Technology for Learning
By Kelly Medinger
Mother Seton School uses education grant to educate teachers and students
Some students use the classroom computer to print their homework because they don’t have a printer at home. Others need the computer for assistive technology to accommodate their learning needs. And yet others might use it to access an online dictionary and challenge a friend’s word during a heated Scrabble game. In all cases, students at Mother Seton School in northern Frederick County use technology in the classroom every day.
About Mother Seton School
Mother Seton School (MSS) is an independent Catholic school established by the Daughters of Charity in 1957. The School traces its roots back to St. Joseph Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg, which was founded 200 years ago by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton herself.
Today, MSS serves approximately 300 students in pre-k through eighth grade. The School is committed to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s legacy of providing Catholic education to students from families of diverse economic backgrounds, and as such, tuition is the lowest among all private schools in Frederick County.
From a Technology Grant…
With a grant from the Knott Foundation, Mother Seton School installed interactive ceiling mounted projectors in their remaining four classrooms without this equipment, purchased computer workstations for student use in each of the 16 classrooms, and provided staff development in instructional technology.
“The way I look at our school,” Principal Sr. JoAnne Goecke, D.C. shares, “is that it’s okay to take baby steps. The most important factor is to put real thought and planning into the purchases, and then to foster a culture among teachers of excitement and flexibility when it comes to new technology.”
To a Graduate Technology Course…
During the grant period, seven MSS faculty (which equates to one-third of their faculty) enrolled in a three-credit graduate course through Mount St. Mary’s University called “Integrating Technology into Instruction.” The course was offered on-site at the School. “We realized it would probably be more appropriate for the teachers in this building to have training using the technology they have here,” shares Laura Frazier, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Education at Mount St. Mary’s University and MSS Technology Committee member.
To Technology Utilization in the Classroom
“The class inspired me to use more equipment and not be afraid of it,” one teacher who completed the course comments. Dr. Frazier adds that graduate instruction goes well beyond teaching the technology tools used in today’s classrooms: “We look at how each technology tool enhances student learning, and we talk extensively about instructional decision-making. Using technology for the sake of using technology is not a good reason to use technology,” she affirms.
Sr. JoAnne ends by offering a striking analogy to using differentiated technology tools in the classroom: “It’s somewhat like a chalkboard. Are you going to use colored chalk or plain white chalk? That was the question long ago. Today the question is, ‘What tools are we going to use to help the children facilitate their learning?’”