Hands-on technology enhances learning environment
With the advance of technology, computers and Smart Boards are helping students at St. Francis Exavier Catholic School learn in a tech savvy world.
All students in K-8 at St. Francis have access to the technology lab which currently is replacing 22 desk top computers with portable lap tops.
“Every student in grade K-8 uses the computers now and has technology class,” said Kimberly Wells, technology and science instructor with the school.
For students in the lower grades who may not have had access to a computer, the classes introduce them to the computer and its parts. Simple key boarding, computer games and internet safety are also part of the curriculum.
At the middle school level, students create an e-mail account, learn how to conduct research and complete presentations. The students also worked in groups to create presentations on internet safety with topics such as cyber bullying.
“The middle school students have done research projects and mini biographies and things like that,” Wells said. “We talked about Website lists for research and how to verify the information they find on the internet.”
Gwen Wheat, a seventh grader, has had technology classes as part of the weekly curriculum at St. Francis every year since kindergarten and looks forward to learning new concepts in each grade.
“Technology is one of our favorite classes,” she said. “In the beginning of the year we did presentations on computer safety. We used the computer to find information on it. It was a really fun project and we all learned a lot.”
Seventh grader Bobby Hinner liked setting up his own e-mail account in middle school and is now learning how to navigate the Google Drive.
“It was fun when we first got our school e-mail accounts,” he said. “I enjoy how we get to use the different things on the computer like Google Drive.”
Smart Board technology has been used for several years at the school with more boards added each year. The new technology is an interactive teaching tool which has the advantage of visually enhancing lesson plans and increasing student participation.
Wells uses the Smart Board as part of a new science curriculum which can display portions of the textbook on the board and includes video presentations.
“The students like it because it’s like a big T.V. screen,” she said. “They get excited when they have to go up to the board.”
Second and third grade instructor Michael Klapperich, a first-year teacher at St. Francis, uses the Smart Board in his classroom on a daily basis.
“It’s something new and different,” Klapperich said. “I use it every morning as part of a routine to correct sentences on the board.”
Klapperich who applies the Smart Board to just about every subject frequently uses it for showing movies, films and video clips. Other applications include highlighting words or phrases, making comparisons and demonstrating concepts.
“The students love it when they get to use it,” he said. “They can use their fingers to move stuff around. My goal is to build the best environment for the classroom as possible.”