Hi-tech, Low-tech

SMUS-Views-Bob

Our Geography teachers are currently enjoying the fruit of their fine work with GIS technology in our program. Four years ago two of our Senior teachers, Cheryl Murtland and Kirsten Davel, were recognized by the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (Esri), for their work in integrating GIS technology into the Geography Curriculum. Because of the work they and their colleagues have done, SMUS received the first Education Grant awarded by ESRI, worth $10,000, for the purpose of providing support and professional development for teachers K – 12 in the implementation of GIS technology. Readers can discover more about this grant and its purposes here.

From one hi-tech extreme, to one of the oldest-fashioned extremes: poetry. Our English students have an unparalleled record of success in winning awards for their poetry. Year after year, our students win prizes, including first prizes, in contests run in Canada, the UK and other English-speaking countries. This is hot off the press: Grade 12 student, Zeng Xiangshu, won first prize in the Monash University Poetry Contest, at the well-known Australian university. Her poem, The East is Red: Szechuan, 1949, received the following comments from the judge: “What made this poem rise above the other wonderful poems I had to choose from, is its richness of language and metaphor in a poem that is both narrative and lyrical. The poem starts with a silence that is both unfamiliar and too large with the lines, “There was nothing in the air/ the day they shot her father.” It moves through a narrative that is not chronological but leaps from metaphor to lyric moment to archetypal image. It creates a personal story as well as a larger, political story.” Grade Ten student Brynn Erickson received an Honorable Mention in the same contest.

Many people despair that technology will erode the human element in learning. Not at all.

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Bob Snowden
Bob Snowden is Head of School at St. Michaels University School.

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