Congratulations to the 12 finalists of the Innovation in Catholic Education awards. Here are the finalists in the “Technology Integration” category, along with a bit about their program areas.
Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, Spring Hill, Florida
“3D Printers to Provide Prosthetic Hands to Children”
Our school’s STREAM club (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, and Math) was recently established to allow students to work on interdisciplinary projects that serve our wider community.
Through generous donations, we were able to purchase 2 3D Printers to begin our service project, partnered with an organization called e-NABLE. This partnership allows us to use our 3D Printers to print prosthetic hands for children with limited upper limb mobility as a result of birth defect, injury, or war.
Most insurance companies do not pay for children’s prosthetics due to the rate at which children grow; as such, many children may go an entire childhood suffering with limited mobility, as traditional prosthetics cost over $40,000. Instead, our STREAM students are able 3D print the hands at a cost of $50 per hand, and we provide them to the families free of charge.
It is our goal that, through our STREAM club, we will be able to nurture the minds, bodies, and spirits of our students, as well as the hearts and needs of our greater community, all for the glory of God.
Blessed Trinity School, Ocala, Florida
“zSpace Virtual Reality Computer Systems”
Our new STREAM lab is located in the middle school building and is the result of the transformation of our old science lab/classroom. The plan has been evolving for several years, starting with research on how other schools were implementing STEM programs, evaluating curriculum resources, and identifying state-of-the-art technology for the lab.
Our STREAM lab will be a place where students can learn to persevere through failed ideas and understand they still gained knowledge through those failures to improve the next efforts.
One of the most exciting features of our new STREAM lab is the virtual-reality computer systems known as zSpace. The learning experience offered to our students through this technology transforms and accelerates their STREAM education.
Research has proven that manipulation is one of the most effective ways for students to engage with and retain knowledge. The zSpace K-12 curriculum allows students to interact with models in numerous areas of study, such as biology, chemistry, mechanics, astronomy, math, environment, history, and landmarks, just to name a few.
The activities also provide virtual-reality labs in which students can create experiments in physics, electrical engineering, chemistry, and more. Students can even sculpt or design their own prototypes using zSpace Studio and print their creations in our 3D printer.
St. Theresa School, St. Palatine, Illinois
“Digital Citizenship with Peer-Taught Presentations”
As a school, St. Theresa is on the cutting edge of utilizing technology as a tool for learning and communication. The school recently built a new technology learning space, funded completely by the community and furnished with state-of-the-art devices including Chromebooks, iPads, a video studio, and more. The goal of St. Theresa School’s technology program is the development of skill and adeptness in the use of technology as a servant of communication and problem solving. All technology instruction is completely integrated into the academic subject learning goals – technology is used to support and enhance instruction and to make instruction and learning more efficient. With technology such a central component of the learning experience, the school feels an even greater obligation to mentor students on accountability for their online identities.
St. Theresa School initiated a program on Digital Citizenship. As part of the program, seventh grade students completed a unit called “Profile Penalty.” Students worked in pairs to develop innovative, technology-driven presentations about online safety and then peer-taught first through fifth grade students by delivering their presentations on the importance of being responsible about their online presence.
As a wrap-up of the unit, the Palatine Police Department came to talk with students about ways to stay safe online, including social media and game sites.
In this fully technology-integrated unit, students were able to establish expectations and norms for the group related to appropriate online behavior, participate responsibly and respectfully in an online community, and collaborate to create a classroom pledge about digital citizenship.