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21st Century Academic Information Technology Project (2012 - 2017)

On January 23, 2012 the St. Clair Catholic District School Board convened a “church hall” meeting, to which representatives of all stakeholder groups were invited.  The purpose of the meeting was to share with the Information Services department and senior administration the current challenges and successes related to information technology.

It was a very successful day and many opinions and ideas were shared.  One of the topics we asked about was what is working well in terms of technology at St. Clair Catholic.  This is what you told us:

  • We recently provided YouTube access to teaching staff, increasing access to on-line resources;
  • Our assistive technology (Dragon, Word Q, Premier Suites) is effective in helping to open the world to our students with special needs;
  • Interactive learning through SmartBoards and Smart Technology is effective;
  • We have a stable network;
  • Our teachers are working to incorporate technology into assignments and classroom work;
  • We are open to new technology, i.e., e-learning, blogging, wikis, etc.

We also asked you to tell us what our challenges are – in other words, what’s not working so well.  There were many responses; however, the following major themes emerged frequently:

  • Staff Professional Development is insufficient and not sustained.  The frequency of PD training needs to be increased, as the “one shot deal” approach does not work;
  • The current computer lab configuration of 15 computers is insufficient for class sizes and promotes inequality in terms of access;
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – There is an inability to augment Board-provided resources with personally-owned equipment (this applies to teachers and students). Most students and staff already own laptops, netbooks or tablets.  Permitting them to connect to Board networks would be a cost-effective way to increase access;
  • Internet access is too restrictive;
  • Older hardware is too slow and/or inefficient;
  • Home-based software is incompatible with that of the schools. 

Please refer to the next few tabs for additional information on the actions that have been taken or will be taken stemming from stakeholders' input obtained at the January 2012 Forum.


Access –

We have increased access to on-line resources for teaching staff, who now have access to YouTube. 

Ethical Use of Technology –

Updated policies and procedures regarding acceptable use of computers and information technology for students and staff were approved by the Trustees April 2013. 

BYOD –

After successfully piloting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for staff at St. Christopher Catholic Secondary School; and for staff and students in Grades 5 to 8 at St. Philip Catholic School during May and June 2012, we will be expanding the project to allow staff at Ursuline College Catholic Secondary School and St. Patrick's Catholic Secondary School to BYOD in September 2012.  Following these locations, our elementary schools will be provided the same option.  Students at our secondary schools will be provided this same option during the 2012-13 academic year.  September 2012

Cost Effective Purchasing –

Students and staff of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board are able to take advantage of a purchasing plan with DELL FOR 25% to 30% discounts on consumer products.  Staff will also be able to purchase, for just $11, Microsoft software to make their home computers compatible with their work computers.  Spring 2012

Ongoing Follow-up to Forum Outcomes –

A steering committee has been established to help develop a strategic plan based on the outcomes of the January 23rd forum and to identify priorities and review progress. The committee conducted several meetings during the spring of 2012, the result of which was the execution of the BYOD pilot project.  The committee will continue to meet during the 2012-13 school year.  September 2012

Wireless Access – 

All secondary schools and 16 elementary schools have 100% ubiquitous wireless access at the commencement of the 2012-13 school year.  The remaining 10 elementary schools will provided the same wireless network systems before the end of December 2012.  These 10 schools have been provided partial wireless access in the interim.  September 2012


St Clair CDSB is a leader in using educational technology to enhance solid teaching practice. Our staff is committed to increasing student learning and engagement through the use of digital tools and devices.

Image of students at a computerBlended Learning, a model of instruction using the web as a platform for teaching, is being used in our classrooms from K-12. Blended learning  is a combination – or blend – of face-to-face and online learning. In Ontario, blended learning may be conducted through the provincial learning management system (LMS), where students and teachers have access to:

  • Provincially-developed content (i.e., secondary courses, elementary course packages, multimedia activities).
  • Communication tools, such as the blog, pager, discussions, news, schedule, and e-mail tools.
  • Assessment tools, such as dropboxes, quizzes, and surveys.

Teachers and students have access to these tools and content any time, anywhere. Blended Learning develops 21st Century Skills by fostering collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

the TPaCK model - diagramSt Clair CDSB is actively involved in studying the TPACK model (Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge) in its classrooms. TPACK attempts to identify the knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching. 

At the heart of the TPaCK framework is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK). The TPaCK project gives teachers a chance to work together to develop rich tasks, deepen understanding of content and effectively integrate technology. Schools involved in the TPaCK study come together to share ideas and plan collaboratively. 

 

Skype LogoTeachers are using Skype to bring experts, poets and authors into their classroom, giving students authentic learning experiences with people who live the school curriculum every day. Students can link the subjects they take to real-life by interacting with outside experts. 

Watch the video below for an example of a Skype visit to one of our schools.


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