With educational technology continuing to evolve and grow at lightning speed, Ravenscroft remains committed to helping teachers and students make the most of the new tools and innovations at their disposal. This year the school welcomed Sarah Loyola as director of educational technology, a role that draws on her extensive experience as a classroom teacher as well as her doctoral coursework in Educational Technology at the University of Florida.
"We have all seen major changes in how the world works over the last several decades due to advances in
technology," Loyola said. "The realm of education is no different. There have been huge shifts in how instruction can be delivered and how classrooms can be designed and managed. My role is to aid teachers in staying up-to-date on the trends while reimagining their roles in this new educational landscape."
Working with faculty and their students in Pre-K through 12th grade, Loyola focuses on how technology can be incorporated into the curriculum as well as how curriculum delivery, through updated lesson planning and innovative ideas, can improve teaching and learning.
"I have worked with individual teachers as they grapple with ways to integrate more educational tools into their day-to-day teaching," Loyola said. "I recently worked with [Upper School social studies teacher] Phil Kantaros, who was looking for a way to share current news stories from varying perspectives with his students in AP® Government and Politics. He learned that doing a Google search on American government under the "News" tab would give him the top news stories from all major news outlets. We then talked about ways he could have students use this resource as a warm-up to class each day so they could be more actively involved in their learning."
Loyola has also been meeting with division heads and department chairs in preparation for developing a strategic plan for using and managing educational technology in the years to come. She and Gerald Pinkerton, director of technical services, are collaborating on the management of software needs for all three divisions.
But Loyola thinks of herself as a teacher's teacher first.
"Commonly, people focus on the word 'technology' when hearing my title. While technology is a decidedly important aspect of my work, it is the focus on best practices in teaching methodologies that I feel is the most essential part of my job," she explained. "Teachers can come to me with questions about digital tools and resources, and they can come to me with questions about how to better engage learners or personalize learning. I am a resource for them in both of these capacities."
Jason Ramsden, Ravenscroft's chief information officer, championed that stance.
"Being innovative is not always about using digital tools," he said. "Rather, it is about meeting the kids where they are today in how they learn best. Innovative curricular design and delivery are things Sarah is passionate about helping teachers understand."
Innovator of the Month
Each month, Loyola recognizes a Ravenscroft faculty/staff member or student who is applying forward-thinking or innovative practices to their work. September 2017's Innovator of the Month is Upper School science teacher Dr. Heather Mallory, whose students used technology to collaborate on and create a shared digital timeline on the history of the environmental movement. Read about Dr. Mallory's project here.