they practice keyboarding skills and use digital media to create multimedia presentations. As educators, our long-term goal is to prepare students for a society that depends upon technology and the human-power behind it.
In the Middle School, students use the computer as part of their academic classes and have access to technology in one of the three Middle School computer labs or via a mobile netbook cart. They also have access to an iPod Touch lab and in some classes use a remote CPS to participate in class activities. From GarageBand to Photoshop, Middle School students learn to stretch and broaden their technology skills. Particular emphasis is placed on hands-on, authentic learning experiences where technology is used to convey a message or to solve a problem. They learn to use the Internet as an investigative tool or to conduct on-line experiments that would not be possible in the classroom. Sixth and seventh grade students take a seminar course that reinforces keyboarding and related computer skills such as word processing, algorithmic thinking, multimedia applications and presentation software. Additionally, students learn about the ethical challenges of using a computer and about making informed choices. MPA Middle School students must agree to the Middle School Acceptable Technology Use Policy.
Mounds Park Academy was one of the first schools in Minnesota to initiate a 1:1 laptop program. Our Learning with Laptops program in the Upper School redefines educational freedom. The walls of the classroom virtually expand, allowing students and teachers diverse opportunities to investigate, explore and engage in interactive learning experiences. A semester-long Introduction to Upper School seminar course for ninth grade students includes computer and technology skills expected of Upper School students as well as discussions about the ethical use of computers. The multimedia capabilities of the laptop become a portable, interactive lab and Upper School faculty take advantage of those “teachable moments” designing classroom activities that allow opportunities to investigate, explore and connect in significant ways.