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‘Technology Day’ to replace annual ed institute
Teachers to gather for Mass of the Holy Spirit Aug. 21.
A shift in the format of the annual diocesan education institute this fall will result in more than 40 “mini institutes” to be held Oct. 26 at multiple locations throughout the diocese. The new event — called Technology Day — will replace the larger gathering held at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington for more than 30 years, and it will focus on how educators can best use technological advancements in the classroom.
“We just wanted to try something new, something different,” said Beth Roach, vice superintendent for Catholic schools. “(The educators have) never really had any hands-on training offered by us … for technology, so this is our first attempt at something like that. If it works, it might be something we do again.”
In previous years, the education institute was comprised of Mass, a keynote speaker and dozens of sessions on a wide range of topics. The catalyst for the format change occurred when organizers decided to put the annual liturgy for educators — previously held at the October institute — at the start of the school year, said Sister Bernadette McManigal, superintendent of schools. This year’s Mass of the Holy Spirit was to be held Aug. 21 at All Saints Church in Manassas and will be celebrated by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde.
“Rather than have this liturgy at the end of October, we decided we wanted to start the year with that,” Sister Bernadette said. “We wanted to put more emphasis on the liturgy.”
“It’s nice to have it before school starts,” Roach added. “It’s kind of a spiritual preparation for the year” — and especially poignant as the Year of Faith begins Oct. 11.
In addition, Mary McDonald, former superintendent for the Diocese of Memphis, Tenn., will speak on her faith journey following the liturgy.
The focus on technology education was something requested by many teachers, Roach said, and the Schools Office hopes to have eight different sites offering multiple three-hour sessions where teachers can learn about different technological issues. Roach anticipates the groups to be mostly small — approximately 30 people for some hands-on labs — but plans are still in flux. Topics include PowerPoint for educators, a robotics workshop and incorporating iPads into the classrooms.
“A lot of the presenters are our own people, our own teachers who have this expertise who are sharing it with their colleagues,” Roach said.
Though many teachers have access to technology at their schools, they are still hesitant to embrace it for learning, Roach said. She hopes October’s Technology Day will help solve some of those concerns.
“I hope it’s going to help them use technology to improve instruction and expose them to different things that they might not have been exposed to before,” she said.