The Catholic News Service reports that Students in Catholic schools across the United States have been the beneficiaries of stewardship initiatives by the Catholic Church to use technology for good. The equipment hasn’t been cheap but regional churches have made concerted efforts to raise funds to get Catholic schools modern technological equipment. The result is that the tech has revolutionized how student learn.
In Portland, Oregon - St. John Fisher Catholic school officials joined forces with E-NABLE, a worldwide network of volunteers who use their design skills and 3-D printers to develop free prosthetic hands for people in need. The result of the collaboration was an after-school program for eighth graders who volunteered to create artificial limbs for children of families who couldn’t afford to provide one otherwise. Eighth grade student Rosali Patterson says she values creating the prosthetics because, “Some kid is going to use this to pick something up,” and that “could really change someone’s life. It’s a hand they didn’t have before.”
In Nebraska, the Archdiocese of Omaha raised monies to fund Chromebooks, iPads, 3-D printers, and fiber-optic cables. At St. Bernadette’s School in Bellevue, Nebraska, students filled education boxes for needy students in other countries and were able to see some of the students open them via the schools new tech. Principal Lynn Schultz said, “It made it a little more real for them to see kids who were far away and didn’t have as much as they do.”
In Hawaii, the superintendent of Hawaii Catholics Schools says that elementary schools are using tech to “help students master basic skills and provide individualized learning through a diagnostic-prescriptive learning approach.” Then when the students enter high school, the technology is used to “support academic achievement and the growth in life skills, career skills, and skills related to life-long learning.”
At St. Elizabeth School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Catholic third graders used tech to compete in the World Math Competition with students in Canada, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Australia, and the Dominican Republic.
Suzanne Till, director of the Mater Dei Academy of Science at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista, California, uses tech to help students “study biomedical science, environmental chemistry, big data science, nanotechnology and other disciplines by working with our partners in San Diego’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) community and experiencing science in action."
According to the CNS, when Till started in 2012, the program had 30 participants. Today, it has 220 students and it is still growing.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Do you think that students having access to technology is a justice issue?
Q2. What responsibility to you think the church universal has to provide children access to technology?
Q3. What opportunities does access to technology afford an individual in life?