Schools named top 10 in country for digital learning

Focused on how well schools implemented technology in classroom

April 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Students use a Promethean board as their math teacher looks on.
Students use a Promethean board as their math teacher looks on.
St. Charles Parish Public Schools has been named one of the top school districts in the nation for digital education for the second year in a row.

The results of a Center for Digital Education and National School Boards Association survey found that St. Charles Parish Public Schools was the ninth best school district for digital learning with a student population between 3,000 and 12,000.

“It covers all aspects of technology, from our technology use with our School Board down to our classroom use of technology,” Stephanie Steib, director of information technology services, said. “So it is a very broad look at technology use in the district. We were pretty proud once again to be selected as one of the top ten.”

The digital learning survey focused on how well school districts had implemented advanced technology both in the classroom and in administration.

What has become a large part of the classroom interaction between teachers and students over the past few years is the use of large screen technology. Most classrooms in St. Charles Parish have retired the chalkboards that dominated student learning for many generations and in their place have put in interactive computer screens such as the Promethean board.

“We have Promethean board technology, which is an interactive white board, in many of our classrooms. All of our math classes have Promethean boards. We try to put appropriate technologies in certain classrooms. For example, math really benefits from the Promethean board,” Steib said.

For English language arts classes, a different large screen technology is put into place in which a teacher writes on a handheld tablet, called a slate, and the writing appears on the large screen in front of the class.

Steib said the slate technology aids classroom interactivity.

“If an English teacher is diagramming sentences, they are doing it in their hand and it is showing up on the large screen,” she said. “The beauty of the slate is they can hand it to their student and they can diagram the sentence.”

In addition to the classroom technologies, the survey focused on the use of advanced technology on behalf of the School Board and administration, such as the use of a paperless agenda system that began in 2011.

“They had a lot of questions about how our board and how our administration uses technology in the survey, so I think that is another big thing that makes us stand out across the nation,” Steib said.

Steib said the School Board’s commitment to technology throughout the district has been a boost to the parish’s educational environment.

“The board has committed funds so that we can stay current with cutting edge technologies. I think that is the difference, their commitment to providing funds to new technologies has really made a difference for us,” she said.

Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker said the award was a testament to the school district’s focus on increasing technology-based learning.

“This is an outstanding honor for the school system, our technology department and all those involved with implementing the latest technology in our school system,” she said.

Gomez-Walker said that technology is a driving force in today’s world and has improved the way students’ learn.“This ranking shows we are a technology leader in the nation. We are very proud to have received this recognition and share this honor with our community,” she said.

St. Charles Parish Public Schools was the only school system in Louisiana on the list.

View other articles written Kyle Barnett

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