Students in the Greater Victoria School District will have more opportunities to use computers as part of their daily learning environment, with SD61 making a large investment in technology for this fall.
The district plans to purchase more than 2,300 new Chromebooks and iPads for classrooms at all three educational levels, to be available for the start of school in September. The move brings the average ratio of students per computer to four-to-one in elementary and middle schools, and six-to-one in high schools.
“It’s going to be a big step for some of our schools,” said district vice-principal for learning Dave Shortreed, noting that while some schools are at those ratios already, others are basically starting from scratch. “We wanted to make sure that we’re taking care of all schools so each kid has an equal opportunity and access to technology.”
Spending $1 million on computer hardware – 1,770 Chromebooks and 585 iPads – accompanies a $250,000 investment to upgrade wireless infrastructure across the district. SD61 purchased 1,600 laptops and iPads last year as part of the Technology for Learning initiative.
Many of these kinds of purchases in past were paid through fundraisers held by school parent advisory councils.
The goal for this increased investment, Shortreed said, is not only to ensure the computers are used appropriately in the classroom and enhance the teaching of the curriculum, but to better prepare students for their futures.
“They are taking in so much media, that they need to learn how to navigate it, they need to know how to create it, and need to know and see how they can be masters of it for their own end so they can enter this world prepared.”