The Trillium Lakelands District School Board is hoping to receive funding to keep bringing technology to Haliburton County classrooms. Dianna Scates is the Superintendent of Elementary and Secondary Operations and ICT and she says technology has become a part of the curriculum in the schools, not just an add-on. The school board continues to work at developing ways to integrate technology into every grade and subject to make sure their students have the skills they need to continue into post-secondary education or careers. Part of the reason they started using technology in the classroom was to meet students in their technological world. Scates says one of the benefits they’ve noticed is an authentic student engagement. The ultimate goal is to develop engaged and lifelong learners, says Scates. The use of technology with help to enhance critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, innovation and communication in students.
It’s about more than just the students
Scates also says it’s more than just the students, the school board gives teachers the opportunity to be creative and develop their own ideas on ways to use technology in the classroom. She says every year, the school board sets aside $100,000 – $150,000 to support these teachers in their ideas to benefit students. An innovative project through TLDSB has been picked up in other areas, says Scates, which is the Earn-a-Laptop program. Teachers are given the opportunity to participate in training outside of regular school hours to learn about emerging technologies and tools to use in education. They’re then given a laptop to help develop and use these tools through their teaching.
The learning goes beyond the classroom
In the past four years, 16 technology projects have been implemented in Haliburton County schools. “It’s important to us to make sure that if we believe technology is important, that it’s also accessible for students,” says Scates. She says it’s more than just classroom learning though. Through the use of technology, Scates explains that they want their children to be good digital citizens. They are trying to teach the student that they need to put their best foot forward when it comes to their digital footprint because it will be there forever, so it needs to be respectful.
Funding announcement to come soon
The province of Ontario recently announced funding will be made available to enhance programs like this in Ontario schools. Scates says she’s hoping the funding will combine an investment in both hardware and the educators. She says they’re hoping to hear by the end of October.