Editorial: Schools must keep up with new technology

Rapidly changing technology is making advances in our world with head-spinning swiftness. All institutions need to keep up

with it and adapt to its advantages — particularly education.

Children are growing up in a world dominated by computers and other high-tech devices that they will need to master in order

to succeed in school and in their future careers.

St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette is among the schools taking advantage of the technology by bringing exciting

new innovations to schools.

St. Thomas More abandoned textbook-based learning last year and gave each student a laptop tablet that serves as the textbook.

The school’s principal, Audrey Menard,

said the transition to a laptop campus was necessary to prepare students

with the 21st-century

skills they will need to succeed in life.

She said 21st-century technology is

giving a boost to the way students learn in the classroom. Among the

advantages are comparing

and contrasting different perspectives, getting real-time feedback

from teachers, making it easier to stay organized and develop

typing skills.

For example, in history teacher Jill

Ardoin’s class, a whiteboard at the front of the room with bulleted

points on her lesson

on the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, are presented at the same time

on the students’ laptop screens at their desks. Students

can type notes directly into the lesson page while she talked. Or,

if they prefer, students can also write notes into their

tablets with a stylus.

“Moodle,” a classroom management program, is used by teachers to make their assignments, teacher notes and presentations readily

available to students. Students can record lessons or access audio recordings of lessons.

Students are also better able to prepare their homework and access the next day’s lesson. If there is a problem with a student’s

computer, he or she can turn it in and get a loaner until it is fixed.

Menard said her school has received visits from educators from across the country to learn how to replicate its program.

Of course, Southwest Louisiana people

don’t need to travel all the way to Lafayette Parish to see technology

in action in

the schools. St. Louis High in Lake Charles has been working with

laptops this year, in a program similar to St. Thomas More’s.

Other public and private schools around the parish are also taking

bold steps forward with new technology

Technology is the wave of the future for our society, and education needs to be at the forefront of keeping up with all its

promise for today’s generation of students and those of decades to come.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney,

Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.