The Meaningful Use of Technology in the Montessori Classroom
At Westside Montessori School, we understand that technology will play a key role in the lives of our students while enrolled and after they graduate from our program. However, technology use in a Montessori school looks very different than it does in a mainstream school. This is because the Montessori philosophy has strict ideas about the classroom environment, which is why our division utilize different technology when age appropriate. We embrace digital technology use with a caveat: it has to be meaningful. In other words, students should use digital technology to prepare themselves for the real world, rather than simply replacing real-world activities with high-tech ones. In the eyes of Montessori, simply making digital devices available to students is not enough; students must use these devices in meaningful ways.
Use of Technology by Division
Technology in Lower Elementary
As a student enters their Montessori Elementary years, they transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Students are exposed and learn to use a variety of print reference materials including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and reference books to develop an understanding of how to conduct research. Students also begin typing some of their final research paragraphs although most work is still done by hand at this age.
Technology in Upper Elementary
In the Montessori Upper Elementary classroom students continue to practice the art of research through print sources, but now are introduced to navigating online research through educational websites. Students begin formal keyboarding lessons with Typing Club, an online typing instruction program. Students also learn to save documents on their own flash drives so work can move from home to school.
Final projects are often typed using Microsoft Word. As a student progresses through the Upper Elementary curriculum they are also given lessons on creating effective slide presentations.
Technology in Middle School
The Montessori Middle School curriculum adds more in-depth technology skills. Building upon the research skills learned throughout the elementary years, students hone strategic searching skills—credible vs. non-credible sources—and how to tell the difference. The Middle School classroom uses MacBooks and iPads to create a variety of dynamic and exciting presentations. There is one laptop for every two students.
Students are also exposed to CAD and other design programs through our MakerSpace.
Technology skills built into the Middle School curriculum include:
- Introduction to Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Classroom
- Responsible use of technology and digital citizenship
- Etiquette in communication—writing emails
- Media Literacy—knowing how to search online and use media to communicate
- Navigate online research for finding primary and secondary sources
- MLA formatting and citation
- Use of Grammarly to edit documents and avoid plagiarism
- Use of iMovie and other software to create videos
- Introduction to creating spreadsheets