arrow-right facebook file-download instagram sort-down twitter youtube
private school in Jenkintown

Today’s most successful learners know how to leverage a variety of tools and resources, tapping into a global network of information, ideas and people.

Collaboration, communication, content creation and media literacy are cornerstones of a modern education. In our resource rich world, schools have a responsibility to model powerful 21st-century learning.

At Abington Friends School we embrace new and exciting possibilities fueled by technology, while also maintaining our rich history of intentional, reflective learning. As a community we discuss a balanced approach to using technology for learning, socializing and connecting with people and ideas.  We help adults and children manage their time and engagement with devices and with each other.

Building on many years of best practice and thoughtful tech implementation, AFS has introduced a 1 to 1 laptop program for our 7th and 8th graders and Upper School students. We find this model to be the most effective in creating a culture of teaching and learning, giving students (and teachers) the tools to connect, collaborate and share with a global community of learners. Most importantly, it shifts the ownership of the learning back to the learner.

With the launch of two new makerspaces and the growing success of STEM classes and clubs, AFS continues to create opportunities for our entire community to discover passions, explore the world and create learning networks that will last a lifetime.

As a school that embraces technology and access, we are always conscious of finding a balance around technology use.  We all have access to great resources and tools, but conversation, reflection and connecting to the physical community continue to be important aspects of the AFS experience.

Open and thoughtful access to technology and resources

At Abington Friends School we understand how and why kids use technology. Through research, conversations and workshops we are well grounded in what growing up today looks like.  Technology, and all the access it provides is woven into the fabric of our daily lives and our students daily lives.  As a community we collectively wrestle with the benefits and the drawbacks, and as a community we help each other learn from one another, from resources online and from people all across the world.   Navigating a highly connected, resource rich world is a skill, and Abington Friends School teaches that skill.

Access to contemporary tools is important for learning

Abington Friends School has intentionally created a culture where the thoughtful adoption of technology and tools provide the necessary scaffolding to support learning and teaching.  Students, teachers, administrators and staff are all connected via Google Apps for Education.  We can all connect, share and create in an online system that works on laptops, desktops, chromebooks, phones and ipads.  We are truly device agnostic, and allow our community to choose the hardware that fits their learning style.  Many choose more than one!

Reflection is a key element in the learning process at AFS, we teach how to be reflective, how work exists in a cycle and how great learners are constantly revising their work.  With Google Apps we have a system that encourages and promotes reflection, a system that makes sharing, editing and revising a natural part of it’s environment.  It is a perfect match for us as in institution.

Partnering with parents and Families

AFS has cultivated our partnership with families by creating spaces for  regular conversations with parents about digital health, safety, and how kids are using technology.  We also explore what technology means to kids, how they use online tools and how to start conversations about what they are doing online. Through this partnership parents develop skills they can use at home to help kids navigate an increasingly complex and highly connected world.

Our investment in infrastructure and tools

AFS is committed to creating and maintaining a robust technical infrastructure, that will continue to provide fast access speeds, reliable connections and is easy to use.  The mantra of the Tech Office at AFS is “it should work and be easy”. We also want technology to be fun and inviting!

Some of our highlights include:

  • campus wide access
  • every teacher has a laptop
  • Support for pads, macs, chromebooks, PC’s
  • drones
  • 3d printers
  • CAD robotics lab
  • makerspaces
  • robotics room
  • printing from almost any device on campus for US & MS students
  • Cloud based so that you can access tools from anywhere
  • Upper School BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program

Our tech office is always open and friendly.

Technology and Access in Lower School

Technology should enhance students’ abilities to be resourceful, creative and critical thinkers. Lower School students engage in genuine uses of technology that support the curriculum. Use of technological tools is dependent on what we are studying and what we want to create. A critical component of our technology program is media literacy. Students who are productive and literate in a diverse and interconnected world understand that media messages are created for a purpose and are able to identify and analyze how technology is used to reinforce those messages.

Lower school students explore and utilize a wide range of technological skills and resources including online portfolio development, programming with Scratch, podcast development, stop-motion animation, LittleBits, iMovie and Garage Band. Teachers model using technology to enhance their own learning and deliberately model a sense of balance in how and when they use technology. Throughout their time in Lower School, students employ technology in a range of opportunities that require research, analysis, design thinking and project development.  


Technology and Access in Middle School

Middle School students continue to build on the skills they were introduced to in Lower School, and in 7th grade receive a Chromebook to use in 7th and 8th grade.  Google Apps for Education is utilized throughout our middle school providing a platform for teachers and students to easily share information, collaborate, revise work and start creating digital portfolios.

Students start to work with large amounts of data in science and learn how to use spreadsheets to manipulate and make sense of information.  In 5th and 6th grade students use Minecraft in their history classes to recreate historical sites and interact in an online space to problem solve.

Our new Middle School maker space allows kids to utilize design thinking skills in a collaborative environment.  In our 7th grade technology course students learn skills necessary to navigate increasingly complex social networks and how to be good digital citizens.  They are also introduced to programming and the basics of graphic design

Technology and Access in Upper School

In Upper School students choose a device to bring with them to school.  We allow a range of devices: ipads, Chromebooks, Macs, PCs etc… as long as you can run Chrome and access Google Apps, the choice is up to you.  Students and parents are encouraged to choose a device that works for them and their learning style.  Intentionally creating choice teaches students to understand what works for them and what doesn’t.  Going through this process in high school helps them be better prepared to make similar choices in college.  As quickly as technology evolves, it is important for students to be able to sift through the tools and resources available and find ones that work for them.  Learning to be a learner in today’s world requires technical fluency.

Building on the skills taught in Middle School and the continual modeling by adult learners in our community, Upper School students are able to choose additional courses, clubs and activities to create a learning landscape that they find interesting and engaging.  Upper School students can take courses where they learn to program in Java, build models using AutoCad software, and build and program robots to solve problems.  In addition to these course offerings students are able to join a highly competitive and engaging robotics team or the always fun 3D printing club.  There are opportunities to work with the technology department during the school year, and do paid internships over the summer.  The technology department at AFS helps kids connect to resources in the area, and takes students to programming competitions, tech meetups and sponsors other organizations coming to our campus to create technically orientated opportunities for our students.

The AFS Upper School  is an exciting community of technically savvy learners!  Our faculty all have Mac Airs and or constantly finding new ways to leverage technology to help students learn.  Assignments are posted on Google Classroom, online discussions happen, and students are taught how to live and learn in a resource rich world.