Villa Maria Academy’s Technology Department is always looking to enhance the curriculum and resources for our students. The department provides opportunities for classroom teachers and students by offering new instructional technology equipment, training, and friendly, knowledgeable support to enable students, staff, and parents, to succeed in the digital age. Campus wide technology supports both Windows and Macintosh platforms, although all open computer labs and library utilize Windows 7 Professional operating systems. Macintosh platform machines are prevalent in the Fine Arts and Graphic Design areas for students. New technologies introduced to Villa include Virtual Reality devices, enhanced Wifi, google suite applications, adobe and microsoft applications and convenience technologies like online library resources, cafeteria point of sale and online document storage.
Student Device Access
VMA’s three main computer labs—one in St. Joseph Hall and two in Regina Mundi Hall—provide students with excellent opportunities for hands-on learning through academic studies and tech club activities. In addition, both the Library and study hall have over 18 computers for student and faculty use. Our newly launched Lynch Design Lab (117 Lab) affords our students the ability to create 3D projects, use lasercutters to enhance their work, code and create apps as well as collaborate on innovative projects for their coursework.
All Students are required to have a charged iPad for daily work as needed in their subject ares. iPads provide an equitable solution for all students. By standardizing on iPads, all students will not only have a small, lightweight device to access web and academic tools, but will also be able to collaborate easily with students and teachers with collaborative apps and social media projects within the scope of the curriculum. Some students still choose to bring a laptop for presentations or collaborative work, but it is not required as google drive space and cloud storage options exist for all our students.
The Technology Department employs three full-time staff members. The full-time positions include the Director of Technology, a Staff Academic Technology Support Specialist and Network Admin. We also work with the Computer Science Teacher who administers the Design Lab technologies and coursework to offer all students a 21st Century look at new technologies in education and the workplace.
Teaching with Technology
All classroom teachers have laptop computers, iPads, interactive whiteboards, and projectors with amplified ceiling speakers to assist them with presentations and productivity. Most teachers regularly use these tools to access the Internet, connect with students via Villa email, Schoology postings and Google docs, post homework on their course web pages, or give relevant presentations. All teachers use SMART Boards and some are using interactive handheld response devices (clickers) or iPad/smartphone apps, document cameras, and multimedia apps. An electronic gradebook, which interfaces with our student records system, PowerSchool, is used for live grade reports. iPads are used by teachers and students to research, create content, and simplify workflow of homework and projects for grading and presentation, all in our efforts to go mostly paperless.
All of our teachers are attending a variety of training sessions as departments, independently or one-on-one with our staff specialist to further their technology learning in the classroom.
New Technologies on campus
We have new convenience technologies on campus including a payment plan portal for activities and cafeteria sales and a new online forms area (launching Spring 2019) for re-enrollment. My Payments Plus is a portal where parents can put monies on account for lunch/store snack purchases and even sign up for school activites requiring a fee, like a field trip or Prom. All families are encouraged to create an account on mypaymentsplus and link a card to the system for these transactions. Students are given a keycard/ID with a barcode matching their student ID for use with the cafeteria purchases. Information comes home at the beginning of the year on the system and any updates that benefit our families.
Online forms (launching March 2019) will allow all families to use the PS Parent Portal or our website to update their demographic information and acknowledge consent on a variety of topics. Parents will have an information update button attached to their Parent Portal for changes that may need to be made each year as they re-enroll their daughter.
CONNECTING to the VILLAMOBILE WIFI network
Wifi bandwidth and access has been simplified and expanded on campus. Students connect to their villamobile wifi connection using the Google Mail app or by downloading the Google Device Policy App and installing that app on their phones and ipads.
Once the Google Device Policy app is installed, a student simply chooses to Villamobile and they are connected each time they come to campus with their device.
If using GMail or Drive app instead, the student uses their Villa email and password to validate their connection and selects villamobile as the wifi choice.
Guest access is available for student laptops but virus protection is required and the access on Guest is a 24 hour access, renewable daily.
Villamobile is a wifi network available daily and does not expire during their four years at Villa. For questions about Wifi connectivity, please contact the tech department at firstname.lastname@example.org.