Our students are very fortunate to live in a time when technology is revolutionizing access to the vast reserves of knowledge throughout the world. This is a time when teaching and learning must rise to the challenges afforded by this monumental paradigm shift. Carondelet is meeting these challenges through constantly improving our technology and through adapting our curriculum to the ever changing opportunities for leadership and service to the greater community.
A recent major advance in computer hardware, the netbook computer, made it possible for Carondelet to move ahead with its goal of providing a laptop for every student. Last year the school purchased netbooks for every freshman student. During the 2011-2012 school year the teachers of these students experimented with many technology-based lessons. Response to the program from parents, students, and teachers has been very positive. This 1:1 netbook program will continue during the 2012-2013 school year as these students become sophomores.
Recent advances in laptop, netbook, and table computer design and pricing have made a diverse variety of equipment available for our students. These advances have encouraged Carondelet to begin a new phase of its technology program. In 2012-2013 freshman students, and all other students who wish, will participate in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
Even though computers were first introduced to Carondelet in 1983, the 1:1 laptop program is a significant milestone for technology at Carondelet. Students will have 24/7 access to information on the Internet. They will be able create projects which include images, audio and video, as well as traditional written work. The 1:1 laptop program will change how students are taught and how they learn.
Preparing for the launch of the 1:1 laptop program did not happen overnight. It began in 1983 when the first Radio Shack TRS 80’s and Commodore Pets arrived at Carondelet. Then, in 1993, two classrooms were converted to computer labs. Each lab contained a class set of networked IBM diskless workstations running the DOS operating system. The programs included WordPerfect and the latest in IBM educational software.
By 1997 the labs were obsolete and had fallen into disuse. Sr. Kathleen Lang, then principal of Carondelet, hired a technology coordinator and told him that she wanted cutting edge technology brought to Carondelet. The process began with upgrades to existing workstations, followed by installation of MS Windows and MS Office. During the following decade Carondelet invested well over a million dollars in a school wide network.
This has brought us to both wired and wireless networking backed by a blade server system with terabytes of storage. Every teacher now has a laptop and there are over 400 student workstations and laptops on campus. Every classroom is equipped with a projector and sound system.
Training for administration, teachers, and staff has been ongoing. They are using PowerSchool, our student information system, Moodle, our course management system, and a variety of software applications. Teachers have become adept in using email and have participated in online curriculum mapping.
The Carondelet web site, which first went online in 1997 with seven pages, is now professionally designed, has hundreds of pages and receives over 5000 visits each day. The site contains calendars, news, information and links. It exemplifies how technology has become a vital part of Carondelet culture.
Initiation of the Carondelet 1:1 laptop program is the culmination of a vision begun nearly three decades ago. This program will open new opportunities for both teachers and students to discover how to use the vast quantity of information available on the Internet. It will provide them with tools to demonstrate their understanding and creativity. The 1:1 laptop program is a key element in achieving our goal of making all Carondelet students lifelong learners.