In Açı Schools education technologies are an integral part of education at all levels. Technologic life is considered to be an opportunity in education at our schools since it makes learning easier and more consistent.
Technology usage is applied in all grades and all fields as a part of short and long term education planning. Teachers use digital resources more in the Secondary school and high school teaching activities; students use it to achieve more active learning by reaching and using information.
Secondary school partially, high school completely studies in a paperless environment. Lessons are carried out in the iPad medium; resources and feedback from teachers are provided via the tablet. Tablets are also used for educational activities such as in class or out-of-classroom activities and excursions. In our school, which became a Google School in 2016, technology is utilized as an opportunity for education, thanks to collaboration of Google and Apple. Our students acquire the basic information and competence in ICT lessons while technology is used as a learning strategy in other field courses.
The ICT (Information Communication Technology) course in Açı Schools starts in 4th grade; and continues in secondary school and high school with vertical planning.
In ICT course; using technology correctly and safely, finding, processing and organizing information and producing documents according to the purpose are the main targets. It is ensured that students embrace the technology not as a purpose but as a tool.
The ICT course, held once a week and as a 1 hour lesson, is an application based couse that focuses on acquiring basic technology skills. Block coding, which is the basis of programming, is taught. The ICT course attainments are ensured to become permanent through interdisciplinary connections; it is planned parallel to the contents of science and social studies courses.
The ICT course which startes in primary school continues as a one hour per week course in the middle school. The foundation of the High School Cambridge IGCSE international program is laid in 5th, 6th and 7th grades. The ICT academic program, based on application, is carried out in the computer lab on various subjects and it promotes correct and safe use of technology. Students are supported according to their needs with extra studies and by digital documents which will facilitate their learning.
Motivated and interested students are encouraged with an elective course named “Digital Design”, 2 hours a week. Apart from these, “Açı Tech” group, consisting of proficient students with high ICT skills, make studies on technology content, outside the school hours. The aim of this course is to encourage students to explore their capabilities in the technology area and to orient them correctly towards producing a project.
The ICT course attainments are ensured to become permanent through interdisciplinary connections; it is planned in connection with the contents of science and social studies courses. Students produce projects where content is derived from different fields.
8th grade ICT course is planned completely within the framework of the IGCSE-ICT attainments. 130 hours IGCSE academic program starts at this stage. It is ensured that the students reach the level of taking IGCSE-ICT exam, in the 10th grade. Starting from 8th grade, the course contents, applications and evaluations are made entirely based on IGCSE standards. Students are supported according to their needs with extra studies and by digital documents which will facilitate their learning.
Secondary School Elective-Digital Design
“Digital Design” is an elective course offered in the secondary school and it is prefered by the students interested in and skillful with ICT field. This 2-hour a week course develops students’ digital creativity, introduces them to new technologies and provides an opportunity to explore their own capabilities.
This curriculum starts in 5th grade and continues until the 8th grade. They work digitally on concepts such as video, visuals, drawing and 3D design. Students participating in this class learn graphic design with Photoshop and Illustrator which are advanced level Adobe products and digital video design with iMovie and Movie Maker, as well as 3D design with Tinker Cat and SketchUp.
Secondary School Extracurricular Activities – Açı Tech
Açı Secondary School 5th, 6th and 7th grade students, who are interested and talented in ICT above the standards and very motivated to work in this area, are selected and guided by the ICT teachers to join this work group. During regular after-school studies students are trained on topics which are not included in the regular and elective courses and are expected to produce a a project.
Açı Tech students work with ICT teachers, entirely on the areas of their interest and ability. Students develop their proficiencies with projects carried out in fields such as 3D design, graphic design and programming. Students in this group, where new technologies are examined, excursions are made and projects are being developed, also take ICT related responsibilities in the school activities.
ICT lessons, linked to primary and secondary school in a vertical planning, follows the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. After completing a 130 hour course, the 10th grade students take the IGCSE – ICT exam. The ICT course, carried out 2 hours per week, provides basic technology skills of university and business life and officially certified with an exam. All lessons take place with Apple computers, in the ICT laboratory.
The ICT course, taught both theoretically and practically, follows the Cambridge curriculum and is evaluated by various means. Students are supported according to their needs with extra studies and by digital documents which will facilitate learning and repetition.
The basic framework of the course is to equip the students with information-communication technologies by enabling them to understand today’s technology, to use it safely and consciously and to learn programs and applications for different needs.
Lesson planning is done in parallel with other fields and the attainments of ICT lesson is reinforced with interdisciplinary studies. Joint projects are carried out with Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, History and Geography courses.
Apart from the ICT lessons, students are offered two other alternatives within the club program. Coding – Mobile device programming and Maker (Arduino programming, electronic and 3D design).
Açı High Tech Club
Açı Tech Club, which is a part of high school club activity options, accepts students within a quota. Club activities are carried out during the whole year on a 33 week planning and project-based program. One project is completed by students who work on different fields such as 3D design, electronics and Arduino programming.
Students improve their proficiency by taking responsibility and completing the project in a group work environment. In a medium of academic activity where a specific curriculum and program is followed, there are theoretical lessons but more often practical applications.
Studies can be grouped under three main headings:
- 3D Design.
For 3D design, students use TinkerCat, Sketchup and Rhino programs. The project is applied by preparing designs for different purposes. The given tasks enable students to attain the skills of modeling, scaling, developing the concepts of geometry and dimension, multi-functional thinking and problem solving. Models designed in the computer are printed in our 3D printers with different filament features. The designs prepared in digital medium concretize by means of an object that the students can actually take in their hands.
- Arduino programming
Students, by using the Arduino Genuino 101 card, realize the project’s programming and writing code phases; they develop skills of code tracking, problem solving, analog measuring (heat, light, sound, movement, etc) as well as controlling the circuit card by using sensors.
- Electronic card design
They develop basic skills about sensors, circuit elements, resistance reading, integrated circuits and their features, circuit arrangement and soldering. In this phase, our students design the electronic circuits to be used in the project, primarily with Fritzing program in the digital media, design it on the screen and run on breadboard. Then students create the card in the physical medium by using tools such as soldering iron, side cutters, tweezers, etc. They complete the circuit by soldering on perforated pertinax and running it.
Code writing is perceived as a life skill and it is targeted that students would be able to apply this skill to all kinds of professions. Programming lessons, in which algorithmic thinking is taught and applied, start in primary school and secondary school with block programming, and then continue in high school with coding, within the scope of club activity. Students are trained in coding in the Python platform and develop a project by learning basic concepts and commands, whereas in the second stage, they learn how to develop software for mobile platforms, project development, building the steps of the process and how to follow it, in addition to writing code.