Back to school

21st-century approach to education

By Jim Morrison

The end of August signifies the end of summer, and the return to school for teachers, students, and parents across the West Island.

“Going back to school for teachers is much like that for students. They wonder who will be in their classes, and if the kids will have fun.

At the start of the year it’s nice to establish familiar routines and get into the material, and hopefully see the light bulbs begin to turn on over the students’ heads. Seeing students make connections to past learning and watching them grow in front of you is a real pleasure.

The honeymoon phase lasts a couple of weeks and then we wake up! We begin to evaluate what we have already taught leading into progress reports,” said teacher, Julia Mackiewicz.

Many educators have been introduced to the new wave of educational technology, with the advent of the Smart Board in many classrooms.

SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard which is a large touch-sensitive whiteboard that uses a sensor for detecting user input (e.g. scrolling interaction) that are equivalent to normal PC input devices, such as mice or keyboards. A projector is used to display a computer’s video output onto the whiteboard, which then acts as a huge touch screen. The SMART Board usually comes with 4 digital writing utensils that use digital ink replacing the traditional whiteboard markers. The digital ink works by using an active digitizer that controls the PC input information for writing capabilities such as drawing or handwriting.”

The majority of students have access to tablets allowing them to follow lessons in greater detail. The classroom experience is interactive, and the use of paper is slowly being eliminated.

Textbooks remain an essential teaching tool in the school systems.

“Unless every kid gets an ereader, or iPad, kids will still need to read or follow at their own desk,and bring the textbooks home for homework,” said parent Lisa Solti-Lavoie. 

“We get training sessions to use the smart board… It’s not easy to figure out and get used to but once you do, it is amazing the things you can do with it and the possibilities are almost endless,” Isabelle Roy, École secondaire Cite des Jeunes in Vaudreuil told The Suburban.

September is upon us, and the 21st-century approach to education has arrived to the school boards on the West Island.
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