On Wednesday, September 16, students walked into their language class, checked in with their teacher, and walked out. High school students experienced their first Independent Day, or iDay. iDay is Benilde-St. Margaret’s way of introducing technology into the classroom and teaching students to learn through ways other than lecture in the World Language Department.
On most Wednesdays in language classes, the high-school students will be allowed to work in rooms 137, 138, 139 or the library. During this class period students are given a type of study hall, where they are able to do their homework. “With iDay we are helping students to become responsible through independent learning and by giving them more choices such as when and where they work,” said Dr. Sue Cipolle.
The projects assigned by teachers will incorporate technology into the curriculum; students will be working on projects involving iMovie, PowerPoint, iPhoto, and many other programs. “iDay is designed to focus on twenty-first century skills, skills that didn’t even exist five years ago,” said Dr. Cipolle.
Teachers have many different ideas for projects for their students. “Kids may be involved in group projects, making movies, recording songs, taking online quizzes, doing research projects online, making podcasts, adding to threaded discussions on class wiki pages, or any number of other non-traditional classroom activities,” said Mrs. Kitty Prentice.
Besides learning to teach themselves and to be organized there are many advantages for the students . “They will be able to work on group projects in school, instead of having to meet after school hours. They’ll have choices about where and when to get their work done. They’ll always have an option to meet with teachers during this time for extra help or be in a quiet study area,” said Mrs. Prentice.
Some students agree with Dr. Cipolle’s positive attitude. “I think it is good that they are having kids teach themselves – in real life people learn from their mistakes and you don’t have a teacher there to tell you what will happen,” said junior Katie Karlen.
The new iDay is designed to teach the students how to use their time wisely and to help them to learn how to use ever-changing technology. “Hopefully students can be more successful in college, work, and life because of their experience with iDay,” said Dr. Cipolle.