In the Upper School, students have more responsibility and freedom with their computers. We continue the focus on helping students become producers of innovation rather than merely consumers by encouraging exploration and project work across the curriculum. We introduce students to current and emerging technologies and encourage them to develop fluency with an ever-changing list of devices, programs, and literacies. In other words, they learn how to learn.

The Upper School adopted a 1-to-1 tablet program in 2005 that provides students with ubiquitous access to powerful computing technology for teaching and learning. Students assume responsibility for caring and maintaining their laptops and data in preparation for computer ownership as adults. With 1-to-1 access for students, instructors integrate technology into all subject areas with a focus always on the learning and not on the tool itself.

Media, Design, Development, & Production

This course develops digital fluency by focusing on communication, presentation, and production skills that promote visual literacy through the creation of video, audio, web, photo, live presentation, and coding projects. Interdisciplinary by design, each production assignment is linked to one of these core subject areas: Math, Science, English, and History. Students learn to apply appropriate media formats to enhance and clarify specific content. Using production and presentation as vehicles, they learn to persuade and communicate through appropriate technological media.

Programming in Python

In this project-based course, students learn Python programming. This course emphasizes creativity, but because it is a programming class, it is fundamentally about problem-solving and critical thinking. In today’s world, this type of problem solving is rapidly becoming a basic literacy. This course gives students a solid foundation from which to launch into any field of study.

This is a “blended learning” course, which combines face-to-face learning and online learning, using the best of both formats to meet student-learning goals. This course can fulfill the prerequisite for AP Computer Science for those students who wish to progress toward that goal.

Computer Science in the Modern World

Computers permeate every aspect of our lives, from what we drive and what we wear to how we work and how we play. The people designing our future are the ones who understand both the world of beauty as well as the world of function. Computer Scientists with an eye for art are quickly becoming the leaders of our world. But how do computers and networks work?

Through the use of many hands-on activities, this course examines three basic topics: computer hardware and networks, programming creativity, and the interactions between computers, people, and society. Students have the opportunity to take apart a computer, identify components, learn about interactions between components and put it back together. They learn fundamentals of how a network and the Internet work, examine and learn about the school’s network, and assemble a working model of a network. Students learn programming fundamentals and the use of algorithms. Finally, students examine the human aspects of computing, discovering that computer science is not simply programming. They examine the creative potential of computing for socially beneficial purposes, scientific advancement, and other “high impact” uses not directly related to advancing the technology itself.

One Laptop per Child Learning Course

This is a service-learning course that links computer science to broader social opportunities in service to others. In this course, Upper School students share digital skills with underserved populations. Students acquire, refurbish, deliver, and teach about laptop computers. Students learn about open source software, how to network the computers with one another and with the Internet, and how to troubleshoot hardware and software. They dissect a computer, develop a curriculum, research existing curricula and activities, and prepare lessons for the delivery period. The culminating project is a trip during May Program to deliver the laptops and teach the lessons.