Other countries facing common ed-tech struggles

A September 2012 MindShare infographic on Canadian teachers’ views of classroom technology revealed that:

  • Only 58 percent of teachers said they have decent classroom bandwidth.
  • Only 47 percent said they receive an information and communication technology plan from their school or district.
  • Forty-one percent of teachers’ schools and districts do not have a BYOD policy.
  • The top three ed-tech tools in the classroom are projectors (70 percent), interactive whiteboards (63 percent), and document cameras (37 percent).
  • The top eLearning platforms are Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and Moodle.
  • Top social media sites include Google+, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • Seventy-seven percent of teachers attribute resources or funding as the main barrier to using classroom technology; 40 percent cited lack of professional development, and 24 percent said they lack support.

“We’ve got a real responsibility in our board to really close gaps and move students forward, and give them the same opportunities that other students in Ontario are able to quite easily achieve, “ said Scott Urquhart, supervising principal of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board in Ontario (KPDSB).

KPDSB operates in a low socio-economic area, which has a direct impact on students’ and parents’ abilities to purchase classroom technology on their own.

“We didn’t want BYOD for a variety of reasons, given the socio-economic environment [the kids] live in,” Urquhart said. The district purchased and supports the netbooks for all students.

KPDSB staff implemented a sustainable one-to-one ed-tech strategy that it supports with sound pedagogy. The one-to-one program began with 21st-century learning research and a pilot program three years ago involving early-adopting teachers and principals. Under full implementation, all schools and board offices were equipped with wireless internet access, and students in grades 4-12 received netbooks. Every primary learning environment features iPad pods.

Early on, the district saw an increase in staff and student engagement as adoption and implementation progressed. Now, district officials hope to link these increases to real data on longitudinal achievement and improvements.

Right now, KPDSB is focusing on:

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