Technology helping preschoolers

Butler Catholic preschool teacher Shannan Dorcy talks about how iPads enrich her students’ education.

While student-teacher relationships remain at the heart of an education at Butler Catholic, a new technology initiative is helping to transform learning.

Students in grades K-8 each have use of Google Chromebooks, and preschoolers began using iPads last week. Although the plan had been in the works, the timing was perfect due to remote learning needed for COVID-19 restrictions. The school building reopened January 11.

“We felt iPads would be easier for the little ones, said Sister John Ann Mulhern, principal. “Technology is important to ensure our students are prepared for leadership roles in the years to come.”

The school held a fundraising drive for the technology initiative and secured grants. Parents also pay a technology fee. Sister John Ann said they are supportive because they see the benefits.

Ashley Gapinski’s daughter Kylie caught onto the new tablet right away.

“Her face just lit up seeing her teacher and classmates on the screen,” Gapinski said. “The touch screen is easier to use than a mouse. If we have to go back to remote learning, I think the iPad will help keep her engaged.”

Kylie Gapinski uses her new iPad at home.

Preschool teacher Shannan Dorcy said she would like to use the new technology to enhance work in the classroom as well.

“We teach classes in language arts, math and science,” she said. “It allows us to assign activities, look at assignments and watch videos.

“I believe it will help our students long-term,” Dorcy said. “It’s easier for parents to give their child an iPad and let them play with it. It’s attractive without them realizing they’re learning.”

One of the greatest benefits of educational technology is increased collaboration. Students working in teams can share documents and work on group projects at the same time whether at home or school. Teachers post supplemental materials and allow students to interact with class notes.

Technology also increases the ease of communication between teachers and parents on class attendance, assignments, schedules and grades.

“The iPads are a fantastic addition to an already fully enriched education,” Gapinski said.

Sevren (left) and his twin sister Syvette Mesanko with their iPads.