From learning apps to listening libraries, today’s students are tech-savvy and St. Ambrose Catholic School is fostering that approach to learning.
“Imagine having a dictionary a click away when you don’t know the definition of a word. Imagine having an encyclopedia at your fingertips to answer any lingering questions you may have about the science lesson on the lifespan of a manatee. Imagine the ability to listen to an audio version of the novel you are reading for an auditory learner. That’s life in the 21st century classroom,” said St. Ambrose Catholic School Principal Lisa Dodge. “Teachers spend more time guiding you to the proper information and teach you how to “Google” responsibly to find the answers to your education.”
Currently, Dodge explained, each classroom at St. Ambrose Catholic School is equipped with either a SMART Board or an interactive projector. Middle school students in grades 6-8 are each assigned their own Chromebook to use throughout the school year, and Google Classroom as well as interactive software are used to supplement school books. Google Classroom, a cloud-based service that hosts classrooms for each subject, is used for digitizing the classroom in a sense. Teachers incorporate Google Classroom into their plan to teach, communicate, and integrate projects into their curriculum, Dodge added. Exit tickets, quizzes, assignments, and projects are completed digitally allowing the students to leave textbooks in the classroom.
“Five years ago, Saint Ambrose had basic, limited technology. When I became the principal of the school, it was first priority to bring our community into the 21st century and we have exceeded even my own expectations,” Dodge said.
Additional technology at St. Ambrose Catholic School includes two shared iPad carts which are frequently used by elementary-level students. A third iPad cart will be added for the start of the upcoming school year, and St. Ambrose Catholic School is also seeking to expand to a one-to-one device ratio to 4th grade students for the 2018-2019 school year.
Online learning is relevant in the classroom and outside the classroom. Access to digital tools and programs can also assist beyond the school year by providing a platform for students to keep up their skills over the summer.
“I would say that online learning and accessibility would definitely prevent the summer slide if it is implemented at home,” Dodge said. “We recommend accessing the sites, performing summer reading and journaling throughout the entirety of the summer, rather than just the first or last weeks of the break.”
Two sites that St. Ambrose Catholic School encourages their students to use to sharpen and heighten skills are ReadTheory.org and KhanAcademy.org. Additional software programs that St. Ambrose Catholic School uses in the classroom are Accelerated Reading, STAR Reading and Math testing, Go Math!, BrainPop!, Mathletics, textbook supplements and typing and coding software.
St. Ambrose Catholic School is located at 363 SE 12th Ave. in Deerfield Beach. For more information call 954-427-2226 or visit www.stambrosecs.org