2017 Annual Report
Today, integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than just teaching basic skills and software programs in a computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. Technology helps change the student/teacher roles and relationships: students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators. Technology lends itself as the multidimensional tool that assists that process. For economically disadvantaged students, the school may be the only place where they will have the opportunity to use a computer and integrate technology into their learning. There is a growing body of evidence that technology integration positively affects student achievement and academic performance. When used in collaborative learning methods and leadership that is aimed at improving the school through technology planning, technology impacts achievement in content area learning, promotes higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, and prepares students for the workforce.
At the board level, employees are integrating Google products to work better, together, through the collaboration of Google Team Drives, Google Drives, Google Communities, and more. We have also adopted a new digital library powered by OverDrive, to service students, parents and teachers; with more than 13,000 books checked out in one year. Some classrooms also have digital backpacks. The digital backpack program is designed to modernize learning by putting emphasis on how students learn, while allowing access to grade level content in a way that students understand what they are learning.
Spotlight – Connecting Through Technology
By the Numbers
The role that technology has played in our schools has been quite impactful. The widespread adoption of devices has completely changed how teachers teach, and how students learn. Teachers are learning how to incorporate emerging technologies into their lessons (tablets, iPads, Smart Boards, robots, computers), while students are using advanced technology to shape how they learn. By embracing and integrating technology in our classrooms, we are setting our students up for a successful life outside of school.
“Technology has helped me to collaborate with junior teachers in my community and internationally. We joined The Global Monster Project STEM learning program in the fall and connected with a school in Russia. Both our classes communicated with each other. I am still in contact with a professor in Maryland and a teacher in Russia and plan on working together with our students in a collaborative STEM project next year. I have come to use Google Classroom daily and my students are very confident submitting their work and receiving feedback through Google. The DLC Chromebooks were used daily in class across all subjects.”
“The students are able to select the appropriate digital tool to present their research or completed assignment in a variety of ways. The students are able to present their work on Google slides, Mindomo Mind Maps, Google Drawing, Pixton and Google Docs. Many students ensure they make use of the Read and Write technology to help them be more successful with their writing assignments and use this tool to help them edit their work. Some of the students are beginning to collaborate with peers to help “bump up” their work by listening to texts and giving positive feedback and giving suggestions how to improve stories and research assignments.”
There are Secondary Technology Champions at each secondary school in TLDSB. These individuals are provided with a touchscreen Chromebook and attend meetings throughout the year to discuss and share technology-enabled teaching and learning. These teachers support the Technology Services Department through peer-to-peer learning at their schools and promote initiatives and instructional methods using technology. Secondary Champions use communication and collaboration to support their colleagues.
With the help of our Secondary Integrated Learning Champions, we have seen large scale improvements in the embracing of the use of technology in classrooms. This initiative provides opportunity within the school for new learning partnerships focussed on the sharing of effective and innovative teaching practices through the use of technology.
Student Coding in Action
Coding has seen a lot of success with staff and students learning how to use websites such as Scratch and Code.org. Schools have been provided with Dash and Dot robots, mBot robots, Makey Makey kits, and micro:bits. Chromebooks and iPads are provided to students to help support this learning. The website http://tldsb.ca/coding is a resource to help staff and students embrace coding.