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Teacher Nick Yochum advanced the teleprompter as eighth-grade students Zaria Watson and Graham Kelly recorded an interview in the new video studio of the Innovation Lab at St. Monica school in Creve Coeur March 1.
Teacher Nick Yochum advanced the teleprompter as eighth-grade students Zaria Watson and Graham Kelly recorded an interview in the new video studio of the Innovation Lab at St. Monica school in Creve Coeur March 1.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

School’s new recording studio enhances education

St. Monica student: ‘Technology expands learning in a big way’

Nick Yochum assisted the two eighth-graders as they scrolled the teleprompter in the new recording studio at St. Monica School. Then, Graham Kelly and Zaria Watson went to work on their own.

The outcome: an interview-style video introducing the St. Monica School community to a new STREAM studio and innovation lab. A nice job, but so far Lester Holt’s job is safe as host of NBC Nightly News.

The project, including their new recording studio, was a result of a grant from the Beyond Sunday Education Fund of the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri. St. Monica was among 40 schools and Parish Schools of Religion that received $757,000 in grants last May.

Eighth-gradeer Graham Kelly adjusted the teleprompter to record an interview at St. Monica School.
Photo Credits: Lisa Johnston
The school in Creve Coeur used part of the funds to purchase a camera, teleprompter, lights, software and microphone. The studio was completed after Christmas break.

Students will create scripts and record themselves. It helps with creativity, public speaking, writing and collaboration. The lab is intended for students in fourth through eighth grades.

Yochum, the innovation lab teacher, said the lab will be used for daily announcements, a report on the saint of the day, morning prayer, videos and more. A few other Catholic grade schools are doing some recording and broadcasting efforts, but the St. Monica setup is among the most elaborate.

Students are curious, he said. “It’s brand-new technology to them. They’re figuring it out and are cautious when they’re recording. But they seem to be enjoying it as well as the other technology and other equipment we’ve pursued this year. It’s been a big upgrade for the entire school.”

Graham, whose favorite classes are science and innovation lab, served as the interviewer on the video he and Zaria made. “We talked about all the new things we were able to purchase because of the Beyond Sunday grant that we are very grateful to have received,” Graham said. “Technology expands learning in a big way.”

It was a good experience and went well considering it was his first time using the recording technology, he said.

Zaria, whose favorite subjects are science and history, said the experience will prepare her for challenges she’ll face in high school and beyond. In the video, they discussed how they’re using the new equipment and how their teachers are assisting them. She later added that it’s still good to pick up a book every once in a while.

Both students appreciate that their school weaves their faith into their everyday life. “We explore our faith in the classroom and outside of our classrooms as well,” Zaria said.

Joe Wientge, a parent of students in kindergarten, third and fifth grades at St. Monica, said his children come home excited to talk about the technology and how they work it into their regular assignments. The TV studio is a big plus for the older students, Wientge said, “giving them a level of responsibility and creativity with appropriate guidance.”

The STREAM Studio enables kindergarten through eighth-grade students to do hands-on projects and real-life applications in science, technology, religion, engineering, art and math (STREAM). The lab includes a 3-D printer. Students have new iPads and Chromebooks.

St. Monica principal Tammi Rohman said “instead of teaching about technology, we are using technology to learn. We went from having a computer lab to having this innovation lab that uses technology to enhance learning.”

On March 5 St. Monica School held a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the studio and lab.

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