Toronto, September 16, 2010 -“In a very real sense our challenge is not about machines and devices; it is about what learning should look like in the 21st century classroom,” said Catherine Fife, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA). “For young people today learning occurs in a wider space and time. How do we in the school system facilitate learning in this wider sense?”
Teachers in many schools are using technology to support different learning styles and engage all learners, offering developmentally appropriate learning experiences through a variety of media. We believe that what is missing is a provincial vision that describes how technology can be used to: promote innovative thinking and collaborative work; incorporate rich digital resources into student learning; employ varied assessment methods that can in turn improve learning; model ethical practices in the digital age and strengthen professional development.
To that end, OPSBA released a Discussion Paper in 2009 entitled: What If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom. As school trustees we wanted to engage the province in a meaningful focused discussion about classrooms of the 21st century to ensure relevance for our students in an increasingly connected global community. We also wanted to be part of developing a provincial vision and strategies that will make all our classrooms even more connected and relevant for our students.
The Discussion Paper asks the question: “How can schools continue to be connected and relevant in the world of the 21st century?” It explores the relationship between the use of technology and the scope for enhancing the teaching and learning process. At a time when the economy is shrinking, when there is again great pressure on the education dollar, it is more critical than ever to be strategic about allocating resources in ways that will leverage the greatest impact.
“How these technologies become adapted for use in schools to maximize student engagement and student achievement must be the new discussion and incorporated into the vision and funding model for Ontario schools in the 21st century,” said Catherine Fife.
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