Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Education

Academy of Holy Names makes another smart investment

TAMPA — Patricia Sandoval, a 10th-grader at Academy of the Holy Names, slid her finger down a screen projected on a classroom wall and touched a photo of the Soviet Union satellite Sputnik to make it bigger.

Sputnik's launch in 1957 pushed the United States to develop similar technology, Patricia and classmate Clarisse Ramos explained. The space race was on.

Across the room, Olivia Kirkpatrick used a green dry erase marker to write notes from Patricia and Clarisse's presentation on a whiteboard table she shared with three other students. When she was done, she took a picture of the notes with an iPad and sent them to the rest of the group. Then she wiped the table clean with an eraser.

Welcome to Art Raimo's contemporary history class, where students recently used the school's new Collaborative Learning Lab to present projects they've worked on together.

The lab is a classroom 2.0 of sorts, equipped with five SMART projectors connected to their own multimedia computer, five whiteboard tables and 25 ergonomic SteelcaseNode chairs.

"This is one classroom where (students are) allowed to write on the desks and the walls," said Raimo, who is also the school's president.

Each SMART projector casts a 4- by 6-foot image from the computer on the wall, which students can write over with their fingers or special pens. As of last year, students in grades 5-12 had their own iPads, and an AirServer allows up to six of these tablets to stream content on the wall.

The whiteboard tables, custom-designed for the school, are giant dry erase boards that can be combined for larger collaboration. The chairs are ergonomic and have castors that allow them to be moved easily.

The $25,000 lab, which the school paid for out of its operating budget, was completed at the beginning of the school year. It's based on the Technology Enabled Active Learning classroom at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is meant to foster collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.

Raimo calls the lab an investment in students.

Studies have shown that students score higher and retain what they learn better in these types of environments, said Erica Oakhill, instructional technology specialist for Academy of the Holy Names' elementary school.

"Having that collaboration is what is key," she said.

Technology is a big part of learning at Academy of the Holy Names, and like the Soviet Union's Sputnik at the time, the school's fully wireless campus is cutting edge. In addition to putting iPads in the hands of middle and high school students, the school has provided them to first- through fourth-grade classrooms. Prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms use SMART tables, and all classrooms have SMART boards.

"It's not just window dressing," Raimo said. "It really is becoming more and more ingrained in the culture here. It's going to assist these students in their learning. That's what it's all about."

Teachers are encouraged to use the technology that's available to them in their classrooms in addition to their lectures. They can supplement learning by having their students complete projects in the Collaborative Learning Lab.

The lab is available to middle and high school classes, and it's typically used every day, said Deborah Collins, instructional technology specialist for Academy of the Holy Names' high school. A sixth-grade class participated in the Sally Ride Science EarthKAM program, which allows students to request images from the International Space Station. A 10th-grade history class used the Flowboard app to create digital magazines. A seventh-grade social studies class used Minecraft to create a Jamestown colony.

In each project, the teachers were able to serve as mentors and encourage students to think critically.

"It engages the students on a deeper level," Collins said.

Raimo said the school might create a second lab next year if there's a demand for it.

This month, Raimo's class divided into five groups to collaborate on their history projects. Each group chose a topic from a list Raimo provided and used their textbooks to gather information. Then they created presentations with various Internet and computer platforms. Monday was presentation day.

Patricia, Clarisse and another student in their group who was absent Monday used Pinterest to illustrate industrialization during the Cold War. They showed pictures of space exploration, old computers and biological advancements.

Natalie Cevallos, Remi Storch and Isabella Alfonso's topic was Africa. They moved seamlessly in their presentation from a PowerPoint list of the 10 most endangered African animals to a YouTube video chronicling 90 days in the life of an African woman with AIDS.

"Why is AIDS still an issue in Africa when everywhere else it seems to be under control?" Raimo asked, pushing the group to think critically.

The students decided that other areas of the world are better educated and practice safer sex.

But as most Catholics are opposed to contraception, Raimo pointed out, Catholic missionaries have a dilemma.

"For us Catholics, there's a real issue there, isn't there?" he pondered. "This is an ethical question that we as Catholics have to answer."

Another group whose topic was social and economic challenges used the iMovie app to create a video in which they acted out natural disasters and abuses of human rights, such as apartheid.

Still another group used maps to show weapons programs in various countries. Jayne McLaughlin, Olivia Kirkpatrick, Sara Chowdhari and Caroline Yount had finalized their project together on their iPads from their respective homes. They agreed that they've been impressed by the technology in the lab.

"It's really easy to use," Sara said. "It gives you more opportunities to collaborate with your group."

It has also changed the way students work in groups.

"Instead of one person working on it the night before like it usually is, we can collaborate," Patricia said.

She and Clarisse agreed they like using the new lab overall.

"It's a lot more interactive," Patricia said. "It just has this vibe. You want to do more in here."

Comments
Hillsborough teachers hope to get some, but not all of their raise money

Hillsborough teachers hope to get some, but not all of their raise money

TAMPA — Teachers in Hillsborough County came closer on Wednesday to reaching an agreement with the school district that would give them most, but not all of the pay they expected this past year.The deal, if it happens, will end a year-long conflict t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

NEW PORT RICHEY — The line snaked through the hallways and into the cafeteria, as the Ridgewood High faithful waited for their chance to secure a piece of the school’s 40-year history.They came by the hundreds — current and former students, staff and...
Published: 05/23/18
Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

TAMPA — The pain of the Parkland shootings Feb. 14 was fresh on the minds of Hillsborough County’s graduating seniors when about 300 of them received an assignment. Write a 250-word essay on how decades of school shootings have touched y...
Published: 05/23/18
Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

WEEKI WACHEE — A 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday on allegations that she created a fake social media post threatening to shoot students at Weeki Wachee High School, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said the 16-year-old told...
Published: 05/22/18
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Hooper: SEL lends a solution to the increasingly toxic world of kids

An incident recently arose between students at Jesuit High School and Academy of the Holy Names that involved allegations of cyberbullying, homophobia, misogyny and assault.It only involved a fraction of the students at two of Tampa’s most prestigiou...
Updated: 6 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18