The Academy of Our Lady of Peace has seen major advancements in the available technology throughout the school campus. We are very grateful for the generous donations, the NJ State grants and the many hours of volunteers from our school and parish community in helping us reach our technology advancement goals.
The Academy’s technology teacher participates in multiple professional development workshops throughout the year hosted by the Director of Technology for the Archdiocese of Newark. The newly adopted technology curriculum from these workshops will be implemented in the technology lab and in the students’ everyday experiences in the classroom.
Are the students and faculty connected to the Internet?
Yes. Back in March of 2001 our entire campus was wired to a Local Area Network (LAN). This network allows for shared printer services, shared files, wireless access, and access to a high-speed Internet connection. This network is protected by a state-of-the-art firewall and Internet-content filtering program. All of our students and faculty/staff must sign an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) form, which states the rules and regulations of using the school’s network. Also students who are part of the Google for Education learning environment have to read and sign another Technology Code of Conduct form that explains their responsibilities as a digital student.
Do we have any SMART technology?
Yes. We are so excited about using our interactive whiteboard technology in the classrooms of our Academy. With a touch-sensitive SMART board our teachers can integrate technology into daily lessons and our students have fun in the process. Students are engaged in the learning and the teachers have a large array of lessons they can use and enhance from the SMART online community.
What equipment do we have?
In addition to our network and SMART technology, we have over 200 computers. All of our computers are connected to the LAN. The school’s computer lab is equipped with 20+ instructional computers. We also make use of digital cameras, webcams, and document cameras.
In the 2017-18 school year, students in Grades 4 to 8 began using Chromebooks to access their Google Classroom accounts and learning environment. We have Chromebook carts in all of our Middle School classrooms and in Grade 4.
In the 2014-15 school year, 30 Apple iPads were deployed. We are very excited to be using these devices as another tool in our students’ education at The Academy!
Also in early 2015, the Academy was fortunate to receive a donation from an alumni family of a MakerBot 3D printer. Soon after the printer was installed, students were creating their own 3D designs online and downloading their objects to the lab for 3D printing. We will be using this amazing printer in many of our STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) activities.
In addition to our 3D Printer, our students are excited to work with our Sphero SPRK robots. They are controlled via Bluetooth with apps installed on the iPads. We also program the Sphero robots as part of our STEAM curriculum. This adds a higher level of problem-solving and innovation to better prepare our students for the challenges they will meet in their future education and employment. Our students also have hands-on experience putting together electronic building blocks supplied in the Little Bits student kits to make fun items like cars, a throwing device, etc. No soldering or programming is needed.
Finally, we also have a hydroponics tower in the Grade 4 classroom whereby students grow fruits and vegetables without soil. Water and direct light from the tower produce enough fruits and vegetables to be harvested and then happily consumed by our students at the end of the school year. In the Middle School Science Lab there is a hydroponics garden where our older students learn with hands-on experience about plant life. These too grow without soil. The science lab turtles were happy to have a special treat grown by our students!
Do our students take a computer class?
Yes. Grades Pre-K4 to 8 visit the computer lab once a week for a full period of computer instruction for the entire school year. Word processing, Java and other computer programming languages, drawing programs, typing programs, graphing programs, spreadsheets, databases and multi-media presentation software are a sampling of what our students encounter throughout the school year, with various degrees of difficulty depending on their grade level. Our upper grade students study computer architecture, terminology, Cyber Safety, and the appropriate use of Internet communication and search mechanisms.
You can see that The Academy of Our Lady of Peace has made a major effort and commitment to our students, faculty and parents to enhance the learning process with technology and to prepare our students for a world in which technology is a necessity!