Lots of Questions

Like many,  I think I was surprised to see an article with this title from the CBC appear in my reading last week.

Ontario announces $150 million investment for iPads in the classroom

It’s not that Ontario doesn’t invest in classroom technology.  In fact, they do and have for years.  It’s just that it was surprising to see a particular product mentioned.  I can’t recall something specific like this going back to the days of the Icon Computer.  Usually funding is given to school districts who make their own decisions about platform, support, and implementation.

It was with real curiosity that I dug into the article looking for details.  As it turns out, the article talks about money devoted to the purchase of technology.  It was the author of the article that chose to include the words iPad in the title.  The full announcement, from the Ministry of Education website is located here.

I wasn’t the only one to show some curiosity about this.  Later that day, Justin Yantho tagged me in a Google Plus post.  He had questions and some thoughts as well.  The recent events from the LAUSD didn’t go unnoticed.

Over time, we’ll see exactly what this announcement means.  But it does leave one to wonder a few things…

  • Is this $150M “new” money or does it represent a new total for investment?
  • Will there be professional learning opportunities for teachers to go with this?
  • Do all Ontario schools have the infrastructure (wireless access, bandwidth, etc.) to accommodate an initiative like this?
  • Will there be provision for hiring technicians for school districts to support an even bigger technology workload?
  • Will students be allowed to take portable technology home?
  • Will the money be in place to replace these computers 3-4 years from now when they become obsolete?
  • Will the use of technology be required in classrooms to specifically support curriculum expectations?
  • Will there be a renewed importance on OSAPAC to acquire licensing for software for this technology?

 

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4 Replies to “Lots of Questions”

  1. Thanks for the mention Doug. I think very few plans have implemented the training and support piece to its initiative. One of the largest piece, in my opinion, would be to look at how to alter teacher/change and culture. You need 1) teachers to be at the forefront of lifelong learning and get to a point where they are comfortable with exploring (and critiquing) whatever new technology may come, and 2) to reflect on how they can use this to improve the learning (and the learning environment) in meaningful ways. Students doing math drills on an iPad, or writing an essay on a Chromebook won’t do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really great questions and concerns from all of you here!
    In this announcement, it sounds to me, related to the 21st Century funding that has been available for the last 3 years, and many of those projects have been focused on good pedagogy and teacher learning. Teacher learning is also the focus in TLLP projects (Teacher Learning and Leadership Program) and this is partially funded by our Ministry along with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation – many of the projects involve technology. Perhaps this funding is in some part a continuation of other funding that’s been happening, rather than entirely new money? Here is more info on the research projects that have been funded in all boards (at the discretion of individual boards to choose hardware and include teacher in-service) http://www.edugains.ca/newsite/21stCenturyLearning/research.html.

    Every chance I get at my Board I’m echoing the sentiments of you folks here….it’s awesome to provide technology to students and teachers…but essential to provide supportive implementation to go along with it.

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