The Greater Victoria School District (GVSD) in British Columbia has announced an investment of $1.25 million into iPads, Chromebooks and improved wireless infrastructure for students.
By September, over 2,300 new Chromebooks and iPads will be distributed across the entire GVSD, which is made up of 18,000 students across 27 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, and seven secondary schools. As a result, the GSVD says elementary and middle schools will have at least a four to one ratio of students to a tech devices. High schools, meanwhile, will have at least one iPad or Chromebook for every six students.
The devices will be configured and delivered to schools in late August, ahead of back to school time in September.
The addition of the new technology comes as part of a new curriculum which pushes “more collaborative learning environments.” Specifically, the GSVD says that $1 million will be used to purchase 1,770 Chromebooks and 585 iPads. The remaining $250,000 will be put towards improving wireless infrastructure across the District. The GSVD says this investment follows the Technology for Learning initiative kicked off in 2016, which saw 1,600 laptops and iPads provided to teachers and educational assistants. Furthermore, each classroom in the District has since been equipped with a digital projector, screen and speakers.
“Investing in technology opens up more doors for student learning,” said Piet Langstraat, superintendent of the Greater Victoria School District in a press release. “Collaboration and hands-on learning are pillars of the new curriculum. […] “Ensuring our students have access to technology and the skills required to responsibly and effectively harness it is key to their development as lifelong learners and leaders in a global economy.”
“Parents, both individually and via Parent Advisory Council fundraising efforts, have been providing technology to schools for a number of years. The gap between schools where this is successful and others where it is not has created an imbalance in the opportunities for our children throughout the district,” noted Audrey Smith, president of the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils President. Smith added, “VCPAC is pleased to see grant funding provided to the District by the Ministry of Education going toward student use devices. This is a good use of this grant, as it will help to equalize the learning experiences for all students.”