Technology is one of many tools teachers use to help students grasp and retain information. Maret’s integration of technology in every subject is thoughtful and deliberate. Our faculty drives the technology program, keeping the focus on class content.
LOWER SCHOOL technology education focuses on discovery and exploration including the very basic tenets of computer coding.
MIDDLE SCHOOL students investigate the myriad ways in which technology enhances learning, including the fundamentals of computer programming.
UPPER SCHOOL sparks our students' imaginative approach to problem solving by encouraging boundary-pushing technological creativity.
With technology immersed throughout Maret’s curriculum, students are bringing their own iPads, Kindles, laptops, and other devices to class, to better access academic materials. Maret has a requisite Bring Your Own Device Program (BYOD) for upper school students to ensure that every high school student has equal access to technology that strengthens classroom experiences. Financial assistance will be available to families who need help in covering the cost of devices.
WHY TEACH PROGRAMMING?
Programming is the process of writing code to make a computer execute a series of commands. The tasks a program can accomplish range from something as simple as adding two numbers to something as complex as managing data flow over a network. Learning basic coding techniques can solidify computational thinking skills — as well as all-important critical thinking abilities. Having a basic understanding of how programs function and how data storage are structured will be incredibly important for our students in the world they will live in as adults, no matter what career they choose.
Teaching programming can be divided into two key studies: syntax and algorithm. Syntax encompasses learning the specific rules and structure of a particular programming language. This is like learning the grammar of a language. Just as English differs from French in both vocabulary and grammatical structures, Java differs from Python in terms of which commands are valid and how they are understood by the computer.
Algorithms are the foundation and logic for all syntax. Commonly referred to as problem-solving, algorithmic thinking is the process to derive the solution that the syntax creates. In order to write a program that works efficiently, a student learns to approach problems in a structured way. Because the algorithm has to anticipate and accommodate any possible ways that a program may be used, students are forced to step back from specific problems and think about the general process or concept being studied. Once they have developed an algorithm, students must ‘think like a computer’ by breaking tasks into discrete, unambiguous, and specific steps, then translating those steps into code. The process of transforming a general, abstract algorithm into a detailed and concrete code requires problem-solving and analytical thinking.One aspect of coding at Maret is its emphasis on collaboration. Students working together is an ideal way for them to learn both syntax and structure, as they try different codes and discuss the results. A programming assignment at Maret assesses a student’s ability to frame an abstract question and it provides an inherently structured and interactive way to present the solution. In this way, we believe that teaching programming as a way to implement mathematical and computer science concepts advances many of the essential skills necessary vital to our global society.
MakerSpace is a creative cauldron for computer education. Here students let their imaginations, technical skills, and problem-solving abilities soar. 3D printers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters, soldering equipment, LittleBits electronics, Tesla electronics kit, Spheros, a Raspberry Pi programmable computer, Makey-Makey, Kibos, Cubetto, and various other tools and materials are catalysts for tackling challenges with out-of-the-box thinking. MakerSpace is also well suited for the small group discussions and projects that are the cornerstone of Maret’s curriculum in every department.