On the occasion of Summit on the iPad, held on 1er Last May in Montreal, the Director General of the Sorel-Tracy CS, Alain Laberge, spoke about the essential administrative elements surrounding the massive deployment of iPad tablets undertaken in his community in 2011-2012.
From the outset, Alain Laberge, Director General of the Sorel-Tracy School Board, provided a technological portrait of his organization in 2011-2012. “The CS had no wireless network and had old labs with old computers. The technicians were working day and night! The need to attack the problem was obvious. “Our goal was to stop seeing laboratories as a place where we play or draw, to consider them as a real educational place. The establishment of a wireless network was imminent then and they recognized that they needed to invest in technology and infrastructure.
The only concern, if it is rather easy to say that we want to move forward, there is a whole step to take before realizing it. “We asked ourselves a lot of questions, like what equipment are we going to buy, does the research support our choice, what money are we going to use, which schools and which levels will benefit first, who will be our partners, what infrastructure will we need, what will we do in terms of staff development… ”They decided to start with a pilot project with the Apple iPad tablet in order to obtain data, both technical and educational, to convince administrators. In fact, apart from the Eastern Townships School Board and the Francophone School Board of British Columbia, few similar organizations were able to provide convincing information.
The 4-month pilot project therefore started with 4 groups of 1time and 2e closed-type secondary school (i.e. in which the students are always together, as in elementary school), i.e. 2 groups from the International Education Program (MYP) and 2 others on a special path. A total of 90 students (as many advanced students as in difficulty) and 14 teachers were able to respond to the end-of-project survey, in order to collect data and testify on the positive points and those to be improved.
“Obviously, after only four months, we couldn't tell if academic success was on the rise, but we wanted to see if the students were interested,” says Laberge. “We believe that if the child is interested in school, the correlation with success will be made. The results highlighted the fact that children in difficulty were particularly interested in the project.
With these results, they toured partners (commissioners, unions, management) and schools to meet teachers and support staff. They also met the parents. "We had to explain to them that it is not a bébelle. The iPad will not manage the class, there will always be a teacher. »Alain Laberge and his team had to answer many questions concerning discipline in the classroom. “It was necessary to remember that in the past, you could spend hours writing poems or drawing in your diary. With the iPad, it happens too, but it's not worse than before. "
Beyond this process, the School Board had to review its policy on the use of ICT: it was necessary to determine what to do in the event of a broken device, for example. It has also established a code of conduct for students.
To date, 1,321 iPad tablets have been distributed to students in grades 6e year to 2e secondary school in the school board.
The key to success, according to Alain Laberge, is the consensus of the various partners regarding the project. It is also necessary to clearly establish the responsibilities incumbent on each individual and to adequately train the staff.
Tomorrow, we will review the staff training strategy for this vast project, supported by local RÉCIT facilitator Steve Morissette.
To see: The complete presentation of Messrs Alain Laberge and Steve Morissette on the occasion of the 1er Summit on the iPad in Eastern Education available online.
Read also : Feedback on the 1st Summit on the iPad at school