The school is buzzing about Runnymede’s Technology Plan, and we’re excited that you’re excited!
Some great questions have been submitted via the website to Runnymede’s tech lead, Kindergarten teacher Taye Maddison.
Here are some of the questions, and her responses below.
How soon will my child benefit from the money I donate?
Parent Council along with Administration and Staff are prepared to purchase new devices starting in October so they can be distributed and in use in classrooms as quickly as possible. Children will benefit from your donation this school year.
How does the TDSB supports this type of initiative? For example, would the school board match what parents donate to technology initiatives?
The school board does assign a technology budget to each school, but it is often consumed through repair and replacement of devices. We are asking for Parent Council’s help, through fundraising, to support a technology vision for the students of Runnymede school which incorporates regular and appropriate integration of technology for all students.
Will the money will be used to buy technology through the school board?
Devices would be purchased through the TDSB purchasing program, to ensure compatibility with the board’s network, and because the board has access to bulk purchasing opportunities which would otherwise not be available to us. Installation and updating of devices is monitored by the school’s Tech Chair and done centrally at the board level.
Do you predict this to be a one-time ‘start-up’ fundraising initiative for technology or will school council be fundraising to replace these items every few years when these products become obsolete?
Our current fundraising is meant to purchase new devices and replace obsolete devices specifically for student use as a one-time investment. It is my understanding, however, that Parent Council is preparing a longer term budget plan that, along with the school’s tech budget, will help with long-term maintenance and upkeep of technology, keeping in line with the school’s ever evolving tech vision. This budget would be reviewed and approved by all Parent Council when the time comes.
Why does the goal include a desktop and a laptop per teacher?
First of all, please keep in mind that a desktop and laptop are being assigned to each classroom, not each teacher. However, they will be primarily for the use of (but not limited to) the classroom teacher. Laptops are required for supporting interactive boards and/or projectors. Desktops are required so that teachers can complete mandatory work such as writing report cards and IEPs (as an example) which are web-based but often have specific operating requirements that are not always supported on laptops.
I recognize the need for each Runnymede teacher to have ready access to a modern and functional computer. My main concern is that giving electronic devices to students during class time will detract from rather than enhance learning.
Devices would be used so that students can:
(a) receive extra support in academic areas that might be difficult for that student (ie/ reading support through apps like Reading A-Z/RazKids, math support through TVO mPower (both of which are administered and monitored by teachers), or using voice-to- text options for students who are experiencing fine motor challenges when trying to put their ideas down on the page)
(b) use devices as a research tool (through web-searches on kids safe sites, such as kidrex.com)
(c) document and share their learning in a collaborative setting through apps such as Google Apps For Education.
Devices are not meant as rewards or distractions, and would be used under teacher supervision. By using devices in this way, students will be gaining critical 21st century skills, such as choosing useful sources and how to use sources appropriately. The Ontario Science and Technology curriculum states that “A scientifically and technologically literate person is one who can read and understand common media reports about science and technology, critically evaluate the information presented, and confidently engage in discussions and decision-making activities that involve science and technology” and we believe that the integration of technology into the classroom (rather than as a weekly opportunity as we have had in the past) is crucial in helping to create technologically literate students.
The TDSB’s ICT Standards direct that technology in the classroom:
- Supports the diverse learning styles of students of the 21st century. Our “Digital Natives” continually demonstrate a desire to learn, work and express themselves digitally. They excel when engaged in authentic tasks, project based and inquiry learning activities that enable them to be efficient and effective users of technology.
- Guides the purposeful integration of technology into the Ontario Curriculum, the teaching and learning of content, process, product and environment provide our students with opportunities for improved achievement, setting the foundation for obtaining essential skills for work and continued learning.
Provides a framework for teachers, schools and families of schools as they work towards utilizing a variety of technologies as tools for supporting student learning, achievement, communication and creativity.
If you have questions or comments about Runnymede’s technology plan, please submit them to Ms. Maddison (Runnymede’s technology lead), using the form in the previous post.
This year’s Direct Donation Campaign isn’t just about tech!
Your donations will also support the incredible enrichment programs that help Runnymede students thrive.
Read more about them here.