Technology is a natural part of teaching and learning here.
Women are perpetually under represented in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design, mathematics) fields, and as an all-girls school we are particularly well-suited to address the deficit.
National Coalition of Girls' Schools research shows that girls' school graduates are six times more likely to consider majoring in math, science, and technology and three times more likely to consider engineering careers compared to girls who attend coed schools.
SEM graduates are well-prepared for a future expanded by opportunities to learn beyond the walls of their classroom, by seamless access to information, and by teachers who appreciate the creative possibilities inherent in technology.
Dynamic and engaging teachers will always be the most important component of a SEM education but full technology integration offers additional resources for creative instruction.
The SEM Librarian teaches Digital Literacy and Research & Information Literacy to freshmen and sophomores. Information Literacy is a framework for understanding, finding, evaluating, and using information supported by specific research skills development, but most importantly through critical discernment and reasoning. It initiates and extends lifelong learning through abilities that may use technologies but are ultimately independent of them.
The Librarian also maintains the physical and online library resources and aims to integrate them as well as information literacy skills throughout the curriculum.
The freshman STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, Mathematics) Exploration program is taught over a year in trimesters:
- Explore Coding introduces our youngest students to basic concepts and career opportunities in computer science.
- Explore Engineering introduces our youngest students to basic concepts and career opportunities in engineering.
- Explore "Make It" addresses the art & design element of STEAM and explores the current DIY movement and teaches concepts and career opportunities in 3D design and printing.
Introduction to Computer Science
This full-year course explores the history of computers and the structure and cultural impact of the internet. Students create computer programs using several programming languages including SCRATCH, MIT App Inventor, HTML, and Processing. This course prepares students for more advanced computer science courses.
Python, a widely used high-level programming language is an excellent first programming language. Students gain a deeper understanding of text-based programming through an interactive web-based resource, in class reinforcement, and a final project.
Students learn to work in teams to build a mobile app and write programs for Android phones and tablets using MIT APP Inventor, a block-based programming language. In teams of 2-4, they brainstorm problems that they would like to solve with an app (ideation). They then design and create the app, and then develop a business plan and marketing strategy (entrepreneurship) and pitch to a school audience which votes for a winner. This course was inspired by the Technovation Challenge, an annual global competition for high school girls.
Video Game Design
Students learn about common game design tactics, logic, game theory, and methodologies for making a game fun and engaging while building and editing their own. We use an online resource for interactive learning and coding.
AP Computer Science Principles
Through our partnership with the Online School for Girls, students interested in pursuing a computer science career take this course online. The course investigates the “big ideas” found in our digital world such as the creativity in finding solutions to authentic problems, how data and information are used to forecast events and predict behaviors, and the global impacts of technology and the internet. Students prepare for the AP Computer Science Principles exam in May.
AP Computer Science A
Through our partnership with the Online School for Girls, students interested in pursuing a computer science career take this course online. The course introduces the key concepts and techniques of object-oriented programming in Java. The analytic, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills developed in this course transfer to programming in other languages on a variety of platforms. Students prepare for the AP Computer Science A exam in May.