Last week, three SET-BC consultants headed to the majestic Stikine region of northwest BC to introduce a variety of technologies to support and enhance student learning in a Grade 9/10 classroom in Dease Lake School.
Dease Lake School is a K-12 school serving approximately 100 students from the surrounding area. The school may be small but it has great facilities including a modern home economics classroom, full-sized gym and workshop area for woodworking and auto mechanics. The school also includes a pre-school area that is bright and cheery for the youngest of its learners.
These facilities and the rural nature of the school and community allow it to run some very innovative and engaging programs. Last year, the school ran a hunting and trapping course for the older teen students. This course drew a lot of interest from students because hunting for food is integral to their way of life in this part of northwest BC. The course was made possible by a local trapper who volunteered his time to teach the students the essentials of hunting. At the culmination of the course, the students spent a couple of days in the woods and helped the trapper wrangle and hunt a bear. Afterwards, the students helped with skinning and quartering the carcass. It was a great real life and hands-on experience for the students.
Earlier this year, SET-BC began a project with the Dease Lake team and, after several months of planning, recently provided a variety of technologies for the Grade 9/10 classroom. The goal of the project is to support the inclusion of the special needs students in classroom activities and to engage all students in their learning. Over the course of last week, SET-BC consultants worked closely with Brent Cook, the Grade 9/10 classroom teacher, and other school and district staff collaborating on the use of assistive technology software programs like Kurzweil 3000 and Clicker 5 to meet a variety of student learning needs. Time was spent on unit and lesson planning that included technological supports.
Brent is now eager to present his lessons on the interactive Smart Board. He will model how to use Kurzweil 3000’s study skills tools to highlight main ideas and supporting facts, to highlight and extract new vocabulary words, and to use the built-in dictionary to look up definitions. Students will use iPads for online research and group note taking activities. Brent is also looking forward to accessing alternate formats from ARC-BC to support his students with perceptual disabilities.
The entire teaching staff was invited to participate in Tuesday and Thursday lunch time and after school professional development opportunities. These sessions covered topics such as an overview of software programs that can support literacy in the classroom, strategies for integrating technology into the classroom, and the possibilities of using district licensed software programs like Inspiration and Comic Life to engage and enhance students’ learning. The staff came away from these sessions refreshed and inspired to incorporate technology into their lessons.
We are excited to be part of this project and look forward to seeing how the Dease Lake team will bring 21st century strategies to the Grade 9/10 classroom and how the students will use the power of technology to support and enhance their learning.