BY KATHY CHANG
METUCHEN — When kindergarteners at St. Francis Cathedral School started touching the computer screens on the desktop computers in the Technology Lab two years ago, it prompted the move for the school to purchase touchscreen computers.
Laura Graziano, technology coordinator at the Pre-K-8 school, said with the students exposed to touch screen tablets and iPhones at a young age, it’s important for the school to offer the same experience in the school setting.
“Our goal is to prepare and equip them with the knowledge so when they leave here, they will have the knowledge of what Windows is, what Apple iOS is [and more],” she said.
The 452 students will be able to utilize the 28 new all-in-one desktops that include an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabyte of Random Access Memory (RAM), 64-bit operating system and a 19.5 inch LCD touch screen during computer class with technology teacher Laura Hopkins.
Graziano and Hopkins said the students are excited and anxious for the new computers.
Along with the all-in-one desktops, the district is introducing Windows netbooks for the fifth-grade students.
The fifth-grade netbooks, comprised of an Intel processor, 4 gigabyte of RAM and solid state drive (SSD), are configured for in-classroom use to support student learning in all areas, including Windows applications and Google Apps for Education.
The third and fourth-graders will also be able to utilize netbooks in the classroom.
Hopkins said two summers ago, they rewired the technology lab in anticipation of the touchscreen desktop computers.
Wi-Fi technology runs throughout the entire school, which now includes the gymnasium to enable the students in afterschool care to do their homework on Google applications, school officials said.
Other new technology tools that will be utilized in the curriculum this year will be 3D printers that the school received last spring.
Graziano and Hopkins said the 3D printers will be instrumental in continuing to grow the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program.
To keep up with the 21st century learning, Graziano and Hopkins said it could not be done without working with St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral parish and the parents.
The Home School Association holds an annual tricky tray fundraiser. Last school year, the group raised more than $172,000 of funds that go directly into the school budget.
Hopkins said the constant changes in technology can be the most thrilling and the most intimidating at the same time.
“A lot of research, implementation, training and training among ourselves,” she said.
Graziano said she also is subscribed to digital publications and several New Jersey professional association chapters that keep them abreast of the constant changes.