Smart Schools



Technology is woven in to the fabric of modern day life, and school is no exception. From social applications to business technology, today’s students will be surrounded by new gadgets and systems at home and in the workplace. Local schools are preparing students for future success while keeping technology and learning fun, individualized and approachable.

With six STEM certifications to its credit, the Beaufort County School District has embraced innovative technology. Previously, students at some area public schools worked happily on their iPads. However, after noticing a trend toward Windows laptops in colleges and businesses, the district’s technology experts decided to make some changes.

Smart Schools3This year, students in grades nine through 12 — like those at nationally recognized Hilton Head Island High School — will use HP x360 two-in-one laptops, which can adapt from traditional laptop to tablet. Throughout the district, grades kindergarten through second will use iPads to teach point-andclick skills.

In addition, the educational environment soon will become more streamlined.

“The next big switch is to a single sign-on,” said Mark Chauhan, Beaufort County School District’s technology services officer. Currently, teachers have students log into each application used throughout the day. Often students can’t remember their login information, taking up valuable instruction time. The school district’s goal is for students to use one password and user name for all apps, reducing wasted time.

One area private school is focusing on civil and computer engineering in a new course meant to introduce students to real-world applications of science and math principles. At John Paul II Catholic School in Ridgeland, students in grades seven through 12 have the opportunity to learn basic coding, build bridges from toothpicks and interact with new Arduino boards to practice. Teachers say this will help prepare students for careers.

“Teaching the kids and allowing them a glimpse into a legitimate career option is good for them,” said technology instructor Brian Quinty. “With certain jobs being replaced by automations, there will be future opportunities for those who can design and make the automations, which is part of the skill set of the engineer.”

Smart Schools2

Hilton Head Preparatory School also is planning to add more technology to complement its lower school curriculum. To expand the school’s cutting-edge STEAM program — focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math — supporters worked to improve its wireless network to allow more seamless use in the classroom. Upgrades were added to enhance security and control, making things safer for both students and faculty. A new language lab also was added to help both day students and international boarding students.

“In a nutshell, we are moving from At John Paul II Catholic School in Ridgeland, students in grades seven through 12 have the opportunity to learn basic coding, build bridges from toothpicks and interact with new Arduino boards teaching technology skills in isolation and moving to a model where technology is taught and used as a tool in the various subject areas,” said Margot Brown, John Paul’s director of development and finance.

The need for advanced instruction doesn’t end in high school. At the Technical College of the Lowcountry’s New River Campus, students pursue degrees in fields like computer networking, avionics and industrial electronics. The school also offers the latest innovations for instruction. For example, new simulation mannequins are in the nursing classrooms, and the welding curriculum uses technology to replicate real-life experience. This summer marks a milestone for the school with the launch of TCL College Online, giving students digital access to the full program of content for nine degree programs.