21st Century Teaching and Learning at Sacred Heart School

We spoke to Principal Richard Campbell about the benefits of adding Chromebooks to classes.

WHAT: With the gracious support of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF), we were able to purchase five of the Chromebooks needed to enhance our Library Learning Commons (LLC) and teaching and learning throughout the school. With additional support from our School Council and matching grant sources, we were able to increase the number of Chromebooks we have to 1.5 class sets. We still have a long way to go as we’d like to be able to have at least two class sets (one for Div. I and one for Div. II), but we feel so blessed to have built our technology to this point!

Our intent with the project has been to continue to develop the Sacred Heart LLC to meet the needs of our students through ‘leading-edge’ learning opportunities. As part of our 3-year-plan, we have been in the process of re-imagining our library to be an updated LLC for a 21st century inquiry-based learning environment that is complete with technology, books and Makerspace building materials.

WHY: Sacred Heart is a small school with a current enrollment of 182 students, serving students from grades K-6 from communities from the west side of the downtown core. The demographics of the school is very diverse. Over 80% of the students are English Language Learners (ELL). The majority of our parents are new to the country and are struggling to meet their own needs in the current economic climate. Many of our students do not have access to technology at home, so having access to the Chromebooks at school is of great benefit to them.

HOW: Teachers incorporate technology into their classroom curriculum on a daily basis. Chromebooks for students means a variety of programs, as well as online access throughout the day – invaluable 21st century inquiry-based teaching and learning tools! Chromebooks have supported our diverse learners in numerous ways – students with learning disabilities can access assistive technology software and ELL students can learn through pictures and visuals. Parents are able to connect with teachers via Google and have immediate access to work that teachers or students have shared with them. Students have been introduced to various sites such as Raz-Kids, Google Read & Write, Translation programs, etc., and for those that have home access, parents are able to encourage their children and support the teaching done at school by allowing students access from home. Students are also able to help parents who don’t speak English because of what they have learned using the translation programs through Google Read & Write or online translators.

TEACHER FEEDBACK:

  • Throughout the year, the 3/4 Girls’ Class has been utilizing the Chromebooks in many different ways to assist their learning and build upon their researching skills. The students use the Chromebooks to research questions, practice their typing skills through Google Docs programs and Creative Online Writers (C.O.W.), Raz-Kids to support their reading online and using the online dictionaries and thesauruses to assist their language learning. During our math lessons, Chromebooks are an exciting and competitive way to practice our learned skills through a program called Kahoot. Students are highly motivated during this time and are consistently engaged. Through religion, social studies and science lessons, the usage of technology supports their learning by researching questions through inquiry-based projects, as well to showcase student presentations and understanding of learned curriculum. During our French programing, students are encouraged to use the online translator to listen to how words are properly pronounced in another language. As teachers in the Calgary Catholic District, we feel that it is extremely important to integrate technology. – 3/4 Girls Classroom Teacher
  • A Chromebook charging cart is housed in our LLC. I can tell you that it is empty all the time! In other words, the Chromebooks are in use every day – and pretty much all day – from all Grades (1-6) either in the library or throughout the school. Receiving these extra five Chromebooks from the CCEF eased the strain of students having to share and also allowed us to designate a couple of Chromebooks in the LLC as a permanent “look up/research” station! – LLC LibrarianSTUDENT FEEDBACK:
  •  Chromebooks have benefitted us through many ways. The people in our generation are so used to using technology, so whenever children like me get to use an electronic device at school, it intrigues us much more than it would if we were doing our schoolwork on paper. It also makes it much easier to correct spelling mistakes and increases the quality of our work. These devices allow us to present our ideas in a variety of ways such as: PowerPoints, documents, videos and much more. We can also use the internet to look up things like specimens of trees and animals. This is also a much quicker way to find synonyms or definitions from a huge range of words. Using the internet has revolutionized the way we think. I feel lucky to be able to use Chromebooks. – Grade 5 Student

HOW THE CCEF HELPED: Thank you for your generous $2,000 grant to Sacred Heart School. We are truly grateful and want you to know how much we appreciate this gift to assist us in creating a more effective LLC and improving our teaching and learning. This project has directly and positively impacted all of our students because we are able to more effectively utilize technology in the LLC and classrooms.

Learn more about donating to the CCEF to help fund meaningful projects and school enhancements that positively impact Calgary Catholic students.