21st century learning; Part IV of a series
WHITEFISH RIVER FIRST NATION—Whitefish River First Nation’s (WRFN) Shawanosowe School is updating its technology with the addition of smart boards, iPads, Apple computers and fibre Internet, thanks to generous donations from Fisher Wavy and Lafarge.
Shawanosowe School held a technology night recently, sharing with parents the changes taking place at the school and recognizing the sponsors that made the new technology possible.
During a tour of the school, WRFN Chief Shining Turtle explained that previously the school only had a small PC computer lab in a multi-purpose room. Teachers had to book classes to use the lab and it was a challenge to incorporate technology into the everyday learning of the students.
“Thanks to the generous contributions from our donors, we are working towards phasing in new technology for the classrooms over three years,” said Chief Shining Turtle, adding that they have now done away with the old computer lab.
The school is currently in phase two of the program, with the school now on a 50 Mbps dedicated fibre-optics service, each classroom is either equipped with a smart board or has access to a portable smart board, and many of the classrooms have new Apple computers and iPads.
Some classrooms still have a mix of PCs and Apple computers/iPads, but moving forward into phase three, all the classrooms will be strictly Apple computers and iPads, allowing the students to all be linked and on the same “harmonized” technology.
“We are teaching the students about the functional use of technology,” continued Chief Shining Turtle. “We want them to understand the usage of technology, how it can enhance their learning and learn about technology time management. A band initiative over the last four years is to give each band member who graduates high school an iPad. With the introduction of this new technology at Shawanosowe, students will be on the forefront of new technology starting at a young age and experience integrated learning from the beginning of their education.”
Shawanosowe School Principal Sherry Miller Martin discussed how the new Wi-Fi high-speed Internet really allowed the school to break out of the computer lab model and bring the technology into the classrooms.
“The students are now able to even go beyond the classroom and connect with other students around the world,” said Ms. Miller Martin. “We are teaching them to be more confident leaders and giving them the tools they need to navigate their future. The teachers are now able to integrate the technology into their learning plans and connect with the students through the devises and the smart board.”
“The technology night is educating parents on what we are doing at the school in terms of technology and learning,” added Ms. Miller Martin. “We are also talking about balancing technology at school and home, as well as technology safety. We have different stations such as technology and language integration through a language app we use with the students, and communication and culture, with a demonstration of how the smart boards work and how we can use them as interactive tools to teach things like the medicine wheel.”
Chief Shining Turtle thanked Shawanosowe School for hosting the event and spoke of how important technology is for student success.
“Whether it is being used as a tool for language, mathematics, reading or science, technology can easily be integrated into our school program,” said the chief. “Technology assists both our students and teaching staff to achieve the learning goals and priorities. While we understand the contributions of technology, like computers, it’s important that we shall not forget to maintain a balanced approach to the use of technology at school and at home.”
“We would not be able to keep up with a rapidly changing world of technology without the generous support of our community partners—Lafarge Canada and Fisher Wavy,” concluded Chief Shining Turtle. “On behalf of WRFN council and the community I want to thank both for their continued support in our Shawanosowe School.”