Avon Maitland Announces One to One iPAD Project
When we launched our new strategic plan over a year ago, we knew that education in our system was going to begin to look quite different than in the past.
Reading, writing and mathematics have always been emphasized but we are now focusing on some broader outcomes for students: communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. These competencies have been identified as critical when preparing students for life after school. While nothing will replace the importance of good teaching, technology has a role to play in helping students improve in these broad areas.
To this end, we are beginning a project in two areas of our district to see if putting a device in the hands of every student will accelerate our movement toward competency in these five key areas. Today I am announcing our first ever one-to-one project in the following schools: MDHS, Clinton PS, Hullett Central PS, Seaforth PS and Huron Centennial PS. We are beginning with Grades 7s and 8s with a little variation from school to school. It is our intention to move into Grade 9 in September. The iPADs will be assigned to each student with the expectation that they use them at school and at home as much as possible.
Our plan is to work with the school, its teachers and support staff and move toward a model where the iPAD is the predominant teaching and learning tool in the classroom. We are committed to providing as much PD as the teacher and support staff need to make sure we are getting the greatest possible benefit from the investment. We are tremendously excited about the potential that this project has to transform teaching and learning in Avon Maitland, as we continue to engage, inspire and innovate so that we are “Always Learning”.
It will increase student engagement, allowing students to dig deeper, make more connections with their work, and explore global perspectives. It has the potential to positively impact our environmental footprint as we move to a paperless practice.
It has often been said that education today must prepare students for an uncertain future. Many future jobs do not yet exist and our future job force will be required to use technologies that have yet to be invented to solve problems that haven’t yet emerged.
When many of us were in school, it was about the acquisition of knowledge and its application. Today, students are able to access any information from multiple perspectives in mere seconds. They are able to speak with classes in other countries and have their ideas translated into any language at the touch of a button. They are able to speak with experts in any field, anywhere around the globe. Technology has had a profound impact on education. We are now focusing on the development of the 21st century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, communication and problem solving, embedding these skills into our daily classroom practice.
Students will have the opportunity to collaborate as they work across the desk from each other, across the country while on a family vacation or while lying at home too ill to be at school, but well enough to work a little, through text, voice, or video. Student-created work can be instantly shared with peers, teachers, or the world to elicit feedback and demonstrate mastery of concepts. Student electronic learning portfolios can provide parents with real-time updates on their child’s work.
The days of a bulging backpack may be gone forever! Students can access assignments, lessons, reference materials, and class notes using one device, creating and completing their work on that same device. It will be possible to have the knowledge contained in every textbook available instantly, anywhere.
There will be celebrations and growing pains as we learn together how to best leverage the power of this learning tool. Our commitment to our students is unwavering. Students and teachers will be impacted and both will learn together as we prepare our students to confidently take their place in the world of tomorrow. The potential is endless and only limited by our imagination as we ask, “What if…?”