2018 Annual Report
One element stands out among all the varied things parents, students, teachers, support staff, administrators, trustees, and community members do to make our schools and classrooms safe and engaging places of learning. Communication is the tie that binds collective work together, and it’s communication that is driven by the engine room of Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) – our Technical Services Department.
Whether it’s a voice message home, an email exchange, security measures to keep our schools safe, behind the scenes of our websites, software for student report cards, safety plans and Individual Education Plans (IEP), innovative digital citizen classroom practice, tendering work, and balancing books. All of it runs through the engine room that is Technical Services.
So the next time you are working, conversing, teaching, administering, or learning pause for a minute to think how this is all possible. It’s the work a quiet, effective team that spans to corners of our district and keeps our schools and offices rolling.
Digital Learning Classroom
TLDSB teachers have the opportunity to apply to receive a classroom set of digital devices. As part of their application teachers share how they are embracing 21st century competencies in the classroom. In elementary schools each digital learning classroom has 15 Chromebooks. In secondary schools it is aa mixture of Chromebooks and iPads for students to share.
TLDSB Digital Learning Classrooms:
What’s in our schools:
Digital Backpack Program puts modern twist on learning for TLDSB students
What if there was an ecosystem that could help maximize available time and energy as it pertains to planning, execution, and learning? Welcome to the world of Edwin, our digital backpack initiative. Whether you are a teacher or a student, Edwin provides better efficiency and a potential for increased effectiveness.
Grade 8 students from Riverside Public School and Jack Callaghan Public School piloted an innovative and collaborative digital backpack program. The 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.
Each student receives a digital learning device called Edwin. The device can change from a laptop to a tablet, and into two portrait modes. The program also comes with a stylus pen and an interactive touch screen. An installed app contains textbooks and other resources, such as Dreambox, a mathematics learning tool, as well as assistive technology for students with different learning needs.
Equity between students is evident with the use of Edwin devices in the classroom. Previously there had been some stigma amongst students with the differentiation in learning devices. Some students subconsciously didn’t want to use their equipment, but with the digital backpack program – each child has a device. There is no stigma about students needing something special for their learning, because everyone has something special for their learning.
Historically, if a student has been assigned assistive technology, such as speech-to-text or text -to-speech, this would go into a student’s IEP, and schools would provide specific supports for students. With Edwin, students access supports, whether or not there is an identified need. The digital backpack program also offers a multi-sensory approach to learning – the ability to see, hear, and touch learning components.
The intent of the digital backpack program is to make textbooks, handouts, and resources available in one single sign-on. Students have their Edwin device with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Typically, textbooks are left behind at school, devices are shared, and it’s not a personalized experience. The Edwin device allows personalization for each student, but also creates a whole new level of facilitation for teachers. Within the ecosystem, a simple, accessible search format provides provincial curriculum documents and is highly structured from the instructional perspective. Teachers have full control of their classroom through the device because of built-in applications. All eyes could be on the teacher in one moment, or they could split the class into groups. The goal is to optimize discoverability for each end of the learning. A teacher might search by curriculum outcome, while a student might search by topic.
This successful pilot is currently being offered in Grade 8 classrooms in 16 TLDSB schools, and will be available by second semester for Grade 9 students at Huntsville High School and IE Weldon Secondary School.