Monterey middle school students Luke Wilson

GREAT TEACHERS: Technology playing a key role in today’s classrooms

Students at Monterey middle school in Oak Bay work with teacher using tools they're familiar with

The learning landscape is constantly evolving as technology advances. And teachers are embracing those technologies as new tools.

“You see technologies pervasive in our culture and because of that there’s carry over in our classroom,” said Josh Elsdon, who teaches the Monterey Institute of Technology (MIT), an inaugural Grade 7 class that utilizes technology as part of its routine curriculum.

MIT is based partly on what he’d already seen as a teacher, with students bringing in everyday technology – tablets, laptops, smartphones – and teachers struggling to figure out the place of that technology in the classroom.

“The emergences, like the phones, that’s been interesting watching that evolution take place,” Elsdon said. “They are a powerful tool and I think at first the reaction by most people was to say, ‘They don’t have a place in the classroom.’ I think as people recognize [phones] are not going anywhere – and if anything they’re getting more powerful and capable of handling bigger and better jobs – teachers are trying to find a way to harness them.”

Most educators are simply responding to advances in tablets and laptops and even phones as new tools to access information, presenting information and organizing thoughts.

It’s not really any different than when computers first came into the classroom and quickly became a necessity for any school to have.

“When our kids in middle school start wood shop, there are a lot of tools in there that have the ability to create things that are beautiful and functional. They also have the power to hurt and injure. Technology is the same way,” Elsdon said. “There are a lot of possible outcomes of having access to all of that information and some of them are scary, because it does allow an avenue for inappropriate information to come into school. In the end one of the jobs we have as educators is to show how to use the tools available to us.”

The Greater Victoria School District employs an educational technology co-ordinator, a resource for teachers. The co-ordinator connects with educators across the system to research technology tools and put them to best use.

“In our district we have access to a lot of really good professional development opportunities,” Elsdon said. “A lot of it is just personal exploration as well. The tools the kids are using are the same as those coming into the households of teachers. As we use them in our personal lives we see applications (for) the classroom.”

Reynolds secondary is one of those schools lucky enough to score big funding through a Staples program – Recycle for Education.

“They get a school lab worth $25,000,” explained Don Routliffe, general manager of the Tolmie Road store.

It blends the company’s passion for recycling, a passion shared by today’s youth, and engaging the community. “We are very engaged in trying to work with schools,” Routliffe said. “We get the opportunity to help build relationships with that program.”

Monterey recently used technology funding for 15 iPads that are used in multiple classrooms. Through shared-grant application, they’ve funded and purchased a 3-D printer.

“Our school has really invested in it … Monterey has made it a priority,” Elsdon said. “We have to maintain relevancy. It’s hard to keep up with changing technology, especially from a budgetary point of view. But when we give those opportunities to our students, it’s a sign we are interested in meeting them in their reality and not just trying to prepare them for a life in the older generation’s reality.”

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

Nominate your Great Teachers

You can nominate the awesome educators in your life by clicking on this link. Follow the directions to register, then fill in your nomination form. The deadline is May 31.

Links to related stories:

Black Press and Staples ask you to think about Great Teachers in your life

Just Posted

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

Federal government commits $9.1 million toward UVic Indigenous Law building

Contribution supports Canada’s first Canada’s first Indigenous Law program

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read