Every school works to keep up with the rapid advancements in educational technology. With its advanced high-school offerings, Savannah Christian Preparatory School has proactively worked to enhance its technology. Researching how local universities have re-purposed their libraries, a group of administrators and teachers created a proposal to seek funding for an ambitious technology-based grant. The staff proposed re-purposing and re-designing the school’s library/media center into a 21st century academic-resource center relying on new technologies, new approaches to pedagogy, and a new physical space in which 21st century teaching and learning can occur—that is, a sharply defined and contained adventurous experiment (with both “new learning” and a new space). The school’s efforts were rewarded with a $97,800 grant through the Christian Education Charitable Trust, of the prestigious Maclellan Foundation in Chattanooga, TN.
Dr. David Pitre, interim headmaster of SCPS, said, “This grant reflects not just a clear need but also a great deal of creative thinking on the part of the school’s leadership team. The result will directly and powerfully benefit our students and our faculty. Receiving this grant is quite an achievement for the school.”
The creation of such an academic-resource center will not only rejuvenate—by re-thinking and re-purposing—a “library” with computers but will also allow the school to offer a broad-based pedagogy in which the “teacher” or “librarian” can instead be trained in various educational technologies, allowing students to function as discoverers and not as passive recipients of imparted knowledge; furthermore, this new way of educating will allow instructors to serve a broader range of students: instructors become “academic air-traffic controllers” rather than “academic pilots.” Such a dramatic change in thinking will provide for a dramatic change in learning for college prep students.
The major re-configuring of the current library/media center will take place in June and July 2016. With the approved funding, Savannah Christian Prep has begun training administrators and faculty in using state-of-the-art technology and updating instructional methodology to help students embrace 21st century learning techniques. The opportunity to train a new generation of teachers in state-of-the-art educational technology and pedagogy demonstrates that Savannah Christian Preparatory School has embraced the best elements of a 21st century education—and training for faculty.
Rick Tindol, the school’s Director of Technology, said that “the grant will provide for changes that will be transformative to how SCPS teachers teach and how students learn.”