Technology in our classrooms
Today’s students learn differently than the students before them. Our new digital learners are immersed in technology and they expect to use digital tools as part of their educational experience. Brain-based research provides evidence that today’s generation of students are “wired” differently than previous generations. Instructional strategies are evolving to reflect these needs. Our Learning Technologies Department works to ensure that staff, students and parents have access to the latest technology tools to help foster student success. The class of 2020 is currently sitting in our primary classrooms. These students will graduate from a learning environment and culture that espouses 21st century skill sets and tools.
Wireless access and tech tools in every classroom
All of our schools have wireless access for staff, students and visitors. This allows everyone to freely access a variety of rich digital learning resources. In addition to the tablets, Chromebooks, and iPads supplied by our Board, our students are encouraged to use their own devices, as long as they follow the Board’s acceptable use guidelines. This enables learning to continue beyond the classroom walls and into a more global learning environment. In an organization with more more than 10,000 computers, 45,000 users, and well over 100 applications being used each day, our Learning Technologies Department works around the clock to ensure accessibility and safety for our school community.
Focusing on responsible digital citizenship
Our Board uses a comprehensive technology protocol in our schools where we dedicate time to talk to our students about being good digital citizens. We teach them how to use technology responsibly in a grade appropriate way. Our Samaritans on the Digital Road resource area was developed on the shoulders of The Good Samaritan parable (Luke 10:25-37). Each grade explores the meaning of one verse as it relates to being an online citizen while completing lessons created specifically to address the challenges found at each grade.
We believe that technology enhances a child’s learning experience. Using digital tools to support learning empowers our students with the skills they will need to thrive in today’s global economy, where technology plays a role in almost every field of work. We enhance class lessons using Google for Education and other collaborative tools. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 can quickly and easily access these tools from home or school through our Student Portal. We encourage parents to participate in your child’s learning by accessing the portal as well. Discover the rich resources that your child is using on their educational journey.
The JK-6 portal offers age-appropriate resources such as Dreambox, Raz-Kidz, CBC Curio and Discovery Education. In the Grade 7-12 portal, students and parents will find another mix of apps and programs purchased by the OCSB, such as the Desmos Calculator, Mathletics, Geogebra, and Overdrive eBooks. Visit your Student Portal to find out now!
Nationally recognized by the CEA for digital innovation
The Ottawa Catholic School Board has been selected by the Canadian Education Association (CEA) out of 35 school districts from across Canada to participate in the ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Case Study Program. CEA will research how the OCSB has transformed its classrooms to meet the needs of all 21st century learners.
With the conversion of libraries to learning commons, increasing broadband, universal WiFi availability and equitable Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies, the OCSB has created a ‘digital ecosystem’ focusing on collaboration, creativity and critical thinking among all of its 83 schools. This honour also awards the OCSB with a $10,000 contribution towards continuing to create innovative learning spaces.
“Our selection jury of Canadian innovation leaders was most impressed with how the OCSB leads with a focus on learning and teacher support first, followed by the technology,” says CEA President and CEO Ron Canuel.
“At the OCSB, we are very proud of our staff and how they have embraced technology to support student learning. They use social media and a variety of apps to share effective practice professionally. We are connecting learning to students’ real lives, ensuring relevance to their interests and needs,” says OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre.
The digital classroom: Innovative design helps students relax and focus
Read the editorial and watch the video produced by the Ottawa Citizen about one of our newest schools, St. Cecilia, and how differentiated instruction is changing the way students digest information.
Replacing dusty chalkboards with SmartBoards
SmartBoards are replacing dusty chalkboards in all of our schools, and our students and teachers are reaping the benefits. These interactive whiteboards are touch-sensitive and use a projector to display the image from a computer screen. Software, images and text can be manipulated right on the screen with the touch of a fingertip! The use of this technology has proven to improve student engagement, motivation, and attendance, while accommodating different styles of learning.
Transforming our learning spaces to integrate technology
To keep up with the integration of technology in our curriculum, we are transforming our library spaces into Learning Commons. These new spaces include more comfortable and flexible furniture, the addition of mobile devices for student use, and a strong focus on collaboration. They expand the learning experience, taking students and educators into virtual spaces beyond the walls of a school. New relationships are formed between learners, new technologies are realized and utilized, and both students and educators prepare for the future as they learn new ways to learn.