Newton Country Day is entering its third decade as a school that supports wireless learning and fosters student exploration and development via computer and online technologies. Students and faculty employ technology across the curriculum to explore new worlds and new disciplines, to organize and analyze data, to create and manipulate images and video, and to work collaboratively across the classroom and across countries. Above all, girls are trained to use technology creatively, ethically, and toward productive educational goals.
The School fosters student skills and faculty mastery and innovation through continued investment in equipment for faculty and classrooms as well as ongoing professional development.
In the Middle School, girls are assigned by grade to technology classes that use class-based and cross-curricular technology projects to hone their skills in graphic design, animation, 3-D modeling, computer programming and Lego® robotics. In the Upper School, students learn and employ new software programs and applications as needed for individual class assignments. They are also offered the opportunity to learn introductory engineering and computer programming skills through two separate courses, a Science department course offering, Introduction to Engineering and a junior/senior elective, Introduction to Computer Science.
In order to promote a culture of innovation and the development of a range of twenty-first century skills, the Academic Technology Team consults with faculty to encourage and guide meaningful technology integration in the curriculum. The team also provides support and education to students outside of class and in addition to their course work. Faculty integrate technology into their curricula using course websites and blogs, interactive formative assessment tools, extensive use of Gmail, and collaborative tools such as Google Apps for Education and Skype.
Coding opens up a part of our brain that we don't usually use. Even if we do not end up going into computer science, it broadens our horizons. We can apply this way of thinking to our lives, and become more successful. O. Winchenbaugh '21
The Middle School technology program aims to help students engage technology confidently, responsibly, and skillfully. The ever-growing use of technology in today’s world demands that we educate students about their rights and responsibilities in the digital world, and foster an awareness of digital citizenship. The Middle School program focuses on greatly improving students’ typing skills through direct instruction and keyboarding applications. Further, girls use Chromebook computers to explore Google Suite and its components. This platform allows students to develop proficiency in word processing, presentation, data organization and visualization, as well as collaboration with others.
Using the Computer Lab and Chromebooks, this course introduces students to software and cloud-based applications. Girls are given a foundation in computer programming using Scratch, a program developed by M.I.T. designed to teach kids the fundamentals of programming logic, syntax and design, and Python®, using code.org. Students also work with Lego® robotic and mobile creation tools. Students gain research and collaboration skills using the Internet and Google Apps for Education for cross-curricular class projects.
Technology 6 builds upon the foundations set in Technology 5. Girls continue their use of the Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education as they work collaboratively on in-class and cross-curricular projects. Students gain a deeper understanding of computer programming with Scratch, a program developed by M.I.T. designed to teach kids the fundamentals of programming logic, syntax and design, and Python®, using code.org. Students will also explore the design and coding process as they work mobile app creation tools.
Technology 7 commences with an exploration of data collection and analysis as students use both Office applications and Google Apps for Education to learn graph making, correction and analysis techniques. Girls dive into the realm of 3-Dimensions where they examine and utilize 3-D design and printing software and printers as part of an in-class project. They then proceed to a computer programming unit encompassing a Carnegie Mellon designed program called Alice, designed to teach students the Java computer language while immersed in a 3-D animated environment.
The Technology 8 curriculum provides students with an opportunity to further their exploration of Computer Science. Girls study advanced topics in Alice, a computer programming application developed by Carnegie Mellon. Engaging in a cross-curricular project students will learn advanced robotic programming techniques utilizing Lego® robotics. Throughout the course of the year, students utilize the full technological resources available to them including, Chromebooks, the Computer Lab, and Google Apps for Education.
The 1:1 laptop program in the Upper School provides girls with access at their fingertips to tools that enhance their learning. Digital tools enable students to create, communicate, explore, organize, research, and innovate. At the core of the technology program is the vision that every student will master essential skills, engage confidently and ethically with technology, and consider how she can use what she has learned to improve the world around her.
