QESBA launches Task Force on Internet and Information Technologies - Survey of students, parents and teachers on Internet should provide useful feedback for educators



    MONTREAL, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards
Association (QESBA) today introduced its Task Force on the Impact of the
Internet and Related Information Technologies on English Public Schools in
Quebec. The volunteer panel of outside experts is chaired by former Dr. Claude
Lajeunesse, former president of Concordia and Ryerson Universities, and
current president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.
The 18-member group includes Dr. Shaheen Shariff, Assistant Professor in the
Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University, and one of
North America's leading experts on the Internet, its interactive impact on
children's learning, socialization and behavior as well as recent high school
graduates, a sergeant-detective from the Sureté de Québec on cyber-crime, a
hospital director of Child Psychiatry, along with a former principal and
school administrator.
    QESBA President Debbie Horrocks also announced this morning an important
survey of parents, teachers and students on how, when and why they are using
the Internet. The survey was developed by the task force, which will deliver
its final report to QESBA in late Spring. She noted that QESBA is eager to
help its member boards build on their expertise in maximizing the benefits of
the Internet in education:
    "Let's be clear: Despite occasional media suggestions to the contrary,
the story of education and new communications technologies is, for the most
part, a very positive one. Still, there is room for the education sector, for
law enforcement, for our parents...for our governments to participate more
fully in the integration of new communications technologies into our society,
in a way that will be more inclusive, responsible and beneficial to all of us.
The Internet and the challenges and opportunities it inspires are much bigger
than our school boards. One of our hopes for this task force is that it will
prompt further and necessary public enquiry and action to better prepare us
all for the changes at hand. Our children are the central players in
experiencing and testing these new technologies. If this QESBA task force can
help us better accompany them on that fascinating, and inevitable journey, it
will have offered a service not only to our English school boards, but to our
larger society as well."
    Dr. Lajeunesse reviewed a number of the objectives set by the Task Force,
which will as part of its report, analyse the results of the survey launched
today. "First, I want to note that I have always felt that leadership requires
an open mind and the strength to admit that the best ideas will often come
from others. I commend Debbie Horrocks and QESBA for demonstrating those
qualities of leadership.
    "What kind of outcomes will we hope for to measure success? Well, here
are a few we are thinking about:

    - Demonstrable, value-added initiatives and strategies, suggested by the
    Task Force and undertaken by member school boards and by the Ministry of
    Education, Recreation and Sports, for example:

    - On-line outreach programs on Internet awareness and supervision for
    parents

    - Increased professional development on enhancing positive use of
    information technologies in the classroom, for teachers and school
    administrators; and

    - A measurable shift in media focus and public discourse from: the
    Internet in education as "threat that must be controlled" to "an
    opportunity that must be maximized, responsibly.

    QESBA is the voice of English public education in Quebec. Its nine member
school boards serve some 110,000 students in 340 elementary, high schools and
adult centres across the province.




For further information:

For further information: Kimberley Hamilton, Communications and Special
Projects Coordinator, (514) 849-5900, ext.: 225, (514) 919-3894, (Cell.)


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