Iron Ore Company of Canada donates 60 iPads to Labrador school
No more pencils, no more books, and no more teachers in Labrador West wondering how to keep their students engaged in the classroom.
© Photo by Ty Dunham/The Aurora
J.R. Smallwood Middle School Grade 7 students, from left, Kate Callahan, Felicity Stead, Colin Maddox and Justin Tetford play a dice game as they work out math equations and double-check the results on the schoolâs new iPads, donated by IOC.
The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) donated $40,000 to supply 60 tablet computers for J.R. Smallwood Middle School students to learn interactively. The iPads are made by Apple Inc.
The students have a number of apps at their disposal for a variety of classes, such as learning fractions with pies in math class. Students can work out their answers and scan a Quick Response (QR) code similar to a barcode to check their answers or share their discoveries with the class on the Smart Board. Educational games may also be available to students at the teacherâs discretion.
Grade 7 student Nick Travers is no stranger to technology, already familiar with his own iPad at home. But that doesnât mean they will be boring at school.
Classmate Kinsley Cormier agreed.
âIt makes things easier. Itâs sometimes fun, depending on what we use them for. When we use them for music and stuff itâs fun, and it makes math easier and fun.â
An important resource
Students arenât the only benefactors. Grade 7 teacher Kathleen Parker said the iPads help her keep the students focused.
âIâm one person, I have 17 people in the room that I have to take care of. The iPads are like having another teacher in the room with me. If thereâs not an answer that I can give them right away they can search for it and have instant feedback with the QR codes.
âItâs helpful on a number of levels,â she said.
Providing the students with the latest technology is a natural step, she said.
âThis is their medium. Technology is second nature to them; they use it in their social lives and for entertainment. And it makes sense to integrate it into the classroom because theyâre going to be more engaged with it. If theyâre more engaged in their lessons theyâre comprehending better.â
Students who miss a class can easily catch up on the work, keeping them from falling behind the rest of the class.
âIf a child misses a presentation I can upload it onto the website so things like notes or a presentation can be looked at.â
Parker said the students are used to the instant feedback the iPads provide, and itâs making her job more effective.
âThereâs no behavioral problems because they want to be working with them, they love the opportunities to use it.â
Technology here to stay
Addressing the concerns of students spending too much time in front of media screens, IOCâs director of external relations, Heather Bruce-Veitch, said the company has invested in a variety of projects, balancing the needs of students.
âAt one of the schools we did a green space and thatâs recognizing healthy activity outdoors. This time itâs recognizing healthy activity with the use of technology.â
Bruce-Veitch said thereâs no denying the continuing increase of technology, and students need to be prepared for it.
âWe believe investing in the community, particularly in the field of education, means weâre creating stronger students, and that makes for better citizens in Labrador West and better employees.â
The students may even learn without realizing the work theyâre putting into it, she said.
âItâs amazing. I know young children use iPads but to actually see them in class doing math in so many creative ways, it was like watching kids play and at the same time they were obviously learning. I think theyâre forgetting how much theyâre gaining in terms of learning because theyâre so engaged.â
As gadgets continue to replace paper and pens, Bruce-Veitch said itâs a different classroom than what she learned in.
âMath was not my favourite subject, I would have loved to have learned in a creative way like that. I think itâs going to be fun to see whoâs teaching who. The kids seem to be as informed on the use of the iPad as some of the teachers so I think thereâs going to be some real good teamwork.â