One to One initiative helps prepare students for college

By By Kara Carrier / American Press

St. Louis Catholic High School is helping its students be better prepared for college through an innovative technology program

called the One to One Initiative.

According to Deborah Frank, president

of the school, the program gives every student and teacher a laptop

computer to use

during the school year. “The students and teachers have access to

the latest technology at all times,” Frank said. “Students

take notes on their tablets through a software program and can

organize their notes digitally, and teachers can use different

programs in their lesson plans.” This is the second year the

school has used the program, and St. Louis is the first school

in Calcasieu Parish to have it, she said.

According to Frank, the program even

allows teachers to administer tests and quizzes online, with test

results being instantaneous.

Frank said that is a major benefit because the teacher knows

immediately if the students need more instruction in an area

or if they can move on.

“English teachers also use the program a lot,” Frank said. “If they’re reading a selection in literature, the teacher loads

that onto the students’ laptops, and the students can use their pens or highlighters as they read, much like they would do

in a hardback.”

According to Frank, the school invested

in the program after feedback from graduates showed that many didn’t

feel as prepared

with technology in college as they would’ve liked. “Our graduates

do very well when they go on to college, and about 98 percent

of our kids do go right into four-year institutions,” she said.

“But nowadays you walk into a college classroom, and the first

thing they do is tell you to get a zip drive, get a clicker and go

online. That was a major factor for us to invest in this

program.”

Frank said the school has collaborated with McNeese for research and to make the program more effective. According to Frank,

McNeese approached the school after hearing about the program and wanted to do a research project last year.

“We were thrilled because we knew that would give us some data that we didn’t necessarily have time to collect,” Frank said.

“For McNeese it gave them a project, and they published a report at the end of the first year we used the program.”

Frank said McNeese did a series of

classroom observations and came back with recommendations to improve the

program. One recommendation

was to hire a full-time instructional technology integration

specialist, which the school did. “Our specialist provides training

to teachers weekly and is available for one-on-one consultations,”

Frank said. “It’s been huge in terms of teacher proficiency

and comfort with using the technology because everyone didn’t

start out at the same place with their technology skills.”

According to Frank, teachers using laptops and software programs in lesson plans doesn’t replacing teaching. “This is just

a tool that can sometimes make a lesson more effective and make the student more engaged,” she said.