Technology leading the way

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 31, 2009

By David Vitrano

This is part three in a series examining some of the new facilities and resources that will be available to the students of St. John Parish for the upcoming school year.

EDGARD—People driving along La. Highway 3127 in Edgard past West St. John High School will not notice any shiny new additions to the school’s campus. Improvements to the school’s athletic facilities are not slated to begin for a number of months. But students at that institution likely will notice changes as soon as the first bell rings on Aug. 6.

According to Shayla Guidry, instructional technology master teacher, recent additions to the school’s curriculum reflect the changing attitudes and sensibilities of modern students.

“We’re just trying to incorporate more technology,” she said.

The library currently is being converted to a multimedia center. As such, 10 brand new iMac computers along with a number of standard Dell PCs have recently joined the multitude of books in the school’s resource center.

The computers will be used in the Multimedia Production class being offered to juniors and seniors at the school. According to Guidry, who along with librarian Lonnie Gaines will be aiding the students in their multimedia endeavors, the class will incorporate programs such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro as students learn to create and edit their own movies. The creations of the students will be aired during morning announcements, said Guidry.

The class will be offered during first period; the rest of the day the computer stations will be available for use by the general student population and teachers.

Just down the hall, business teacher Linda Bailey was pulling the dust covers off rows of PCs, which will be used in her Digital Media class. Students enrolled in that class will learn the ins and outs of Adobe Creative Suite and produce different media projects for the benefit of West St. John.

Although these represent the only formal classes being offered using the new technology, Guidry was optimistic about the program.

“Hopefully it will expand as more students become interested in this field,” she said.

At the high school, teachers will be learning how to better incorporate smart boards into their daily lesson plans. Guidry recently completed a training program offered by Promethean and will pass what she learned on to her colleagues.

Furthermore, half of her days will be spent at West St. John Elementary School, where she will use various programs to stoke the younger students’ interest in technology and create a more interactive learning atmosphere.

Students today have grown up with computers and similar technology and the recent efforts by administrators and faculty are an effort to seek some common ground.

“If we don’t meet them where they already are, they’ll get bored,” said Guidry.