ACS is fully networked with a high-speed, fiber optic backbone, and campus-wide wireless access for enabled devices such as notebook computers, PDAs, and cell phones. The school is connected to the outside world through a combination of six 100mbs aDSL lines (bonded) for the equivalent of 600mbs, plus a dedicated 2mbs line. A Continuous Improvement Technology Plan with input from community stakeholders helps to guides the development and improvement of the technology of ACS.
The student to computer ratio at ACS is 1.6 for K-5 and 1.3 for grades 6-12, not including old machines (greater than 5 years old) that are in use but no longer included in our support inventory. Each faculty member has a laptop computer. There are six stand-alone computer labs available for student and staff use. Classes have access to eighteen roaming carts of 22+ laptop computers each.
The Library Media Center has digital cameras, digital video cameras, recording equipment, TVs, and DVD player/recorders and laptop computers available for checkout. Each classroom is equipped with a full range of computer peripherals and audiovisual hardware to support instruction including: video and document projectors, audio speakers, and interactive whiteboards or interactive projectors. Networked multifunction laser scanner/printer/copy machines and stand-alone scanners are available for staff and student use.
A wide variety of software programs are available, including the latest versions of Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, iLife and iWork suites. In addition the school is a Google Educational Institution allowing us unlimited free licenses for Google Apps and Postini for email security. The Library Media Center uses Follett as its circulation and inventory system. ACS subscribes to several online research and curricular databases: including SirS, Ebscohost, Discovery Education Video, Brainpop, Atomic Learning, NetTrekker, JSTOR, Questia and Newsbank. All of the above mentioned hardware and software goes to support our standards-based technology curriculum which is based on ISTE NETS standards, and is infused into our K-12 curriculum.
Parents are informed of school events via email to their ACS Google account, a weekly school newsletter called "The Link", and by participating in the school's Moodlebased course management system, ViperNet. Middle and High School parents and students can view student grades online via our PowerSchool Student Information System. Parents are invited to attend the school's technology-related workshops. With this extended reach, ACS technology can serve the entire school community.
Below are examples of how these technologies are used at the elementary, middle, and high schools:
Students use technology in all subject areas. In the lower primary students use curricula software to reinforce math and reading skills and they use the Internet for research and finding further information on a topic especially in science and social studies. Students also use technology to record their reading for assessment purposes. They also use various web 2.0 tools and presentation tools, to reflect on their learning. Video cameras are used in core classes as well as specials for students to gain visual feedback on skills being learned (ie speaking in Arabic, reading) In the upper elementary school students use technology to enhance their writing skills using word processing, and shared documents. They use various web 2.0 tools to share their opinions and reflect on their learning. They also learn how to make presentations to reflect on learning. They use the Internet for research and to use this medium to enhance their learning with tools such as Brainpop and Google Earth. The Arabic teachers also use technology with their students to aid in the acquisition of the language. The art, music and PE teachers film and photograph students for their portfolios and feedback, students use various software such as iMovie and Garageband for video and sound editing. After school programs are offered in robotics, desktop publishing, video and sound editing.
Students use computers across the curriculum. There are many specialized courses offered in the Middle School with topics including: programming, animation, video/audio editing, robotics, engineering and CAD, graphic design and publications. Along with the specialized tech classes, technology is infused into other subject-area classes. Modern language students use audio and video recording software to provide instant feedback about their pronunciation. Students learn to use video and slide presentation software in all classes effectively as well as interactive whiteboards boards, so that their message is amplified. In Language Arts, students are using Access to get instant feedback about their writing. Students use technology to publish their writing, whether that takes the form of paper or a new Web 2.0 technology such as a blog or collaborative wiki varies. In science and math classes, scientific probe hardware and specialized software is used to record measurements. Spreadsheet and database software is used for recording measurements, graphing and creating charts. There are after school clubs such as robotics, desktop publishing, movie-making, F1 in Schools racing program, and a Student Tech Team. Teachers and students collaborate and communicate using Google Documents, Gmail and our Moodle/ViperNet community portal.
Students and staff use technology in all subject areas. Students are required to take .5 credits of a technology class to graduate. There are many specialized courses offered including programming, animation, video/audio editing, robotics, engineering and CAD, graphic design, and digital publications. Along with the specialized tech classes, technology is infused into other subject-area classes. Students create interactive videos and slides to support oral presentations, they collaborate in developing movies. In science and math classes, scientific probe hardware and specialized software is used to record measurements. Spreadsheet and database software is used for recording measurements, graphing and creating charts. IB Art students are developing on-line portfolios of their work. PE students are recording videos of their activities. Students create animations of their understandings of concepts. There are after school clubs such as robotics and BotBall, desktop publishing, movie-making, F1 in Schools racing program, and a Student Tech Team which helps with various school productions and teacher classroom technology needs. Teachers and students collaborate and communicate using Google Documents, Gmail and our Moodle/ViperNet community portal.
The ACS High School implemented a family-owned, school-managed digital device program starting in August of 2012 for each student in grades 9-12.
Minimum Laptop Expectations for 2013-2014
Students may purchase a new MacBook laptop or bring a family owned Mac laptop to school. In order to ensure that laptops can use the most recent operating system and have optimal battery life, it is important that laptops meet a minimum criteria. We would also recommend that students do not purchase a 15" machine. This size is qute heavy and makes it difficult to transport throughout the day.
The Minimum required specifications for laptops in the iTap program are as follows:
New MacBook Computers
MacBook Pro – 13” screen – minimum 4GB of RAM
*MacBook Air – 13” screen – minimum 4GB of RAM
*The ACS tech team recommends the MacBook Air models for their long battery life and lighter weight. There are also fewer moving parts to break.
Family Owned Machine
Models 2011 or newer are fine, minimum 4GB of RAM
Must be able to run Lion OS, and not have battery issues