2011-02-04 / School News

Xaverian Partners With Apple

When Xaverian High School opened its doors in 1957, the mission of the school was to present an elite curriculum of science and math to New York’s most academically gifted young men. The Xaverian Brothers selected the brightest and most talented of their own community as the faculty of their newest school. Within a month of the school’s opening, the launching of the Soviet satellite, Sputnik, challenged America’s space program; bringing to bear the foresight of the Brothers.

Throughout its history, Xaverian has remained at the forefront of education; embracing the newest technologies, offering the most innovative curriculum and employing the most qualified, creative teachers. In the 1990s, Xaverian’s Technology Center was the envy of many colleges. As the 21st century dawned, Xaverian was the first school in the city to install Smartboards and wireless computing into its classrooms. Today, in an era featuring smart phones and laptop computers that have more power than those used by NASA to put the first man on the moon, Xaverian’s faculty and students have become digital denizens, incorporating this technology into the daily curriculum.

“These signs of our time point to a new paradigm in education,” notes Xaverian principal, Deacon Kevin Mc- Cormack, himself a skilled user and advocate of computer technology. “The future will not reward passive receivers of information. It will demand that successful students be both active and creative. This is why Xaverian has embraced the model of a one-to-one computing strategy through tablet computers.” In a relationship with Apple Computers, Xaverian will launch the use of Apple iPads, beginning with the entire incoming Class of 2015.

According to McCormack, the iPad was selected for its proven technological abilities; among them a large highly responsive multi-touch screen with a high resolution LED display as well as the portability of its sturdy, thin and lightweight design. In addition to offering the many capabilities of smart phones and laptop computers, there are more than 15,000 applications that are specific to learning. From Dictionary and Thesaurus to the Periodic Table of the Elements, the list is enormous and growing.

At Xaverian, iPads have already been put to use by some students using them to take notes in class. Perhaps, the most commonly noted benefit by the students is the iPad’s ability to organize; helping them track assignments and tests. Annemarie Gregorio, a writing teacher and iPad user, described the students’ improvement in focus and productivity as, “remarkable.” “Not only do they more rapidly jot down notes and add ideas to their to-do lists, they are able to look up facts on the fly.”

As more and more books become available electronically, they also become less expensive. E-book textbooks will soon offset the price of the hardware, prompting some universities to explore the replacement of paper textbooks. Many experts have even predicted that, in just a few years, publications will no longer be static; instead, containing video, animation and sound.

Robert Alesi, Xaverian president and Class of 1978 alumnus, is a former math and computer teacher now in his 28th year at the school. “This shift in computing strategy is an opportunity to give our students a significant advantage and increase their level of success. In my experience, it’s always felt very natural for Xaverian to be part of the new frontier of learning. It has always been our tradition to be pathfinders charting a new course into unexplored regions.”

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