Curriculum as driver, technology as accelerator
Riverdale School District has traditionally been a leader in providing a technology-rich working environment for its students and staff, investing continually in technological resources.
Yet, when Riverdale School District made technology a priority in our Strategic Plan, it wasn't just for the sake of adding machines. Better technology enhances curriculum, and as we approach a one-to-one ratio of technology to students, teachers and their classes benefit from strategic educational uses. At Riverdale, we see the curriculum as the driver, and technology as the accelerator.
Riverdale offers a multi-platform environment, providing our students access to a variety of different operating systems in both desktop and laptop configurations, and encouraging use of personal devices where appropriate. We guide our students to become discriminating users of information and good digital citizens.
Riverdale has a significant number of wireless access points throughout each school building. In fact, our wireless range extends across each campus, even when students are outside. All classrooms have ceiling-mounted projectors and distributive sound, which remove wires and cables and allows students to hear regardless of where they are physically located in the classroom.
All students meet the district's benchmarks, yet students also have the opportunity to develop skills above and beyond what is required.
Grade school use of technology
The lower and middle school students make use of our computer lab and classroom mobile laptop carts for much of their research, document development and presentation work.
- Kindergarteners experience whole group instruction using interactive whiteboard technology.
- Our 1st-3rd graders learn to navigate various computer platforms and focus on keyboarding and word processing skills.
- Our 4th grade students build upon these skills, learn the proper way to conduct online research and begin to develop spreadsheets and multimedia presentations.
- In 5th grade, students are introduced to email and how to safely use this tool. Throughout science and social studies, 5th and 6th graders begin creating internet-ready content – developing web pages and multimedia presentations for online collaboration.
- Our 7th and 8th graders produce most of their core school work using computer-based tools, and have opportunities to take web design and computer graphics classes in which they use digital cameras, document scanners and photo editing software.
High school use of technology
Our high school offers two computer labs – one equipped with desktops providing access to both Microsoft Windows and MacOS, and the other offering laptops running Chrome OS. We also offer mobile computing options for classroom use via both MacBook Airs and Chromebooks. A robust, campus-wide wi-fi network supports these as well as students' personal devices.
Additionally, our library makes Chromebooks available for students to check out on a daily basis, to be returned at the end of the school day. Students use computers for research, writing and email, and have access to elective courses in publication, yearbook, computer graphics, digital photography, computer applications, web design and more.
Technology at Riverdale is used for higher-order thinking processes rather than "electronic worksheet" reproductions of lower-order skills. Examples include spreadsheet use in math, computer art courses utilizing vector graphics, video production in a variety of units, and frequent student and teacher use of presentation tools for instruction, collaboration and demonstration.