The Stratford Technology Group is primarily responsible for providing technology resources to the faculty and staff of Stratford Academy. This includes maintaining network connections, updating operating systems, and answering any questions the users may have.
The Technology Group is committed to improving the teacher/classroom dynamic, and a few pieces of technology are in place to help achieve this goal. First, nearly all classrooms on campus have overhead projectors attached to a networked computer. Many of these are also connected to a SMART board, which allows the teacher to remain at the front of the classroom and still control the computer. Running animations, viewing images and annotating documents are easily accomplished with a fingertip. Even the preschool is using a mobile SMART board to provide the students the ability to pick stories on the screen, or to choose the correct Spanish word that matches the displayed image.
Document cameras, or ELMOs as they are called, are used throughout Lower School and Middle School to provide real-time display capabilities that were not possible with older overhead projectors. Coupled with expanding the use of student computers in the classroom, it has become much easier for the student to participate in the learning process, especially with content creation. Utilizing the STEM initiative in the Bloom’s Taxonomy teaching methodology is observed as closely as possible where technology is concerned.
While the Technology Group has fun working with the dedicated users on campus making sure everything is current and running smoothly, they are also moving forward with new initiatives that will hopefully prove useful to the Stratford family. For example, a video conference server was built using older hardware that allows multiple users to connect together in a “room” where they can see and hear each other. Complete with a presentation board (for slideshows or a shared whiteboard) and a chat box that can translate between multiple languages, it holds great promise as a method to bring far-flung users together.
Another project is also the introduction of a campus-based media server. Again using old hardware and freely available software, the Technology Group is committed to providing quality resources to the campus free from external influences (namely, advertising). The media server allows the Stratford family to upload and view videos very much like YouTube or Facebook might, but without the advertising baggage that the experience likely entails.
The media server has also been used to stream content, and the Technology Group is looking forward to providing the infrastructure so that classrooms and sporting events will have the ability to allow outside viewers – most likely family members and alumni – to participate without having to be present. Student involvement is expected to be high, so the learning process won’t end just because they’re having fun.
Finally, the Stratford Technology Group is committed to maintaining relationships with external vendors and alumni. Whole labs of computers have been provided through generous donations made possible by dedicated Stratford alumni, enabling the Technology Group to keep the software current for all users across campus. Alumni participation has been, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for future graduates.