Using the latest technological devices in the classroom may not send students to detention anymore.
More Canadian schools are recognizing and taking advantage of the technologies available to better prepare students for the future. It is a marketplace that CDW Canada – a prominent technology solutions provider – is eager to tap into. For the third straight year, CDW has run a contest called Teaching With Technology, where teachers write short, 200-500 word stories on how technology is used in their classrooms and how the students have benefited.
“From a community perspective and being a technology provider we wanted to find out what the kids of tomorrow are learning and applying in school,” said Daniel Reio, CDW Canada’s director of marketing. “We want to be their first thought when applying these technologies.”
This year, more than 200 stories were submitted by teachers across Canada and Reio said they make use of every piece of technology used today. But he noticed some were more common than others.
“The common themes are the use of digital whiteboards. The use of video conferencing and other solutions that bring people together so they can talk about ideas is a prevalent theme used across a lot of the different stories we’ve heard,” Reio said.
Robynne Fraser, the first place winner of the contest, from Southgate Middle School in Campbell River, British Columbia, compared the use of technology to miracles and described some of the ways technology has been an effective tool in her special needs class.
“I have taught students with autism to have a conversation with a peer using walkie-talkies; it allows students to work on conversation skills without concentrating on the mechanics of a conversation (eye contact and proximity), which challenges these students,” Fraser wrote in her story. “I have become a believer in the miracle of technology.”
Stephanie Ratti, the second place winner from Richmond Hill’s Redstone Public School, wrote her story in the perspective of a student in a paperless classroom. She said the new initiative was a one-year pilot the school tried this year and they are hoping to extend it to another classroom next year.
“Students are really the masters of their educational goals in the paperless classroom. The teacher’s role in this case is to facilitate their learning and empower them more than just delivery information,” said Ratti.
Roberta Fox, Senior Consultant for FOX GROUP, believes the use of multi-media education material can improve the interest, retention and effectiveness of technology-based education for all students. Small businesseses can look to these examples for inspiration, she says.
“Small businesses want to adopt technology solutions as ways to improve productivity and reduce costs, but they face challenges in getting suppliers that are able and willing to provide them with the guidance, support and expertise geared to their size,” she said. “Leveraging education sector lessons is a good way for them to see examples of how technology can help their organizations as well.”
CDW’s Reio agrees with Fox.
“Just a sharing of information from the teachers across the school and school boards, there is some great wisdom to be learned by all the parties involved,” said Reio.
The Teaching With Technology Contest also included a no-obligation sweepstakes as well as a Tweet Ur Tech Tale Contest where teachers had to tweet how they teach with technology in 140 characters or less. All the prizes and winners can be found on http://teachingwithtechnology.ca/.