At its Regular Meeting of the Board on March 27, 2012, Peel District School Board trustees approved the transfer of $7 million from its Working Fund Reserve to cover the cost of information technology infrastructure to support the board’s Vision for Learning and Instructional Technology Plan (PDF). The result will transform access to technology in Peel schools.
“In global communities that are linked so closely through the Internet, it’s critical that we provide our students and staff with the tools they need to build 21st Century learning skills,” says Tony Pontes, director of education. “The board’s historic financial investment in the future of learning and instructional technology will provide access to learning anytime, anywhere—access we know will lead to innovation and exploration through learning and connecting with the world. We need to expand access to current technology and encourage students to BYOD—bring your own device—to engage them in learning. The plan will also ensure equity of access to technology for all students through classroom computers and tablets in schools.”
In the fall of 2010, the Peel board undertook a review of the current successes and challenges related to the implementation of digital technologies for teaching and learning. The outcome of the review is a set of recommendations based on the principles of 21st Century learning:
- collaborative inquiry to solve real and relevant problems
- creativity and innovation
- critical thinking and problem-solving
Key components of the board’s learning technology plan include:
- teacher support and professional learning
- equitable access to core technology across schools
- digital learning resources available anywhere, anytime
- Internet-based (Cloud) file services for students
- enabling the use of student personal technology
- wireless access to support personal student technology
- policies and guidelines for the appropriate use of technology
- communication and collaboration tools to engage students and parents
“Providing safe and accessible wireless networks is essential to the Peel board’s vision for learning technology,” says Pontes. “Wireless access will provide flexibility for the use of mobile technology, including tablets, personal electronic devices and laptops, in schools. Through the use of WiFi or Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN), students and staff will be able to access learning and teaching resources and files on the Internet from anywhere in the building. A comprehensive communication plan to the system will be developed.”
All wireless equipment installed in Peel schools complies with Health Canada’s Safety Code. WLANs allow technology within schools to operate without cables and wiring, enabling greater access to the Internet through electronic devices that help to boost teaching and learning.
System implementation of the plan will begin in July 2012.