Technology Waiting as Canadian Students Go Back to School
Top Canadian tech and telecom companies are supporting student education with greater interactivity across greater distances with the release of new products and support programs.
Through commercial purchase, lease-to-own arrangements or donated contributions, students in public schools and in institutions of higher learning are using smartphones, tablets, e-board and HD video systems to enhance their learning and increase their engagement.
Samsung School in Canada is a newly-launched program that offers a fully-integrated education package with the latest tablet and display technology running educational software for K-12 classrooms.
The systems have been pilot tested in school, with students at Riverside Secondary School in Port Coquitlam, BC and Robina Baker Elementary School in Devon, AB, getting a sneak preview of the interactive learning technology solution.
They can use a Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 tablets with the S Pen touch device, loaded with learning management and interactive teaching software. Optional 55 or 65-inch digital e-boards, wireless printers, notebook PCs and AllShare Cast dongles for existing e-boards can also be integrated into the systems.
In class, teachers and students can share screens in group collaboration or one-on-one scenarios. They can conduct interactive quizzes, have access to supplemental content all while work progress and lesson plans are automatically tracked for later evaluation.
“In my 30 years as a teacher, this is the most impactful technology solution I’ve ever seen in the classroom,” said Deb Nordheimer, a Grade 11 teacher at Riverside Secondary School. “It’s not only made it easier for me to manage my classroom, it’s brought energy to my students because it’s so interactive.”
Meanwhile, MBA candidates are participating in a technologically supported professional development program at Queen’s University in Ontario, using HD video collaboration tools from Polycom.
Conducted together with Cornell University in the US, the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA (CQEMBA) program offers learners in the States, Canada, Mexico and Colombia a chance to earn dual MBAs without having to commute to New York and Ontario.
Connected over Polycom’s HDX video collaboration systems, faculty members teach the classes from studios in Ithaca and Kingston, with some two dozen student teams, each with five to nine participants, watching from in different locations.
In order to make the best use of the system and the mediated teaching process, even the faculty must ‘go to school’, spending time learning about the system and the best way to integrate it into other structured learning processes.
In its effort to support school’s ability to upgrade its technology, Canadian telco TELUS is currently accepting applications for financial assistance through its newly-created Technology for Teachers Fund.
In particular, New Brunswick teachers can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 from TELUS to upgrade the technology in their classroom. The company is also giving a portion of the sales of each TELUS smartphone purchased in New Brunswick to the Fund.
Lending support to the initiative is well known Canadian Rick Hillier, the retired Canadian Forces General who now devotes much of his time to social, educational and philanthropic initiatives.
“While many New Brunswick schools already use technology as a teaching tool, it can be difficult for school boards to find the funds for hands-on technology equipment. TELUS wanted to find a way to provide financial support that will directly improve classroom resources and help kids learn,” said Gen. Hillier, Chair of the TELUS Atlantic Canada Community Board. “We look forward to seeing some innovative ideas in the applications. We know teachers and students will find creative ways to use technology to extend their learning potential.”
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submitted by Lee Rickwood