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Walker, MacKenzie pilot project ready to take flight


J.W. Walker and Alexander MacKenzie here have received $700,000 to implement a technological pilot project, the Rainy River District School Board announced at its regular meeting last night.

“The goal is to create a Walker/MacKenzie home school community,” said principal Cauleen Stanley, who made a presentation at the meeting along with Superintendent of Education Terry Ellwood.

“I’m so excited about this,” she enthused. “The government works with a number of education stakeholders to draw out the best examples in the educational applications of Information and Communication Technology [ICT], and have chosen Walker/MacKenzie as one of [five] schools standing as role models.”

The funding will pay for software and hardware, as well as establish broader objectives, such as:

•outstanding innovation and best practice that can be replicated throughout the province;

•successful implementation of significant change through the introduction of ICT;

•the ability to work with the community; and

•success in the establishment and maintenance of effective partnerships with private or public sector organizations.

“We’re moving well into the future in the world of technology and communications,” Ellwood had said previously.

“It’s going to go much beyond [the school’s current Web page],” he stressed. “Students will be able to get into their own school work from home. All the information they could get at the school, they can get at home.”

“The very real things you’ll be seeing are students using wireless laptops, taking laptop computers home from school, parent upload/download files, a means to report to parents, electronic student portfolios, and an extension of our home pages, which are already very good,” noted Stanley.

“This is about having parents work with their children directly--it removes the walls of the schools because they’ll be able to work at home,” she added.

Education Director Warren Hoshizaki thanked trustees for supporting efforts in the technological direction, thereby leading Walker/MacKenzie to this point.

“Their support for the increase in access to computers through new labs in all schools, integrated software purchases, video conferencing, and increased infrastructure show leadership in the technology area,” he remarked.

ICT also will extend professional development for teachers.

Stanley noted planning and purchasing will start in the next month, and the ICT project should be fully implemented by the end of February.

The ministry will use data of the project’s success to help establish more of these operations in the future. Part of the project also is to integrate ICT into the new curriculum.

The project will be supported by Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, which also will study it for educational research purposes.

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