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New technology makes learning exciting

Sarah Huestis (left), a grade 12 student at Bluefield High School, takes class notes on an iPad.

Students learn and retain more information when they’re excited about the way they’re being taught.
Evidence shows when technology is integrated in school curriculum students are more motivated and get better results.

Just ask Sara Huestis, a Grade 12 student at Bluefield High School. She is excited about making her school projects more interactive and interesting by using new technology now available at school.

Government invests $8 million for technology in learning

Bluefield students use technology

The recent announcement of an $8 million investment in Internet technology in Island classrooms means students like Huestis are becoming more active participants in their education. Her most recent school project showcased an interactive slide show, sound effects and pie graphs she made herself.

Technology is the way of the world and having more and faster access to it in school helps students keep their competitive edge, she says.

“It makes me feel like I have that advantage,” said Heustis. “It’s comforting for me to use an iPad in class and I’ve seen the improvements in confidence levels.”

In the next few months, all 65 Island schools will have instant access to high-speed Internet. This portal to the rest of the world gives students and teachers access to real-life experts in real time, making learning more meaningful.

It gives teachers limitless opportunities to adapt the curriculum and reach diverse groups of learners with different learning styles.

Teachers can upload class information for students to refer back to when they’re doing their homework. In a knowledge-based economy technological skills are essential.

Bluefield teacher Jeff Carragher said that students in his Information Technology and Communication class learn how to develop PowerPoint presentations and use basic Microsoft Office applications which will help them when it comes time to impress their boss with a snappy presentation in a board room.

“Kids these days are pretty savvy,” Carragher said. “Students have a lot of skills coming in but a good knowledge of those common, every day programs is really beneficial in the long run. There are moments when students enjoy doing animation or computer programming and they’ll see that it might be something they would like to pursue. We start learning how to do coding and formula writing and they see the power of it. It sparks an interest.”

Carragher says teachers are also learning better ways to teach with new technology.

“It’s absolutely changed everything,” he said. “The things teachers can do with SmartBoards today, we couldn’t do five years ago. Things like applets, demonstrations, online video – it makes our life a lot easier.”

Thanks to a partnership with the Government of Prince Edward Island and Eastlink, work will begin over the coming months to bring high-speed Internet and other online digital resources and tools to all 65 Island schools.
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