I recently had an opportunity to enjoy a site visit to John Mahood PS, a WRDSB K-5 school to see a their technology use in action.
Under the leadership of principal Tracy Tait, the staff has been working hard over the last 3 years to explore new effective ways to utilize technology to enable student learning in new ways, change and improve practice and share their successes.
The traditional lab at the school has been dismantled and the desktops have been redistributed throughout the school. The mobile technology (iPads and Chromebooks) within the school has been allocated so that each classroom has a minimum of 6 to 8 devices to share among the students. The lab space is now used as a “tech lounge” – more of a flexible creative work space.
In a site walk through, Tracy commented that she expects staff to integrate mobile technology into the learning environment as part of their daily practice. I enjoyed observing a couple of classes during silent reading time and seeing that student had a choice in both what they read and HOW they read it: paper based, via iPads or Chromebooks. Talk about a great example of student voice and choice!
The school focus on choice for students is making a noticeable difference. Several staff commented about technology options providing choice and independence for students. In some cases, the use of technology created benefits in socialization between students both in and out of class. In conversation, it was noted that technology use improves the focus on learning which in turn impacts behaviour in a positive way. In some cases, the use of technology removes frustration when paper and pencil based tasks create an obstacle for students. The result is increased participation through differentiated approaches.
This video captures some of the observations and thinking of students and staff at the school.[youtube http://youtu.be/eEDd5oOwI4k]
Note: The video and story presentations are published with permission.
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