At Saint Mary’s High School in Manhasset, each student is given an iPad or Chromebook to use throughout their high school career. Students have the choice to use traditional textbooks or have the textbooks loaded onto the device.
“Some of the students like to have a textbook in their hand, but a lot of the instruction is done by iPads in the classrooms,” Saint Mary’s Director of Communications Eileen Symmons said. “It’s just really, really cool. The students are learning about history across the world through their iPads and they are conducting scientific research and experiments through their devices.
“It’s really incredible at how the classroom has gone into a digital path,” Symmons added.
The school has found that the use of technology has encouraged a more interactive learning experience. As the teacher works through the lesson plan, students are able to pull up additional information from various platforms that allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the material.
School officials have noticed an uptick in test scores, study skills and better success getting into some of the top colleges.
“The students are so much more engaged,” Symmons said. “This technology that is beneficial to them because it’s giving them opportunities that they haven’t had before.”
In addition to the devices, Saint Mary’s provides college level computer courses such as AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles.
The AP Computer Science A class helps students to understand core aspects of computer science in order to create solutions that are understandable, adaptable and reusable.
The AP Computer Science Principles course offers a multidisciplinary approach to teaching the underlying principles of computation. The course introduces students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns and computing impacts.
The program was spearheaded by the school’s principal, Jonathan Kramer, who often teaches the technology courses himself.
“I love to experience the joy of watching a student fall in love with coding and realizing that it could be a career choice," Kramer said.
As a graduate of St. Mary's High School, Kramer said he enjoys passing along his knowledge in the classroom while keeping the entire campus up to date in the school’s state-of-the-art wireless network and systems.
“Technology is opening up a whole world for the students and I really think that it has been helpful for their education,” Symmons said. “It’s given them something that other kids don’t have the advantage of having.”
Using technology and high-tech software, St. Agnes Academic High School in College Point offers a new approach to teaching anatomy and physiology within its medical simulation lab.
The school’s medical program is a collaboration with Northwell Health. At the end of freshman year, students have the opportunity to apply for the medical program and those who participate in the entire program can graduate as a certified nurse’s assistant.
In terms of technology in the lab, teachers and students rely on the Smartboard and videos provided by Northwell to lead lessons. Students also use their computer skills to perform tasks such as recording vital signs.
“Technology in the lab is growing everyday,” said St. Agnes Principal Susan Nicoletti. “It’s very interactive.”
As an elective, St. Agnes offers a Girls Who Code course where students learn coding from experts in the field. Currently there are 15 participants and St. Agnes is also starting up a Girls Who Code club.
With the school’s Dream Big program, they work with Molloy College to bring some students to Molloy’s campus to gain experiences working with an advanced TV studio and filmmaking.
Last year’s valedictorian graduated St. Agnes and attended Molloy, where she felt comfortable due to all of her experiences working at the Molloy studio and using the specialized equipment. The student earned enough college credits at St. Agnes to start Molloy as a sophomore.
When students come in as freshmen, they are given Chromebooks and classes are taught through Google Classroom. Each classroom has a Smartboard.
“With Google Classroom, parents can see what’s going on in class,” she said. “And teachers can see what the students are looking at on their Chromebooks so students can’t get away with picking out a prom dress on the internet.”