- June 1, 2021
Our focus as a school is to be reflective of our practice and to celebrate our successes along the way. As a team, we evaluate the quality of our programming by measuring its effectiveness by student success, academic performance levels, student engagement and staff and parental feedback. By reviewing and further enhancing curriculum, it ensures that our students receive the most innovative and practical ex-periences on a day-to-day basis. We are pleased to announce that for the next school year, Ms. Pegi Keeler will be taking the role as Digital Learning Specialist in a full time capacity. She has researched, developed, and supported the faculty this year in the rollout of digital training in Google Classroom, Edwin/Nearpod and other grade-specific alternative programs and applications. Ms. Keeler will contin-ue to mentor our faculty in this regard. Ongoing updates and practical experiences of learning will be shared throughout the school year with our families.
At UMS, we recognize students are “growing up in a digital era” (Tapscott, 1998) with easy real-time access to vast amounts of information, people, and interactive media via the Internet and other Information Communication Technol-ogy or ICT. Our 21st Century Learners are developing a need to be engaged by digital means and to express themselves through digi-tal mediums – aspiring to be digitally fluent.
Did you know that UMS was one of the first elementary schools in Ontario who significantly invested and launched the implementa-tion of the use of Apple iPad digital learning? As public schools explored and implemented the use of Google Chromebooks, we opt-ed to remain using our iPad program due to the superior educational apps at the time and ease of usage for children. Over the last few years, Google’s suite of apps for education digital learning space has developed significantly; therefore, in the 2021/2022 school year, UMS is proud to be launching a 1:1 Chromebook device initiative for Grades 4 to 6, initially. These apps have greatly improved and enhanced the day-to-day learning for students and educators. For this next school year, our Grades 1 to 3 and Grade 7 & 8 stu-dents will remain using the iPads and we continue to research and invest in suitable programs and applications to meet the students’ needs while integrating a balanced approach to learning.
This will enhance our curriculum delivery to prepare students for future roles and occupations in society that may not even currently exist, but to which they will be digitally literate and prepared for in these future roles and responsibilities. UMS is also proud to be launching an innovative and unique ICT Standards document, not as a separate stand-alone program, but rather, as the tool to be used for the enhancement of self-directed learning, collaboration, communication, and creativity in support of the 1:1 device digitally delivered curriculum. This new standard will provide for the higher-order thinking skills of applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creat-ing which are developed when students integrate specific UMS ICT tools to communicate within content areas of the Ontario Curricu-lum. This will lead our students to limitless enhancements in education and academic achievements.
The UMS ICT Standards document is a framework for students and teachers to utilize technology as a tool for teaching and learning. With the overall goal of improving student achievement, the UMS ICT Standards document is a guide to help teachers integrate ICT into the Ontario Curriculum, into teaching practice, and into the students’ repertoire of skills in order to support and enhance continu-ous learning. This UMS standards document offers multiple entry points to accommodate students who span the digital literacy contin-uum and suggests various ICT experiences to prepare our students for the future. This document will also prescribe the skills and the corresponding tools to provide our students with learning opportunities to master skills at certain grade levels. The UMS ICT Stand-ards document will also provide a wide array of methods of delivering of our advanced Curriculum so that the various learning styles of all our students may be met.
Technology is of interest and a common means of communication for today’s student, and therefore, an excellent strategy for student choice and engagement. Integrating digital literacy within the teaching and learning of content, process, product, and environment provides our students with essential skills for work and life.