Share this article

print logo

Technology has classrooms in rapid state of change

Students in Mount St. Mary Academy’s Latin 3 class take out their notebooks and pens and begin taking notes on their teacher’s presentation.

But the students are not in class, they are at home, sports practices, musical rehearsals or anywhere, watching a video of their teacher.

Mount St. Mary Academy’s Latin classes, as well as other classes offered in the building, use a learning system called flipped classroom, where homework consists of students watching YouTube video lessons and taking notes, and doing the work in class to ensure full understanding of the material.

This is just one example of the ways technology continues to change the classroom.

At this midpoint in the school year, let’s reflect on how the school year thus far rivals past years, technologically speaking.

Just four years ago, the technology use in classrooms was very different from what is being used now. Before, a classroom using technology would be defined as one with a smartboard. Now, classroom technology more often means the use of iPads and Apple TV.

High schools are harnessing this technology and integrating it in every part of students’ lives. Many high schools give each student an iPad for the year, but what exactly are they being used for?

Mount St. Mary Academy, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Canisius High School and Sacred Heart Academy – to name a few – give students iPads to use for the school year to enhance their learning.

At Mount St. Mary Academy, iPads are given to every freshman. Upperclassmen are able to use iPads that are available to them on carts. Students use Google classroom, which allows them to complete assignments online.

“I love using my iPad for many reasons, the most important is that it helps with my concentration,” said Mount St. Mary Academy freshmen Lorrie Seep. “It makes it easier to remember assignments, complete them, and gives me interactive ways to study that actually work for my learning style.”

Apps such as iMovie are used to create character interview projects, videos to illustrate literary terms, and note-taking apps such as Key Note to promote story boards to the class. An app called Edline is used to send students their grades whenever their teachers update them, as well as give students a calendar for when assignments are due, even assignments that are months away.

Students can create, share and edit documents, eliminating the need for pen and paper.

Also, students have interactive textbooks, which can keep them from toting heavy books back and forth every day.

At St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, some courses are strictly online.

Junior Benjamin Wojick takes a full-year health class online. The students use the Schoology app to receive homework assignments, and even to submit tests and quizzes. Schoology is an online classroom that helps students learning through better communication, collaboration and access to curriculum and supplemental content around the clock. Students use their iPads for projects such as making videos on the effects of food on the brain. They even have discussions over Schoology just like the ones they would be having if they were in the classroom except that each student is required to speak or comment on someone’s answer.

“The advantage to having iPads is being able to have all of my schoolwork wherever I need it and being able to work on it at any time,” Benjamin said.

Students across the board agree the use of iPads has improved their education.

“The teachers and the students are able to utilize the iPads in different ways, said Alexis Arth, a junior at Sacred Heart Academy. “Teachers are able to post notes at any time, so we can get them even if we are not in school.”

Mount St. Mary Academy senior Caitlyn Leong is amazed by the progression technology has made into the classroom in just the past four years.

“Freshmen year it was exciting to take out your phone in class to Google something, and now it’s often required to take your class notes on an iPad or laptop,” she said. “It’s preparation for college really, because in college the main thing that you are bringing to class is an iPad or a laptop to have all of your information in the same place.”

Rebecca Brandel is a junior at Mount St. Mary Academy.