Courses in Computer Science inculcate technical computer programming abilities, logical thinking and problem-solving skills, and creative use of the imagination—often with the goal of responding to urgent world issues. While Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics courses integrate technology extensively, courses across the curriculum also teach and utilize an array of digital tools. Faculty integrate technology into all disciplines using course websites and blogs, interactive formative assessment tools, multi-media projects, extensive use of the Gmail, and collaborative tools such as the Google Applications for Education and Skype. Aware of our responsibility as stewards of environmental resources, whenever possible faculty strive for paperless distribution of course materials and submission of assignments. Google Classroom and Drive are among the many platforms that facilitate this initiative.
In order to promote a culture of innovation and the development of a range of 21st century skills, the Academic Technology Team consults with faculty to encourage and guide meaningful technology integration in the curriculum. The team also provides support and education to students outside of class and in addition to their course work.
- Introduction To Programming
- Introduction To Engineering: Level 1
- Introduction To Engineering: Level 2
- Independent Research In Science
This course is a hybrid with two class periods per cycle as well as online lectures and activities. The class is project-based and students primarily demonstrate their knowledge with hands-on projects. It covers a variety of programming concepts and tools and looks at current day computer science issues in an effort to excite students about learning how to program.
It starts with a brief overview of Computational Thinking then into Scratch, from the MIT Media Lab. Scratch is great way to learn a variety of computer programming basics. The course then transitions into a unit focusing on Android App Development with MIT’s AppInventor. The girls will learn how to create apps and design some of their own. Some students may even be interested in participating in Technovations’s app contest. While working on apps, time is spent on current day issues surrounding computer programming, specifically those relating to recent studies on girls,women and computer science.
The final part of the class incorporates the application Processing. Students use the Processing language to learn some of the basics of programming that involves a line-by-line textual environment similar to JAVA. Girls may work with the application, Alice, It aims to teach the basics of object-oriented programming through the use of 3-D graphics and a drag-and- drop interface. We would revisit some topics that we first saw in Scratch and will move on to methods, functions, parameters, arguments, if-else statements, and loops through this three dimensional animated environment. These new skills will prepare students to transition into a variety introductory course either here at NCDS or in college.
In this Level 1 course, students learn scientific principles through an engineering lens. The course begins by exploring what engineering is and, through activities, what the engineering design process entails. Next comes the study of the HTML language and the creation of personal websites that help students understand the idea of logic and syntax in computer languages. Website creation is followed by a unit introducing electrical engineering. The science behind electricity and circuits is studied and then electrical systems are designed using components, such as LEDs, buttons, etc., and Arduino boards coded in the C language. The second semester begins with a unit introducing mechanical engineering. Reverse engineering, the AutoCAD software, and the laser cutter machine are explored by creating 2D and 3D models. Each unit features hands-on activities while focusing on the development of analytical reasoning, scientific inquiry, and problem-solving skills. Engaging discussions and other activities are also be important parts of our exploration of engineering and physics. The year concludes with a final project that incorporates topics learned throughout the year to solve a problem based on each student’s own interests. This course is the first level of a two-year engineering program.
Engineering utilizes the principles of mathematics and science to come up with practical solutions to problems that better the world in some way. Building off the first-level course, the Level 2 curriculum provides students with a more in-depth view of engineering so that they may become broadly educated across engineering disciplines. The branches of mechanical, civil, environmental, chemical, aeronautical, and biomedical engineering are explored. Instruction aims to convey the excitement and possibilities of the profession. Engineering is based in applied science. Skills will be attained not only through discussion but also through design, construction, analysis, and testing of solutions to engineering problems. There are cumulative projects at the end of each semester. Successful completion of Introduction to Engineering: Level 1 is a prerequisite for this course.
This elective course is open to students in all grades who wish to pursue independent laboratory research under the guidance of a science faculty mentor. Students are required to propose a topic, research the proposal, design and execute the experiment, and use statistical tests to analyze data and draw conclusions. Depending on the design of the project, the experimental phase may occur at home, at school, or at a scientific research institute outside of the school community. Students enrolled in Independent Research in Science will present the results of their work at formal scientific forums, including the annual Newton Country Day School Science Fair, the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair, and the New England Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
Through this course, students will improve and expand their skills in planning and conducting research projects, collecting and analyzing data, engaging in scientific writing and public speaking. This course requires a significant time commitment by the student both during and outside of school hours. The ability to work independently and strong organizational and time-management skills are necessary for success in this course.