A recent survey indicates that students and teachers at District School Board Ontario North East are happy using iPads, and that the use of this technology continues to have a positive impact on learning.
The Board unveiled its 1:1 iPad initiative in the Fall of 2015, with the distribution of 2,600 iPads to students in Grades 7 through 10. The initiative has since been enhanced, with 1:1 iPads for all students in Grades 5-12. IPads were also placed at a 2:1 ratio in Grades 3 and 4.
A series of surveys with students and teachers in Grades 5 to 12 were conducted in June 2018. Just under 2000 students (63% response rate) and 332 teachers (70% response rate) answered.
“Across the district, and across the grades, our students and teachers are telling us they value our focus on innovative approaches to learning that prepare students for success in the future,” says Chad Mowbray, the Board’s Vice-Principal of Curriculum, Innovation and Technology. “To continue this work, we need to listen to all learners’ voices on how we can provide them with the tools and skills they feel they need to achieve their goals. Empowering them to achieve their personal excellence.”
Results show that during the 2017-2018 school year, 85% of students used their iPad every day to support their learning -- an increase of 10% from the previous year. 59% of students strongly agree that they are better organized, 56% strongly agree that they are more proud of their work, and 57% strongly agree that they do better work on their iPad. 88% say they would like to continue using their iPad at school.
“About 12% of students told us they feel the iPad is not the best tool for them. Many of these students said they would prefer to have a keyboard for typing,” adds Mowbray. “The overwhelming majority of those students are those in Grades 11 and 12. They typically have longer and more complicated writing tasks, like essays. The Board has already taken action on this. At the end of June we purchased 500 keyboards, which are now available in all of our secondary schools for those longer writing tasks.”
The survey also indicated that 90% of teachers want to continue using iPads in their classrooms. The vast majority (73%) say they are very, or at least moderately prepared for teaching with the technology. To achieve their professional learning goals, the teachers requested: help in designing lessons that engage students in the world outside of school, training in the variety of ways they can help students show what they know, assistance in personalizing the learning experience of each child, and guidance with actively integrating problem solving and technology in classrooms, so that students can become critical thinkers.
Next steps for the Board will be to provide teachers access to resources and professional learning to help them reach their learning goals; encourage them to take risks in leveraging digital tools and connecting tasks to the world beyond the classroom, and challenge them to develop and reflect on their students’ growth of 21st century technologies.
“Results of surveys such as these continue to provide insight into how technology is transforming teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the Board,” says Director of Education, Lesleigh Dye.
Dye adds: “We have inspired innovation and a passion for learning by investing heavily in our iPad program, and appreciate the feedback from our students and teachers. We need this information in order to make sound judgements going forward. The use of this technology in our schools is leading to greater student engagement and a higher success rate for students, empowering all of our learners to achieve personal excellence. Another survey is planned for May 2019, and our goal will be a 100% response rate from our teachers.”
Read Original Media Release from September 20, 2018:
View Presentation Made to the Board of Trustees on September 18, 2018:
Read Timmins Today Article from September 20, 2018: