Education Minister Madeleine DubÃ© today announced the selection of six schools – three each from the anglophone and francophone school sectors — to take part in the Dedicated Notebook Computer Research Project, beginning in September 2004.
The francophone schools selected are: Ã‰cole Abbey-Landry, District 1, in Memramcook (rural); Centre d’apprentissage du Haut-Madawaska, District 3, in Clair (rural); and Ã‰cole Le Tremplin, District 9, in Tracadie-Sheila (urban).
The anglophone schools are: Harry Miller Middle School, District 6, in Rothesay (urban); Grand Manan Community School, District 10, in Grand Manan (rural); and Nashwaaksis Middle School, District 18, in Fredericton (urban).
DubÃ© said 24 schools applied to take part in the research project.
“Clearly, our schools recognize that dedicated computer access will allow students and teachers to access and process the most up-to-date information to support learning and teaching, while improving computer competencies,” she said. “We had so many applications – and all good ones – that we decided to conduct the research project in six schools rather than the four we had been seeking.”
DubÃ© said New Brunswick schools are already leaders in the use of information and communications technology to support learning and teaching.
“We have computers in virtually every classroom,” DubÃ© said. “We have connected every school with high-speed bandwidth – the first province in Canada to have achieved this milestone. And we are providing more and more online courses to our students and to our teachers – almost 40 courses now and 60 by September 2005.”
The actions and investments to date have resulted in New Brunswick teachers and students being ‘technology savvy’.
“The Dedicated Notebook Computer initiative is a natural extension of what we have been doing in our schools in recent years to incorporate the use of technology into our classrooms,” DubÃ© said.
The Education Minister said the research project will allow the Department of Education to determine how computer technology can best be used to further support learning and teaching.
“Research elsewhere has shown that providing dedicated computer access can have a significant positive impact on student learning and teaching practices,” she said. “I believe this initiative can play a significant role in achieving our Quality Learning Agenda goal of seeing our children and our schools achieve at a higher level – one that puts them in the top three nationally and internationally.”
Researchers from two New Brunswick universities – UniversitÃ© de Moncton and Mount Allison University – will evaluate the project’s impact on learning and teaching.
“We will work with our post-secondary partners to undertake a study to assess the impact of dedicated computer access on teaching practices, the learning environment, and student motivation and achievement,” DubÃ© said. “During the research project, information will be obtained from students, teachers, school and district administrators, and parents.”
The research project will be carried out over two years. The first year will involve Grade 7 students and teachers in the selected schools. In the second year, those students will continue in the pilot project as they move into Grade 8 while a second cohort of incoming Grade 7 students from the same schools will also take part.
The selected schools will have dedicated access to a technology mentor who will work on pedagogical issues with participating teachers as well as technical support.
The Dedicated Notebook Computer initiative is one of the 71 actions in the Quality Learning Agenda for the public school system. The Department of Education has budgeted $1.1 million in 2004-05 for the pilot project.