Today, schools around the nation are scrambling to make sense of the ever-changing technology landscape. According to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, students should be technology literate by the time they complete eighth grade. There is a clear understanding that success in daily life and the subsequent job market requires a working understanding of technology. If students are going to graduate prepared to succeed, they will need fundamental technology skills and information literacy skills.
Many observers believe technology can improve learning, but only if it’s correctly deployed and thoroughly understood. There is general consensus that to be effective, technology in schools must move beyond having a computer lab that students visit once or twice a week. A successful, technology-rich school must integrate technology into the curricula, and teachers should be properly trained to use that technology to maximize its potential.
For the past several years, the faculty and staff of Sts. Simon & Jude School have worked very diligently to develop a comprehensive technology plan. We have long recognized that in order to be successful, our core concepts must be continuous, relevant, and adaptive. We believe that learning is not dependent on time and place, and that student instruction needs to be relevant. We also believe that it’s not always necessary for every student to be turning the same page, at the same time, on the same day. If students are ready to move ahead, they should be challenged, and if they need remediation, that opportunity should exist for them as well. Technology has helped us in achieving these concepts.
Technology at SSJ has truly enriched the teaching and learning that happens in our classrooms. It has become one more tool in the experienced and skilled teacher’s portfolio that is used to support instruction and learning. Computers, Chromebooks, iPads and Smartboards stimulate young minds by making learning fun. The Internet allows our students to explore whole new worlds in real time. There is hardly a subject that cannot benefit from the magnitude of resources available on the Internet. We have a vested interest in creating a technologically savvy generation. Technology is incredibly motivating to almost every student you talk to. It has been proved to accommodate learning styles, and to be an effective motivator for students with specific learning needs. Students who won’t pick up a book and read it will sit there and read the exact same information if you put it on a computer screen and make the background blue or green.
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of parents and participants in our Partners-in-Progress program, Sts. Simon & Jude School has made tremendous strides in acquiring technology for our 1:1 student technology program. The gratitude we feel knows no bounds, and the excitement of the staff and students is palpable.
Technology being infused into schools is ongoing, unstoppable, and necessary. As an educational community, we will continue to explore, evaluate and incorporate, on a continuing basis, those technologies that are found to support, enhance and stimulate our curriculum.