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Technology to be Ramped Up in all Langley Public Schools

The Langley School District wants to put laptops in the hands of every teacher, iPads accessible for students and make every school wireless by June 2015.

The digital landscape is ever changing, and Langley School District plans to keep up with a new and bold three-year technology plan. Trustees have agreed to spend $250,000 for technological upgrades that will bring wireless to every school and create a common minimum standard of technology so every school is on equal ground.

That could mean projectors and speakers in every classroom and a laptop for every teacher by 2015.

When it comes to technology there is inequity and lack of consistency from school to school, said Claire Guy, assistant superintendent of schools, who was in charge of creating the new district technology plan.

“We want all our schools to have equal opportunity,” said Guy.

The goal is to have wireless in every high school by June 2014 and in every elementary and middle school by June 2015. Currently 18 Langley schools have sporadic wireless, in that it doesn’t work in all parts of the school. In 10 schools, they have slow internet connections.

A steering committee will meet with teachers, students, administration and special education assistants to find out what their needs are.

“We felt it was really important all schools have a minimum standard of technology.We recognize there is inequity between schools,” said Guy.

The goal is to have projectors and speakers in every classroom and a laptop for every teacher. The goal is to have 30 iPads for every school with Kindergarten to Grade 5, and an additional 15 for K-7 schools. Some PACs have fundraised and bought iPads already, Guy recognizes.

Langley students are increasingly using iPads and iPhones to do school work and access course material.

Langley students are increasingly using iPads and iPhones to do school work and access course material. Photo Credit: Millie McKinnon

With many secondary students bringing their own iPhones or iPads to school, the district is looking at ways to synchronize school lessons onto the technology they bring in. It will also look at how to support those who can’t afford a device.There will have to be discussions around bandwidth and making sure there are places students can charge their devices.

There will be staff development around technology, Guy promised. There are many teachers that are very tech savvy and there are others who aren’t, she said. There also needs to be tech support staff available when wireless goes down and programs fail. Staff have to be able to address the issue in a timely matter.

It’s a three-year plan and one that is likely to change, Guy said.

“Because technology is always changing, it has to be a living plan,” she said.

Some trustees asked if it is better to lease devices rather than buy them. With Apple technology, like iPhones, a new version comes out nearly every six months.

“Putting technology in schools is great but if people don’t know how to use it there is no point without staff development,” said Trustee Alison McVeigh.

Source: Langley Times –  Monique Tamminga

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