SJA’s technology program helps prepare students for the future. Meeting the needs and challenges of 21st century young women is a primary goal of the program.
In 1994, the academic program was redesigned to ensure that what was being taught helped young women understand information rather than simply recall it. In 1997, St. Joseph’s Academy became a leader in technology integration, introducing a 1:1 laptop program across the learning community.
In the two decades since, SJA has continued to develop programs that impact teaching and learning. The use of technology provides opportunities to enhance the instructional process and raise the level of student learning and performance, producing active, engaged learners who undertake complex and meaningful tasks.
Technology integration begins before an Academy student’s first school day. All incoming freshmen are required to attend a week-long computer orientation course. They receive their tablets, which they image themselves. They are introduced to the various software programs they will use, taught how to access the school network and their email accounts and how to proactively avoid computer viruses. They also learn about internet safety.
Faculty members use the content management software Moodle to enhance each course and allow for online testing and course cohesion. Teachers are given the tools needed to ensure that their classrooms promote active student engagement. Using tools such as E-beams and Microsoft Office 365 to share documents allows for multi-layered student collaboration. Dyknow software allows students to use the playback feature to revisit lessons in order to re-engage with the material outside of the classroom.
The crown jewel of the Academy’s technology program is the student-run Help Desk, which celebrates 18 years of successful operation this year. All tablet maintenance is done onsite by paid student technicians who have undergone a rigorous internship through their computer architecture class. SJA is among the first high schools in the country, and possibly the first all-girls’ school, to implement a 1:1 program fully supported by a student-run repair center.
One of the defining characteristics of the SJA Technology Program is its commitment to service. Students, graduates and tech team members have embarked upon technology-based mission trips to Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad, South Africa and Puerto Rico, establishing computer labs and teaching skills to use and maintain these technology tools.
SJA students, members of the Technology Team and several graduates have worked with two underserved local elementary schools in establishing computer labs and providing school-wide internet access. Outreach efforts have also touched schools and continuing education programs in New Orleans.
SJA receives requests throughout the year to host technology coordinators and educators from across the state. These visitors want to learn about SJA’s successful Help Desk as well as how technology has been integrated across the curriculum.
SJA representatives share success stories at an array of conferences, workshops, roundtable discussions and awards ceremonies throughout the year. When traveling, representatives routinely visit schools in their destination cities to spread the good news about the Academy and its technology-savvy students.