An Archdiocese capital campaign called Ignite the Faith has allowed local elementary schools to update the technology in their classrooms.
Sara Hood is the technology integration specialist for the Omaha Catholic School Consortium which includes five local schools working together. She said, "for us to be competitive and get our kids to the very top of the game we had to do it differently." She says they needed to upgrade their technology.
This is their second year with iPads and Chrome Books. She says they've seen an improvement in test scores but also in students' attitudes, "our kids are excited, they're engaged, they're ready to come in, and you can see it when you look in this classroom. They're ready, they're excited to go."
Ali Dibelka is the media center specialist at St. Peter and Paul. She used to be the librarian but she joined forces with the technology teacher to create a combined class. The students work in small groups. They're assigned to different work stations. "One group is doing a real world application, another group is designing a cartoon, another group is making an iMovie trailer about their favorite book, there's another group that's coding," Dibelka said.
Teachers and technology experts say the technology can also free up a teacher's time in front of the classroom so he or she can move throughout the room and work with students in a more individualized way.
Dibelka says the upgrades make instructors excited about the future, "what can we do new next year? What can we constantly add on every year to keep these kids wanting to come down here that's different than their classrooms?"