To be Wireless…or not…
Our school, despite the motions of many schools world-wide to remove wifi, has begun a wireless network pilot project. And only after four days (and without any public announcements or fanfare) we have over 98 student users with accounts (that’s about 15% of the school population!). The ‘student’ accounts are valid for the entire year and offer wifi access in the library and on the second floor commons (for the time being). If the pilot project goes well, school-wide ubioquitous wireless implementation should proceed ahead and be completed by the end of November.
And while many schools and school districts are refusing or altogether removing wifi network setups, it is important to note that there is no current scientific reserach that demonstrates a clear connection between wireless electromagnetic radiation and immediate concerns to human health. We have committed to monitoring the associated research on health risks of wireless networks and if evidence is indicative of possible dangers the school is prepared to remove the system in its entirety.
Apple Educational OpportunityThe school has also applied to Apple Canada in order to enroll in their educational technology pilot project. For four weeks, Ms. Lori Jones will be using 10 iPod Touches and 10 Mac books with her various English, science, and computer technology classes, utilizing various applications and specific Apple technologies to enhance classroom practice and student learning. Of special interest will be the use of the technologies with a class novel study of Cory Doctorow’s ‘For the Win’–a book about the world of teenage online games that was released under a Creative Commons licence–with a focus on digital storytelling applications.
Math Department Gets Smart
The mathematics department has also begun an action research project aruod effective use of SmartBoard in the classroom to engage students and encourage collaboration among peers. The project is still in the early formulaic stages as teachers are busy learning to use the important Notebook software. One teacher has already piloted its use in her classroom and continues to recognize a link between the Smartboard’s effective use and student engagement and learning success in Grade 9 and 10 mathematics classes. More on this in the weeks ahead.
Baby steps. I would have never dreamed three years ago that we would be at the stage where the school could honestly say that it was advancing and experimenting with technology to help increase student engagement and successful learning. Can’t wait for the next three years!