INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY AT DAWSON
 
Courses offered by the Innovation and Technology department are designed to give students the chance to take ownership of their learning by exploring new tools, trying out new ideas, taking risks, and iterating in their work. These courses are interdisciplinary; developing creative technology skills and bringing ideas together from a variety of subjects including art and media, math and science, and humanities. Self directed exploration, problem solving, tinkering, and collaboration are the heart of great learning and facilitate students’ growth. Ever evolving technologies used in these courses may include a variety of programming languages, digital fabrication machines, electronics, a variety of printing formats (3D printers, 2D laser cutters, large format,  plotters, etc.), sewing equipment, multimedia tools and more. Innovation and Technology courses will allow students opportunities to bring their passion and personality into developing their ideas.
 
The Innovation and Technology curriculum is focused on five primary areas:
  1. Foundational Technology Skills - Students learn to use age appropriate hardware and software tools used for creativity, productivity, and collaboration including creating and sharing documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and general technology literacy
  2. Programming - foundations of coding in a variety of languages giving students opportunities to solve problems using algorithms
  3. Engineering and Design - electronics, 3D modeling/printing, prototyping, fabrication
  4. Robotics - design, construction, operation, and application of robots
  5. Digital Media - photography, video, audio, learning portfolios and reflections
Members of the Innovation and Technology Department work with classroom teachers to develop projects that allow students to deepen their understanding of the concepts and content they are studying while using a variety of modern technologies. We believe that the best learning environment is one of application. We strive to create authentic conditions for technology application, and learning.
 
Dawson Center for Innovation
The Dawson Center for Innovation opened in the fall of 2020 and is a hub for creativity and exploration of all kinds. The programming described on this page, as well as Upper and Middle School science classrooms are housed in the new facility. Learn more here (page to come).
 
Innovation and Technology in Upper School
 
Upper School students have opportunities to use a variety of technology tools across the curriculum. Members of the Innovation and Technology department work with teachers to identify and apply relevant tools within their courses. In addition, students have many Innovation and Technology elective options that teach students digital fabrication, electronics prototyping, 3d modeling, 2d design, a variety of programming courses, game design, filmmaking, and wearables. Beginning in 2021-22, there will be a new graduation distribution requirement where Upper School students must take a minimum of two semesters of Innovation and Technology courses. This will begin with 9th graders and eventually include all Upper School students.
 
Current Upper School Innovation and Technology course offerings include:
  • AP Computer Science A (year-long course)
  • AP Computer Science Principles (year-long course)
  • App Development
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Film Making for a Purpose
  • Game Design
  • Idea Incubator
  • Inventing with Technology
  • Programming I (Python)
  • Wearables
 
In addition, there are many Upper School courses that heavily integrate Innovation and Technology into their curriculum. Some of these classes include: Digital Art, Digital Music, Physics and Design, Biotechnology
 
Upper School students are required to bring their own mobile device (tablet or laptop) to school each day. This gives students access to Dawson’s high-speed network, email accounts, and learning portal. US students will have access to all of the tools and technologies in the Innovation Center to design projects for their classes as well as opportunities to bring their ideas to life. Students can choose to take part in several additional programs including robotics, a paid internship with Anark, and the Distinction in Innovation program.

Innovation and Technology in Middle School
 
Students in Middle School are provided a MacBook Air for use as one of their daily school supplies. Students use their laptop for a variety of productive and creative tasks. These devices allow for students to collaborate and communicate with peers and teachers. All students have access to powerful design and productivity tools including the entire Adobe Creative Suite, Google Drive, and a wealth of other online tools. Students access online content for their classes in the Dawson Portal.
 
6th Grade Innovation and Technology class:  
In 6th grade, students will move beyond the skills and concepts they developed in Lower School and begin to work on more advanced projects. Students will explore some of the graphic design tools in Adobe Creative Suite. We will focus on utilizing Photoshop and Illustrator in the creative process. In addition, students will learn to code microcontrollers and incorporate them to create a wide array of products and projects. Advanced coding concepts will also be a focus utilizing both drag and drop blocks of code as well as text based coding environments. Students will continue working with 3D modeling programs with the introduction of some new challenges and software options to help them bring their creations to life. 
 
