The Technology/Computer Science program builds students’ problem-identifying, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills through the application of technological and computer science principles. Students graduate from Maret with the knowledge and skills to be responsible digital citizens of the world.
How We Teach
Developing design and critical-thinking skills is a key tenet of our program, and we place emphasis on problem-solving and innovation. Whether students are learning specific computer languages, digital fabrication for 3D printing, web design and development, or the design thinking process, our teaching is focused on students applying the skills and concepts to projects that have real-world applications and connections.
Maret’s two makerspaces spark the imagination of our students with 3D printers, die cutting machines, sewing machines, a laser cutter, hand tools, electronics kits, robotics equipment and craft materials. These materials and others are catalysts for out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving in small groups—the cornerstone of Maret’s curriculum in every division.
In Lower School, technology education focuses on discovery and exploration, including the basic tenets of computer coding and digital citizenship. Students have their own makerspace for designing and building.
Middle school students investigate the myriad ways in which technology enhances learning, including the fundamentals of computer programming. Digital citizenship and design thinking are also key components of the curriculum.
In Upper School, students are encouraged to integrate technology skills and applications across the Maret curriculum. The program also provides courses for students to delve deeper into computer science and design principles.
Digital citizenship is a key thread in all Tech/Computer Science classes, K-12. Our students understand their digital footprint, respect other people’s creations, and protect their personal information. Outside of Tech/Computer Science classes, digital citizenship is also integrated into the Library, Wellness, and Advisory programs, in which students delve into topics such as media literacy, cyberbullying, and the role technology can play in their well-being.
We believe that programming—as a way to implement mathematical and computer science concepts—advances many of the essential skills vital to our global society. Having a basic understanding of how programs function and how data is structured will be incredibly important for our students in the world they will live in as adults, no matter what career they choose.
In order to write a program that works efficiently, students learn to approach problems in a structured way. When developing algorithms, they must anticipate and accommodate all the ways that a program may be used and they are pushed to employ analytical thinking and deepen their problem-solving skills. This process is often collaborative, as we believe that students working together is an ideal way for them to learn.
Shark Tank (Grade 5)
Inspired by the television show, Shark Tank, teams of fifth grade students employ their problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills to invent and build prototypes of products that solve problems the students experience in daily life.
The project emphasizes collaboration, ingenuity, troubleshooting, as well as communication and persuasion. Students build their prototypes in the school’s Makerspace and pitch their product ideas to a panel of volunteer “sharks” who need to be convinced to invest in the team’s product.
Cardboard Arcade (Grade 3)
In this STEM project, third grade students combine their scientific knowledge of simple machines with their imagination to design and construct their own unplugged arcade games in the Lower School Maker Lab. Students create sketches of their design ideas and present them to the class to get feedback; then, they work either individually or in pairs to build their games out of cardboard and other craft materials. Through the construction process, students learn to problem solve and make adjustments as they work to bring their paper ideas to 3D life. Their hard work is rewarded on Arcade Day when they are able to play each other’s games.
Engineering for the Workplace
(US Extracurricular Activity)
There are several technology-related extracurricular activities, including Coding Club, Makerspace Club, and Engineering Club. Last year, 23 members of the Engineering Club participated in the Source America Design Challenge. For the competition, they were charged with creating assistive technologies that would help people with disabilities succeed in the workplace. Student projects included an innovative time clock and devices to aid in labeling boxes and opening Ziploc bags. Collaboration software and 3D modeling programs were vital in helping teams communicate with one another and write their technical papers.