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Local Catholic board outlines technology impact in new video

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A new video has been released highlighting the impact of technology in the classrooms of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.

The video, entitled “The Impact of Learning Technologies,” was a collaboration with the Kenora Catholic District School Board and is the culmination of an eight-month study on student learning.

The video was debuted at each board's November meeting last Tuesday, then was released to the public the next day on both boards' Facebook pages and the Kenora board's YouTube page.

The short, four-minute video consists of students using technology in their lessons, along with commentary and testimonials from teachers and students of both boards.

During the meeting here in Fort Frances, MISA data co-ordinator Mike Belluz, Student Success tech coach Lisa George, and Information Systems manager Colin Drombolis presented the video to trustees, along with some background information.

Belluz told trustees that by working with the Kenora board, they were able to survey roughly 800 students and 150 teachers to see what kinds of lessons make a positive impact on students and their achievement.

“One of our goals was to increase the student access to diverse technologies,” George told the board.

This included last year's pilot project for an after-school program at St. Francis, which introduced students to new technologies and focused on coding, innovation, and problem-solving.

“We had overwhelming success the first year and decided to expand the project into the other schools in the board,” noted George, adding they also wanted these opportunities in every classroom, not just the clubs.

“One of the interesting things that we saw was that when students were left to explore, innovation and problem-solving came very naturally to them,” she said.

Drombolis added students reported that using this technology improved their research skills, as well as their ability to create new projects, explore new ideas, collaborate, and organize their work and thought process.

Following the presentation, trustee Anne-Marie Fitzgerald told the trio the board always enjoys when they give a presentation because it loves seeing what's going on with technology in the classrooms.

“It's always fascinating and you can tell the kids are just so enthusiastic to learn,” she added.

Board chair David Sharp quipped that he was born too early because he didn't get to enjoy any of these kinds of fun things.

“Reading, writing, and arithmetic, that was it,” he laughed.

Also at last Tuesday's meeting, Cathy Piotrowski was welcomed as the board's newest trustee.

She is filling the vacancy left when Deacon Bob Grynol moved from Fort Frances in October.

Because Grynol had left before the end of his term, the board had to appoint a new trustee within 90 days to fill his place.

During last month's board meeting held Oct. 17, the decision was made to ask Piotrowski since she was a candidate in the last trustee election.

Although she was not elected, the board felt she was suited for the position.

Piotrowski accepted and the appointment was confirmed by the other trustees at the beginning of last week's meeting, when she also took her oath of office.

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