The future of learning – STAR Catholic column

STAR Catholic Ponoka Trustee column looks at technology and its place in schools.

Dan Svitich Ponoka Trustee

We are surrounded by it everyday. Be it in our homes, in our cars, in the palm of our hands; technology is there and it’s always changing. What once seemed like something Elroy would experience in the “Jetsons” is becoming reality in our classrooms.

Through the Alberta Government’s Learning and Technology Policy Framework, St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic School Division is making those moves to bring the future to the classroom.

The framework identifies student centered learning, research and innovation and professional learning, as keys to learning and technology.

To that end, STAR Catholic has invested $3 million into technology hardware. This has allowed such things as Chromebooks to become more accessible, as our student-to-device ratio continues to get lower and lower. This is a significant change from three years ago that saw an average 4:1 student-to-device ratio. That access to devices is important, as this is technology students are using at home and are comfortable with. Students take to technology quickly, and utilizing it as a learning tool is a crucial way to bring a lesson to students in a 21st Century way.

In STAR Catholic, the division manages more than 4,000 pieces of technology that aid in creating increased learning opportunities. Students and staff benefit from this investment, in tools like interactive whiteboards that create an innovative and interactive classroom. With the advantages of new and exciting technology comes some challenges. STAR Catholic is committed to the professional development of teachers in this regard, as well as implementing the strategic use of technology, while staying current with trends and anticipating future direction.

In addition to day-to-day technology, students are taking advantage of projects that allow them to explore and innovate. As an example, students are creating code for 3D printing projects. Essentially, through the use of a computer and 3D printers, students imagine a design, create and code it on a computer before making it a reality with the 3D printer. Other students are delving into the world of graphic design, robotics and even virtual reality.

Virtual reality allows a class to take a virtual field trip and learn about far off places without leaving the classroom. Imagine exploring the Amazon or touring the Vatican from your own desk!

We know what’s new today can change tomorrow, and there continues to be exciting developments on the horizon. At STAR Catholic, viewing all things through the lens of faith and centered in Christ, we understand that today’s student is embracing new technology at the same speed in which the technology changes. We are committed to keeping pace and exploring the best learning opportunities available, that will broaden horizons and fully prepare students for their future.

Dan Svitich dan.svitich@starcatholic.ab.ca is a Ponoka Trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division Board. STAR Catholic Schools has more than 3,900 students in 11 schools located in Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Lacombe, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin.

 

Just Posted

Country Gardens owner Carmen Sim invited to international horticultural show

Located between Ponoka and Bashaw, the greenhouse owner is taking in a lifetime trip

PHOTOS: Ice racing at Mulhurst Bay at Pigeon Lake

Results of the ice racing event at Pigeon Lake

Maskwacis RCMP lay charges from home invasion

Four charged in alleged invasion using knives and gun on Samson Cree Nation - three injured

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Ponoka Airport taxiway improvement costs overrun

The $328,000 project increased to $359,000, gravel cited as main reason for the increase

WATCH: Ponoka residents enjoy first skate on ice path

A community initiative helped create a skate path for families in Ponoka.

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Most Read