Catholic Schools Week

Chalkboards give way to new technology

Bishop Dunne Catholic School students work on their laptops in a technology classroom while waiting to get picked up after school Jan. 14. JENNA TETER/The Texas Catholic

Bishop Dunne Catholic School students work on their laptops in a technology classroom while waiting to get picked up after school Jan. 14. JENNA TETER/The Texas Catholic

By Jeff Miller
Special to The Texas Catholic

While journalism evolves away from print, students at Bishop Dunne Catholic School are still eager to see photos of themselves and their friends in the monthly Falcon Flyer.

And Assistant Editor Christopher Martin says the newspaper staff uses the latest in communication technology to its advantage.

“We interview people through Facebook, take polls,” said Martin, a senior who has been accepted to Stanford University. “Everyone is so much more likely to look for something on a computer now, but we try to make it a little more appealing.”

In the December issue, Features Editor Lauren Hanks’ review of holiday movies included images of the promotional posters – and her ratings system topped by five gingerbread cookies.

So much of communication at Dunne with students, parents and alumni has gone virtual since the school went wireless last fall. But Principal Patrick O’Sullivan stresses the core goal remains stated in the phrases that greet Dunne students every day as they arrive (Enter to Learn) and depart (Go Forth to Serve).

“It’s part of our Catholic identity,” O’Sullivan said. “We need to share this.”

The Falcon Flyer will eventually go totally online, once rules in the annual school newspaper competition run by the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools allow for no print version.

The weekly communiqué with parents, The Friday Falconer, is now online only.

Dunne produces the semi-annual glossy magazine “Connections” for alumni and community awareness.
Textbooks and chalkboards are gone at Dunne, replaced by laptops and interactive SMARTboards.

The administration has new ways for alerts such as weather postponements: e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and the school Web site. (They still show up on the morning TV crawl.)

“They have challenged us to up the bar,” said Christine Voigt, the school’s instructional technology coordinator.

“To them, technology is just second nature. It’s more of an adjustment for parents.”

Freelance writer Jeff Miller lives in DeSoto.