As we look to renovate and build new schools, consideration is always given to updating standards to make sure that the instructional learning needs are met in an effect manner. We are taking time to learn what is happening in other areas. I recently had an opportunity to attend a site visit to Lawfield Elementary School in Hamilton with a team from our Board.
Initially, we gathered in the library to meet with Principal Bill DeMille, who provided an overview of some of the school initiatives. A couple of things struck me as Bill was making his comments. He clearly has a vision and understanding of
- the features and functionality a school facility should have to support 21st century learning
- skills a teacher needs in today’s learning environment
- the impact of technology on student engagement
- the importance of creating a learning environment where teachers are encouraged and supported to try new things
Things I noted at the school included:
- a large display screen in the front hall of the school running a list of events and activities
- teachers are expected to digitally capture events (pictures or video) for inclusion in the front hall monitor display
- sound system throughout the school to facilitate audio enhancement of teacher voices
- iPods are being used in listening centre structure, or through the sound system
- interactive white boards in each teaching environment with specific uses for shared reading, anchor charts and exemplars
- wired and wireless internet connections
- movement away from traditional desks to table clusters around jiffy poles supplying hydro and internet connections to student work area
- shift to shared laptops in the classroom, long term goal for mainly mobile technology and fewer desktops
Thank you to Principal Bill DeMille and his staff for sharing their educational environment and plans with us.