Staff with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board are embracing the use of 21st century technology as a learning tool in classrooms across the region.

Last week, over 100 staff gathered in Dryden for workshops, seminars and presentations from experts in the education technology field, to better learn and understand how to implement the new technology in the classroom.

“It’s to connect everyone with contemporary models of learning and assessments. In our schools, we have a lot of great practices, but because we’re so geographically spread out, it’s hard to connect staff with each-other” said Michelle Parrish, the 21C teaching and learning instructional lead with the KPDSB.

“We had really great presentations. We know that technology is a huge part of our kids’ lives and instrumental in their future careers. Our program brings technology into our classrooms for the best education that we can give.”

Parrish highlighted a unique project by Red Lake District High School, where students will use computer coding to measure soil, water levels and analyze data inside of a greenhouse.

“Our students’ lives are changing when it comes to the digital world. We have to look at how students learn in the digital age and implement that. We need teachers to start thinking differently,” said Dr. Alec Couros, the keynote speaker at the summer seminar. Couros is highly-regarded in the education technology field, and works out of the University of Regina.

“I’m seriously impressed with the KPDSB. They have a fantastic Chromebook program for students to have access to a Chromebook from Grades 4 to 12. It’s really great, it’s progressive and I’m really impressed by the number of devices that are available to both staff and students. The board is taking on technology in a really significant way.”

Workshops included coding Lego-based vehicles and how to operate them using a laptop, virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing and much more. Staff noted that the training was voluntary and on their own time.

In May, the board announced their new Learning Technologies Strategic Plan to further help students learn in an increasingly-digital age. Priorities of the plan include:

- Making virtual learning environments across all curriculum areas available for students,
- Making makerspaces available for all students,
- Offering Kindergarten to Grade 12 robotics and coding programs in all schools,
- Making augmented / virtual reality available for students in Grades 4-12, 
- Ensuring all KPDSB students are aware of appropriate use of digital learning tools and online networks to ensure safety, 
- Building capacity in future leaders,
- Continuing to gather student and stakeholder voice,
- Creating a shared vision with input from stakeholders.

The creation of the plan started with a 21 century gap analysis and needs assessment across the entire KPDSB. The assessment was conducted between October 2017 and April 2018, and included creating a survey for all staff and students on a variety of digital tools and practices.

For more information:
Robots for Kindergarteners
Increasing digital learning

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