Sister Kristin Hokanson, Principal, Notre Dame Virtual School: The Notre Dame Virtual School, which was founded in 2001, was inspired by St. Julie’s quote: “In the schools teach whatever is necessary for life.” In today’s world, a solid understanding of technology and how to use technological resources is absolutely necessary for life. The virtual school continues to update its mission by educating students and Sisters with the latest trends in technology. NDVS uses technology to further the Mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in new and diverse ways in their schools. A special focus of the virtual school is Digital Citizenship, and NDVS uses the resources of the International Society of Technology in Education to implement the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship organized by the principles of respect, educate, and protect.
Each week, NDVS sends a mailing to schools with a wide variety of resources on technology, prayer and liturgy, and Catholic social teaching. A prominent focus this year is the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. Each month a Global Goal is selected as a focus, and resources are available on Notre Dame Online.
NDVS networks the Notre Dame Schools through a variety of ways which include videoconferencing, coordinating web exchanges, using social media, professional development and participating in Notre Dame sponsored conferences. Through this networking, schools and sponsored ministries share with each other the ways in which they live the Notre Dame charism, and a virtual community is created. 2016 GPS Participants
Notre Dame Virtual School has assisted Notre Dame Academy (NDA) in Worcester, Massachusetts with the coordination of two special programs: the Global Perspective Studies (GPS) program and the Digital Citizenship programs. Through the World Language Department, GPS offers NDA students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of world cultures. The aspects of this program are: world language study, connection with other Notre Dame schools foreign and domestic, cultural contact, curriculum integration, service, travel, and a summative portfolio/reflection. Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate upon graduation, which is noted on the final transcript.
NDA’s Digital Citizenship Program is required of all first-year students and teaches the nine elements of digital citizenship: Access, Commerce, Communication, Etiquette, Law, Rights and Responsibilities, Health and Wellness, and Security. Students learn detailed issues in technology that are important for them to be global citizens. At the completion of the program, students earn a Digital Citizenship Certificate, demonstrating competency in the appropriate and responsible use of technology. Some students also go on to earn their Digital Citizenship Driver’s License, which indicates an advanced level of knowledge about these important issues.
Through both of these program, NDA Worcester and NDVS prepare students to become more aware of the challenges of our constantly evolving world.