June 23, 2024

Virtual Interaction Enlivens Classrooms at Ryken High School

Posted by St. Mary’s Ryken High School
Community Buildermisty1

Want to know the weather in the country you’re studying in world cultures class? There’s an app for that. Want a 3-D view inside the human brain? There’s an app for that, too.

And because of that, St. Mary’s Ryken has expanded the role of integrating technology into the curriculum via iPads and accelerated curriculums. As a result, classrooms are more green, students are more engaged and perhaps the best part of using an iPad, said several students, is that there’s not another textbook to lug around – or to forget to bring to class.

Thanks to the new technology,  students are able to, for example, “poke around” inside a 3-D image of the human brain in psychology class, seeing where the frontal lobe and cerebellum are located, and participate in class in new and exciting ways.

To prepare students to take their place in a world that is increasingly global and continually changing, Ryken has developed two unique learning programs – the 1:1 iPad program and X-PAX – and has launched a new website to make it safer and easier for parents and students to find the information they need. The new website site is responsive and multi-device friendly. Whether you access the SMR site from an iPad, computer or mobile phone, the page content will be sized in proportion to the viewing screen. Check it out at www.smrhs.org.

Both the iPads and the Xaverian Programs of Academic Excellence (X-PAX) allow teachers to customize content for the classroom. X-PAX is a highly selective program where advanced students are placed in accelerated curriculum concentrations for a more rigorous course of study. Program concentrations are in Computer Science; STEM-X; Medicine & Health Sciences; Language Arts & Social Sciences; and International Relations & Global Studies.

With iPads students and teachers have the world at their fingertips. And SMR teachers Theresa Wood and Jason Delucco haven’t seen any downside.

“The sheer excitement of having technology in their hands increased their excitement for class,” said Mr. Delucco. “There have been more benefits than problems with the technology. Mainly for me, the iPads save paper. There’s only one day every two weeks that I have to run copies.”

“This generation of high schoolers has grown up with computers and email and gadgets,” said Mrs. Wood. “Engaging students in the classroom had become more challenging. They’re so used to having everything right now.”

Mr. Delucco readily concurs: “Students will search for answers immediately on the iPads if a question comes up.”

The iPad is taking the place of textbooks, notebooks, calculators and paper tests. And, sometimes, it may take the place of raising your hand. Students can answer teacher questions on a survey application and watch as results pour in from their classmates. Don’t get the idea that students keep to themselves and keep their heads down during class; there is still much back-and-forth discussion, according to the two teachers.

“Learning today is image learning, not just lectures and reading,” said Mrs. Wood, “We still have class lectures, though, and a student can record it to listen to later.”

To learn more about St. Mary’s Ryken and to speak with faculty and administrators, plan to attend the Open House on Sunday, Nov. 17 from 12-3 pm. SMR is located at 22600 Camp Calvert Rd., Leonardtown, Md., 20650. You can contact the Admissions Office at 301-373-4183 or via email at [email protected].


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