LWA Launches New Initiatives
This fall, Alan Bernstein, Headmaster of Lawrence Woodmere Academy, hired a new Director of Information Technology to coincide with the unveiling of an interactive school website that has been underway for months, designed to further an innovative technology program aimed at enhancing the school's mission.
"Technology can be as much a time-waster as an aid if it isn't in harmony with an institution's goals," said Sean Freese, the new Director. "It has to be useful, real and accessible to the community, not just technology for technology's sake," he continued.
Freese's long-term goals for LWA include working with the teachers and the other members of the Technology Department to develop a plan where the educational goals are established and technology is used to achieve these goals. "There's a lot of distrust and confusion from people who are forced to implement technology when they don't understand why. If you focus on the goal rather than the technology itself, you can get more people onboard."
In regards to the new website, Freese remarks, "I like that it's a content management system that can be updated and changed by staff without much knowledge of HTML Coding and programming aspects. You can add content that makes it a useful, living tool without having to be a webmaster."
Freese looks to the phenomenon of social networking sites as a concept ripe for development. "The explosion indicates that young people are extremely interested in making connections, and finding ways of communicating with their peers, as well as expressing themselves creatively through technology," he says. He is exploring a system where students can channel these desires in a safe manner by designing their own web pages and blogs that relate to schoolwork and their teachers. "Whether it be through web-based technologies, graphic design or music, we can tap into different styles of learning and expression, all serving to get kids engaged in technology," says Freese.
Ultimately, the technology initiative aims to ensure that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, graduate from LWA with the knowledge, comfort and curiosity for technology to carry them through college and into the workforce.