What If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom

    Where:       Don Mills Collegiate Institute
                 15 The Donway East
    When:        Wednesday, April 29
    Time:        11:00 a.m.

    TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - On Wednesday, April 29, 2009 the Ontario Public
School Boards' Association (OPSBA) is releasing a Discussion Paper entitled:
What If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom. As school trustees we want
to engage the province in a meaningful focused discussion about classrooms of
the 21st century. We want to be part of developing a provincial vision and
strategies that will make all our classrooms connected and relevant.
    "Today's students are leaders in the use of technology and we know they
want their learning experiences in school to reflect this," said Colleen
Schenk, president of OPSBA. "Students want to take the technology they use in
their daily lives and integrate it with how they learn. They want their
learning clearly connected to the world beyond the school."
    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 increasing the
quality of teaching and learning.
    Innovative use of technology is proliferating in our schools but it is
not matching keeping pace with the integration of multi-media in the lives of
our students and it is not offering a clear and preferred alternative to the
flexibility of virtual schools. In a very real sense this challenge is not
about machines and devices; it is about what learning should look like. 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?
    Many students feel, however, that when they come into school they have to
"power down" to fit into an environment that offers fewer options for learning
than are available in the life they live outside of the school. This can erode
students' perceptions of the relevance of education as they experience it in
many schools today. At the same time, students need the guidance and
leadership of their teachers in judging the authenticity and worth of the
information so readily available to them.
    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. What is missing is a
comprehensive set of guidelines for all teachers that describe how they would
use technology 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 their own professional development.
    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 make the greatest
impact. OPSBA is asking all those who are concerned with education in the 21st
century, and who are interested in how schools engage with students to prepare
them for success in a highly connected world, to join the discussion.

For further information:

For further information: Jeff Sprang, Communications, (416) 340-2540

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