Over the past couple of months, student technology focus groups have been established at each of the school sites to share their thoughts and give evidence of their activities in the integration of policy direction 1 – student-centered learning from Alberta’s Learning and Technology Policy Framework (LTPF).
This first of five policy directions (see LTPF) shares a vision of student-centred learning where students are engaged, enabled and supported in using various technologies to create, collaborate and demonstrate their knowledge, skills and attitudes.
These focus groups were asked to share how they:
- access, share and create knowledge.
- demonstrate the competencies as outlined in Inspiring Education: think critically, create opportunities, know how to learn, apply multiple literacies, manage information, solve problems, innovate, connect learning to career and life skills, communicate and work collaboratively, understand global citizenship.
- develop and apply digital citizenship and technological skills.
- demonstrate what they know and are able to do, through effectively using a range of resources and media.
Students from grades 3-12 shared their thoughts on the above points. They all emphasized the importance of access to technology when they needed it. If they were checking upon some information, researching a topic, looking for a current events item, using audio or taking video/photos, students wanted to have the technology accessible nearby. Early years students noted that their teachers really guided and modelled how to use the various programs, applications and websites that were made available for them in the learning environment, while middle years and high school students saw more choice in the tools (low to high tech) they could use while demonstrating or gathering their learning.
Parkland is now entering its third year utilizing the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and Blogging (edublogs)
platforms. Students shared their experiences of liking the ability to access their work, collaborating online, having comments from peers and teachers on work through their Google Drive. Others shared their experiences in either sharing their learning experiences to the classroom or their own student blogs via text, audio, images and even video. The Google environment also allows students to access chrome extensions and applications to help them become more confident and independent learners (ie. speech to text/dictation, text to speech, summarizer, word prediction, highlighting, dictionary, thesaurus, translator).
Students continue to be an important voice in how Parkland moves forward in harnessing and supporting student innovation, exploration, discovery