Last year, 2013-14, students enjoyed their first full school year using St. John Vianney’s new smart carts, a combination of iPad, projector and sound system mounted on a moveable cart. The carts are a complement to the school’s transition to the Common Core State Standards, a rigorous set of learning requirements being implemented throughout the diocese and in schools across the country. The standards are meant to ensure a certain level of ability in subjects such as reading, writing and math. Teaching to such standards also sets an expectation that students achieve technology literacy. "It’s infused every-where," says Principal Ada Bauman.
The carts are one step in a series of planned technology upgrades. Mr. Joyce, who taught fourth grade when the carts were rolled out in 2013 (he now teaches PE) said the carts provided many benefits for students. In his class, using the iPad/projector allowed him to go back over difficult problems, undoing certain steps so students or the class could rework from a certain point. The camera on the iPad also allowed him to project objects or presentations onto the board to ensure visibility for all students. And he could project streaming video and play sound clips for the class while he roamed about the room as needed to help students.
Mrs. Bauman says when she arrived at SJV, she was impressed by how much technology the school already had. She says the school can expect to see more technology aimed at helping students gain technology skills while enhancing traditional subjects, such as math and language.
This year, 2014-15, SJV now have an iPad mini for each student in grades six through eight, and a mobile iPad cart for the lower grades. According to Mrs. Bauman, it’s a move that must happen to keep up with 21st century learning. "We can either embrace it or get left in the dust," she says, adding that all of the Catholic high schools in the area have gone 1-to-1 — one device per child — and she wants the transition to high school to be as seamless as possible for SJV students who opt to attend one of them.
"It’s what needs to happen to keep up with the world in general," she says. "It’s where this generation is forcing us to go." Technology skills are imperative in today’s work-force and essential to remain competitive, she says.