Northridge elementary students Adam Sutherland

Northridge elementary students Adam Sutherland

Taking technology to Victoria’s classrooms

Northridge elementary in Saanich builds collection of iPads for education

It’s apparent by the screams of excitement that fill the Northridge elementary gymnasium that most students recognize the simple white packaging of an Apple iPad box.

And the enthusiasm just gets progressively louder as another and another and another – six total – brand new iPad gets revealed as a donation to the school, as part of an integration of technology into the classroom.

The school is currently aiming to raise $6,000 through a raffle to buy more of the Apple tablets. But when they approached Future Shop at Uptown for a small raffle donation, the electronics store did one better.

“Our community focus is to connect kids with technology to inspire, motivate and empower them,” said Matt Young, general manager of Future Shop. “We were happy to instead of just giving them a prize to raffle off, give them something a little more significant they can actually use.”

The six new donated iPads and cases brings the school’s tablet collection to 12.

“This technology is their life, it’s what they’re going to face,” principal Terry Edwards said of how receptive students are to integrating iPads into their learning. “This is really moving our teaching practices in line with what these children are going to face in the future.

“Instead of making a handheld device or electronic device something they shouldn’t be bringing to school, let’s talk about the positives and how it can enrich their lives, how they can use it to enhance their learning.”

From downloading spelling and numeracy apps on which kids can learn to read, write and count, to letting them create audio and video book reports, Edwards said he’s looking forward to seeing how the students use the technology to better their education.

The raffle money will be used to buy more iPads (the school aims to have a full class set by the fall) and LCD projectors for each classroom.

“Technology has changed the whole pedagogy of what education is about. What we’re doing is giving kids the tools to explore and use critical thinking for themselves,” Edwards said.

“They can ask questions, they can go that extra step further to find the information, and explore, and find way to use that.”

Raffle tickets – for prizes including an iPod touch, movie passes and meal gift certificates – can be purchased from Northridge school before May 15 by calling 250-479-8293.

kslavin@saanichnews.com