Into the future…

Sept. 22-28, 2005
Into the future…
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Rome Catholic School puts technology plan in place

ROME — With the opening of the school year, students at Rome Catholic School are experiencing the excitement that comes from having an opportunity to use the new computer equipment that has been installed at the school. “We’re pretty excited,” said principal Chris Mominey. “It’s a big step into the future for us.”

As part of the diocesan-wide technology plan, Rome Catholic School has integrated state-of-the-art technology into their curriculum. Under the plan, a multi-purpose media room and Internet Café and the addition of computer clusters (four desktop computers and a printer) have been added to the school environment to enhance the education of the students. The multi-purpose media room has been named the Paraclete Room, and is dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the patron of Rome Catholic School.

“It’s a really great plan,” said Dyann Nashton, advancement coordinator at Rome Catholic School. “The technology we offer here is going to be very important to these kids as they enter college and obtain jobs.”

The inception of the new technology plan has affected teachers and students alike. “The students are mesmerized by this,” said Mominey. “They want this in their curriculum – their expectations are high now. As for the teachers — they are seeking out technology. It needs to be in the forefront of their minds.”

Sandy Engle has been appointed technology integration mentor at Rome Catholic School. “My job is to take all of this technology and put it into the hands of the classroom teachers,” said Engle. “They can visit the Paraclete Room with their classes and conduct their lessons knowing that I am available to assist them. We plan the lesson in advance and practice so the teacher is comfortable. I set up in advance and can step in if there is a technology glitch.”

Larisa Restive teaches science, earth science and chemistry at Rome Catholic School and has found the new technology plan very helpful. “I was in the Internet Café today, searching for information on quizzes for my chemistry class,” said Restive. “I got some great ideas. I like the technology because it gets the students involved. It’s helpful because it presents ideas in such a way that they can see how chemistry is related to real life. It also gives me animation to teach with.”

The Paraclete Room serves many purposes. The room provides instructional and group meeting space and serves as an Internet Café for junior/senior high school students and staff. This portion of the room has an expanse of counter space, laptop or tablet computers and a printer. With its wireless access port, it can function as a “hot spot” so that anyone from the community with a wireless laptop computer can drop in and access the internet.

Also housed in the room is a computer cluster of five computers, where students have taken courses online from Northwestern University and Brigham Young University.

The room also contains a SmartBoard (interactive whiteboard), an ELMO visual presenter and an LCD projector.

The Paraclete Room houses the iPAQ handheld computers so teachers and their students can use active sync to download information and do video streaming via WCNY.

Student Kayla Garrett is a senior at Rome Catholic High School and enjoys using the new computer equipment because she thinks it makes her work more efficient. “Using the Microsoft Publisher software program helps me when I design the newsletter for the Key Club,” explained Kayla. “It’s a better version than the one I have at home.”

Senior Christina Merithew enjoys using the updated equipment. “It’s handy to use,” remarked Christina. “The flat top computer screens are better for our eyes and they are faster. It will help us a lot.”

Sophomore Justin Eisinger agreed. “This gives us opportunities to try new stuff,” said Justin. “The Internet Café is really nice.”

The new technology has also been integrated into the regular classrooms. Grades three through six have received new PC computer clusters. Grades one through three have Mac clusters of five computers and a printer. PC desktop computers have been installed for the teachers in pre-school, pre-k, kindergarten, and grades one and two.

Grades one through three share an AlphaSmart Cart of 30 Alphas (portable keyboards), while grades three through six share a Dana cart (a wireless notebook alternative.)

The middle school students have the use of two iPAQ carts. The iPAQs are handheld computing devices with internet access and the ability to download electronic books and videos. They can be used to gather data on fieldtrips and serve as a Global Positioning System.

Two Smart Carts are available on the second floor to the junior-senior high teachers. Each cart is equipped with an LCD projector, laptop computer with DVR drive and a VCR.

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