“What we were only thinking of in terms of technology use a couple of years ago has really come to fruition this year,” said Chad Steimle, principal of John F. Kennedy Catholic School.
With two grants from the Scott County Regional Authority, fundraising events and careful use of budgeted funds, all of the school’s preschool through eighth-grade classrooms, including band/music and art, have interactive whiteboards, mounted LCD projectors and associated technology. “Gone are the days of overhead projectors,” commented Mr. Steimle.
More than 100 laptops and netbooks have been strategically dispersed throughout the building and allow for a nearly one-to-one ratio in several of the sixth- to eighth-grade core subject area classes. As students move from room to room or even use computers at home, students use a cloud computing storage solution called WebLockers to store and access their files.
JFK’s foreign language exploratory switched to Rosetta Stone this fall. Students, using a computer, headphones, and a microphone, learn Spanish at their own pace. With a similar microphone, band students can use SmartMusic to get instant feedback at home or even to play along with a whole orchestra in their own family rooms.
New science textbooks at JFK this fall came with an online version. This version allows students to put “sticky notes” on pages, highlight their “books,” listen to text, watch videos and conduct virtual labs. In math, students can use online programs for help or to watch tutorial videos.
Even teachers’ lesson planning is being greatly affected by technology. Teachers use OnCourse to track the concepts and skills that are being taught and the research-based instructional strategies that are being employed.
The school’s redesigned website, www.olvjfk.com, also went live this fall. It is more user-friendly and compatible with today’s mobile computing devices and cell phones. The website nicely complements the school’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as ways to communicate.
With all of this technology being used at JFK, “we are still only on the edge of what it can be in the future,” said Mr. Steimle. Tablets for the youngest
students to use, even faster Internet speeds, and still more computing devices are probably in the near future, he added.