Technology

Dr. Kirk Wheeler

A global leader in EdTech, St. Thomas School serves as a model for schools in the United States and around the world. We regularly welcome visitors and host foreign delegations who are interested in how STS uses technology to enhance student learning. It has been our privilege to host government, education, and technology leaders from many countries including China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Morocco.

"I believe strongly in personalizing the educational experience through the blending of extraordinary teaching and powerful technology tools."

-Dr. Kirk Wheeler, Head of School

Integrating STEM Into Instruction

As a Microsoft Showcase School, STS works in close partnership with Microsoft and other industry leaders to offer innovative learning experiences that incorporate technology. These include a 1:1 laptop program that allows students to work on their own devices and access educational tools at any time, as well as group projects that enable students to collaborate using Office 365, Skype and interactive white boards. In addition, STS is a LEED Gold Certified-campus featuring indoor and outdoor learning environments with seamless wireless access, and a technology center with 3-D Virtual Reality computers.

In addition, our 1:1 laptop program provides students with adaptive and personalized software in math and literacy, so students have the opportunity to supplement group instruction with technology, in a way that progresses and updates as they master the content. The program then sends teachers regular progress reports that highlight students’ performance.

Our students experience a wide range of lessons using technology including:

  • Robotics
  • Coding
  • Personalized and adaptive programs for math, reading, vocabulary, and spelling
  • Foreign language fluency practice
  • Music composition
  • Video production

One example of adaptive software that enhances personalized learning is Membean. Membean is vocabulary software that provides students with the opportunity to learn words they don’t already know and practice applying them in conversation and writing. This personalized approach provides students with support in subjects where they may need improvement or extra guidance, as well as encouragement or more of a challenge in an area where they excel.

Technology is woven into every grade and subject to help students work collaboratively, serve as leaders, and build critical thinking skills.

 

1:1 Laptops

A 1:1 laptop program in grades 1st through 8th (and a shared set of tablets for Kindergarten students) allows STS to personalize and differentiate learning experiences.

Coding

Robotics and coding are the heart of our computer science curriculum. STS students - including our preschoolers - are creators of technology rather than passive consumers of technology.

Virtual Reality

Our zSpace lab with 3-D Virtual Reality computers transforms STEM education and brings learning to life as students dissect a human heart, dive into a volcano, or calculate the dimensions of the Colosseum.

Using Technology to Give More Student Voice and Choice

Integrating data and technology into instruction allows teachers to create a rich learning environment that is safe and enables students to grow.

In as early as third grade, we give students the option to choose the platform in which they will demonstrate their knowledge (e.g. PowerPoint or Sway presentation, video, podcast, or other forms).

Our approach to personalize technology opens opportunities for students to express themselves and demonstrate their knowledge in a way that is most engaging to them – and allows teachers to respond and adapt to those preferences.

At STS, we are actively seeking new ways to integrate and apply technology and data to improve instruction and enhance student learning. One way we do this, is by encouraging and supporting our teachers to explore new innovations and resources in and outside of the classroom. For example, a second-grade teacher, Chris Neville, was eager to give her students the opportunity to discover a different approach to writing fables after having learned about an English Literature lesson that included building three sets of Legos to illustrate three stages of a fable. As part of this project, she had her students construct three different story (Lego) sets with characters, took photos, wrote a fable based on those scenes, and created a narrated PowerPoint presentation. She shared that these were the most creative and best written fables she had seen in more than 20 years of teaching because the students were so engaged in the process.

We look forward to bringing more powerful examples like this one to life. Encouraging both teachers and students to try something new, ask questions, and explore new alternatives will help integrate technology in a way that is meaningful and continue to excel our STS community.

Microsoft, St. Thomas School App Better Connecting Students, Staff
December 2, 2014 - Technology in the classroom is paramount to ensure students are savvy enough to tackle an increasingly electronic-dependent world. Read more in The Bellevue Reporter.

Private Primary School Enhances Personalized Learning
June 29, 2014 - A recognized leader in early childhood through eighth grade education, St. Thomas School has adopted both Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro tablets as their 1:1 student computing device. Watch the story on Microsoft's YouTube channel.