7th and 8th Grade Innovation and Technology elective options include:
  • Foundations of Coding - Students learn to write code in JavaScript to solve problems and create interactive programs. They also build web pages and create visually dynamic graphics.
  • Maker Workshop - Maker Workshop is a project based class that gives Middle School students an opportunity to explore modern digital fabrication tools including 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics, and coding by using these tools to solve a real world design challenge
 
In addition, there are a variety of co-curricular activities that give Middle School students opportunities to explore creative uses of technology. MS Innovation and Technology Co-curriculars include:
  • Engineering
  • Filmmaking
 
Innovation and Technology in Lower School
 
Lower School students explore how technology can be used in the creative process. Students learn to leverage innovative tools to combine information and ideas with their creativity. Lower Schoolers have access to iPads and MacBook Air laptops, two 3D printers, programmable EV3 Lego Mindstorm robots, Little Bits electronic circuit prototyping kits, as well as a variety of engineering / construction kits. 
 
Lower School Students receive Innovation and Technology instruction twice a week. In addition to these classes, the Innovation and Technology Specialist works with classroom teachers on collaborative grade level projects using a variety of tools. We believe that the best learning environment is one of application so we always strive to couple the learning of technology skills such as coding or graphic design with knowledge gained in the classroom. One example might be to create a narrated stop-motion film made in iMovie documenting the lifecycle of a tree seed or to using Google Earth to map and annotate the paths of early western explorers like Zebulon Pike and Jedediah Smith. 
 
The Innovation and Technology curriculum revolves around our five core areas of study: Coding, graphic design, engineering, robotics, and foundational skills (how to use technology effectively). Many projects, such as coding of Lego Mindstorm Robots tend to cover several of these core areas simultaneously: coding the robots, engineering the attachments for various missions, and using cloud storage to save and modify long-term projects. 
 
In addition to these five core areas there is strong focus on digital citizenship. Lower School students are entering an age where knowledge of proper internet usage is crucial. Teaching them how to navigate the online world safely is a top priority.  Students will learn to identify phishing attempts, deal with cyberbullying, create and protect passwords, and appropriate uses of social media. Students complete a deep dive into all of these concepts and subsequently create public awareness campaigns through a variety of media to share their knowledge with parents and peers.  
 
 



The Innovation and Technology Team

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Jeff Ellenbogen

    Mr. Jeff Ellenbogen 

    Director of Innovation and Technology
    Brown University - BA
    Columbia University Teachers College - MA
  • Photo of Chris Berry

    Chris Berry 

    Systems Engineer
    University of Colorado, Denver - BA
    University of Colorado, Denver - MA
  • Photo of Ayal Korczak

    Ayal Korczak 

    Brandeis University - Bachelor of Arts
    Columbia University Teachers College - Master of Arts
  • Photo of James Piccolini

    James Piccolini 

    7-12 Technology Integration Specialist
    Connecticut College - Bachelor of Arts
    Teachers College Columbia University - Master of Arts
    Metro State University - Teacher Licensure Program
  • Photo of Narciso Santiago

    Narciso Santiago 

    Systems Engineer
    Lawrence Technological University - BS
  • Photo of Chris Suter

    Chris Suter 

    Dawson Center for Innovation Director
    SUNY Morrisville - Bachelors of Technology

Engineer-In-Residence

Glenn Salaman is a former Dawson parent, and has been our “Engineer-in-Residence” since 2018.  He can often be found in the Dawson Center for Innovation Makerspace, where he is an engineering resource for students and faculty.  

Glenn graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  He has 20+ years of industry experience with Qualcomm, where he oversaw the Boulder office’s Modem Software Team as a Senior Director of Software.   In addition, he made direct technical contributions to multiple technologies, including the Globalstar satellite phone, CDMA2000, and LTE.   He retired from Qualcomm in 2014, and has since been tinkering with multiple technology projects.