Algoma District School Board Technology in Schools increases to 1:1 Devices for Students in Grade 6 to Grade 10
At Tuesday night’s Algoma District School Board (ADSB) meeting, staff updated the Board of Trustees on the roll out of 1:1 devices for Grade 6 to Grade 10 students in all ADSB schools across the district.
The vision of the Algoma District School Board is to engage learners in innovative experiences that build confident learners, caring citizens. One of the Board’s priorities is to optimize technology use to accelerate learning. Additionally, increasing the learning experiences of our students and enhancing communications through engagement is another high priority of the Board.
In support of this vision, the Board has invested in over 3,000 additional winbooks for students to achieve a 1:1 allocation for all students in Grades 6 to Grade 10. As well, an increased allocation for other grades means an approximate 2:1 ratio for students in Grades 4 & 5 and Grades 11 & 12. This investment will allow students equitable access to help assist in their educational experience within ADSB schools. Younger students in Grades JK to Grade 3 have access to iPads and other tactile based technology.
In the past year, amid unprecedented changes during the pandemic, we experienced an immediate acceleration of advances in technology, which allowed us to pivot to an online delivery of education to our students as needed. Chair of the Board, Jennifer Sarlo, noted, “We commend all our staff and administration for their professionalism and efforts to quickly adapt to delivering online learning and for their remarkable efforts to accommodate students in two modes of learning, during such an unprecedented period in history. We could not be prouder of them and their efforts.”
ADSB staff have also responded in preparation for this initiative to upgrade internet bandwidth at all schools and offices throughout the district, to provide a robust environment that can handle the access required with the increased technology. With this infrastructure upgrade, schools will experience improvements of approximately 5 times the current bandwidth. The Board has also invested in new document cameras and sound systems to support teachers and students within the hybrid learning model, to help bridge the school and home learning experience. Across ADSB, the use of EDSBY, Microsoft Office (Teams) and School Messenger software platforms have increased communications with both students and parents and will continue to play a key role in the Board’s communications into the future.
As a system, and guided in research, we know that technology is neither a solution nor a replacement for good teaching, rather it is an accelerant to learning through good teaching, as well as a tool to assist in preparing our students for success. Director of Education, Lucia Reece, shared that, as with any tool in a classroom, teachers will strike the balance for the use of technology with other learning strategies and modes, noting, “As educators, we play a role in helping students understand balance, as we are also acutely aware of the amount of time children spend on screens. Therefore, we want to model effective use of technology, which includes helping students learn when to use it, how to use it effectively and when and why it’s important to take a break from technology. These are important lessons and messages for their well-being, as technology will continue to be a part of their world, so we must embrace the opportunity to help them become responsible and healthy users.”
Reece also noted that ADSB’s investments in devices and infrastructure will always occur with a focus on enriching opportunities with equitable access to technology for all students, which is a cornerstone of public education.