French Catholic School Board Enhancing Technological Capabilities

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell

The French Catholic School Board (Conseil Scolaire Catholic Providence) announced this week multiple technological initiatives aimed at improving access to numerous education apps, connectivity, communication between schools and online learning.

The board, which oversees much of southwestern Ontario outside of the Greater Toronto Area, will begin by introducing Google’s education platform April 23 for all staff.

Next year, the board will add Google’s many other education apps for students.

“There are a number of staff and students who already have Google e-mail accounts and it makes it easier to integrate with the school,” Joseph Picard, the board’s director of education.

“By using the web it makes it easier to facilitate communication and collaboration at a variety of levels. You will no longer have to worry about operating systems or if you have Microsoft Word.

“Whether you have an Ipad, a Samsung phone or another tablet, everyone will be able to access things.”

In addition, the board will introduce Compass for Success which will create the platforms to allow the board to analyze and breakdown large amounts of data to encourage students’ success.

“We’ll be able to better develop strategies for success for different students,” Picard said.

The Studios for Education Hub concept will improve communication abilities through the web.

It will allow the board to offer simultaneous communication at everyone one of its schools. It will be particularly useful in aiding online learning

“We tried a pilot project having students do a course through the system in a virtual classroom taking place elsewhere,” Picard said. “The feedback was very positive.

“It will allow us to offer a course to students in schools where it’s not offered. It’s another teaching and learning opportunity.”

With technology playing an increasing role, a Tech Help Desk will be created for the board.

All technical issues will be filed and forwarded to the appropriate area for support.

“We’ll be able to track and see how effective we are in our efforts at resolving problems,” Picard said.

Picard said the board will also soon move to having the schools’ traditional libraries moved to what he called a ‘learning common.’

The centralized area will allow the various electronic devices students and staff are using to access library and web-based resources.

“We’ll announce soon the two schools we’ll start with,” Picard said. “These changes will better position us to enhance the learning experience.”

The changes will made at all the board’s schools.

Locally the French Catholic board has 13 elementary schools and L’Essor and E.J. Lajeunesse secondary schools.