Technology Use and Its Influence on Education and Learning

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Canadians’ Monthly Internet Use
The 2014 Factbook of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) reports:

  • Canada is one of the most ‘wired’ countries in the world. In 2013, nearly 87% of Canadian households were connected to the Internet, up from 80% in 2010. This ranks Canada 16th globally in terms of Internet penetration.
  • 84% of Ontario households are connected to the Internet.
  • A ‘digital divide’ exists: 95% of Canadians in the highest income quartile are connected to the Internet, yet only 62 per cent in the lowest income quartile have Internet access.
  • Canadians lead the world in Internet usage. In 2013 on average, Canadians visited 3,731 web pages per month, the highest rate in the world.
  • Canadians spend an average of 41.3 hours per month online, ranking us a close second to the United States. The majority of this time is spent in portals, social networking and entertainment.

Source: Canadian Internet Registration Authority
Retrieved From: http://www.cira.ca/factbook/2014/index.html

Statistics Canada 2011 data shows that those individuals with access to the internet at home in St. Catharines-Niagara CMA (census metropolitan area) has increased from 74.2% in 2010 to 82.7% in 2012. (Note: does not include Grimsby and West Lincoln)

Canadian Internet Use Survey: Internet Use for Canada, Provinces and Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) The data below is a part of CANSIM table 358-0152.

  • occasional (percent)
  • Location of use= Internet use from any location
  • Age group= Total, individuals aged 16 years and over
  • Household income quartile= Total, household income quartiles
Geography 2010 2012
Canada 80.3 83.4
Ontario 81.2 84.4
St. Catharines-Niagara, Ontario 68.4 82.3

 

 

Canadian Internet Use Survey: Internet Use, by Age Group for Canada, Provinces and Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

  • occasional (percent)
  • Location of use= Internet use from any location
  • Household income quartile= Total, household income quartiles
Geography Age group 2010 2012
Canada Individuals aged 16 to 24 years 97.5 98.6
Individuals aged 25 to 44 years 93.0 95.5
Individuals aged 45 to 64 years 80.1 83.8
Individuals aged 65 years and over 40.2 47.5
Ontario Individuals aged 16 to 24 years 97.5 98.7
Individuals aged 25 to 44 years 91.6 95.3
Individuals aged 45 to 64 years 82.0 85.4
Individuals aged 65 years and over 43.4 49.2
St. Catharines-Niagara, Ontario [35539] Individuals aged 16 to 24 years 100.0 100.0
Individuals aged 25 to 44 years 72.3 95.8
Individuals aged 45 to 64 years 72.9 80.3
Individuals aged 65 years and over 44.9 51.5

 

 

Canadian Internet Use Survey: Internet Use, by Household Income for Canada, Provinces and Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) The data below is a part of CANSIM table 358-0152

  • occasional (percent)
  • Location of use= Internet use from any location
  • Age group= Total, individuals aged 16 years and over
Geography Household income quartile 2010 2012
Canada Lowest quartile household income 59.2 62.5
Second quartile household income 73.4 77.8
Third quartile household income 85.5 90.2
Highest quartile household income 94.3 94.5
Ontario Lowest quartile household income 62.8 65.5
Second quartile household income 75.0 77.9
Third quartile household income 82.8 88.5
Highest quartile household income 94.0 94.6
St. Catharines-Niagara, Ontario [35539] Lowest quartile household income 56.7 63.3
Second quartile household income 64.2 81.0
Third quartile household income 66.5 89.2
Highest quartile household income 89.4 95.7
Canadian Internet use survey, Internet use, by age group and household income for Canada, provinces and census metropolitan areas (CMAs), occasional (Percent),  2010 to 2012 SEE ABOVE Description 358-0152
Canadian Internet use survey, Internet use, by age group, Internet activity, sex, level of education and household income, occasional (Percent),  2010 to 2012 Description 358-0153
Canadian Internet use survey, Internet use, by location of use, household income and age group for Canada and regions, occasional (Percent),  2010 to 2012 Description 358-0154
Canadian Internet use survey, Internet use, by age group, frequency of use and sex, occasional (Percent),  2010 to 2012 Description 358-0155
Canadian Internet use survey, household access to the Internet at home, by household income quartile, Canada and provinces, occasional (Percent),  2010 to 2012 Description 358-0167

 

Digital Learning in Ontario Schools
The 2014 People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools includes the following facts about digital learning:

  • In 99% of Ontario elementary and secondary schools, students have access to computers.
  • 79% of Ontario elementary schools report students start using computers in kindergarten.
  • In 36% of elementary and 25% of secondary schools, principals report that teachers are most likely to use free online resources when they need new learning resources.
  • 17% of elementary schools report that most or all teachers are using a blog to communicate with parents or students.

Source: People for Education
Retrieved From: http://www.peopleforeducation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/annual-report-2014-WEB.pdf

Schools’ Use of the Internet and Social Media
Educational institutions in Niagara are increasingly utilizing the internet and social media to promote access to programs. Both the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) and Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB) provide information about programs and services on their websites. Elementary and secondary schools have school websites which provide information through social media to school communities.

Source: DSBN and NCDSB
Retrieved From: www.dsbn.edu.on.ca and www.niagaracatholic.ca

Teaching Niagara Students about Cyber Bullying and Healthy Relationships
Safe and Accepting Schools is the Ontario Ministry of Education’s anti-bullying plan. Cyberbullying is cited as one form of bullying, as follows:

“Bullying is defined as a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance”.

Schools are encouraged to use this opportunity to explain the different forms bullying can take. These include:

  • Physical – hitting, shoving, stealing or damaging property
  • Verbal – name calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist or homophobic comments
  • Social – excluding others from a group or spreading gossip or rumours about them
  • Electronic (commonly known as cyberbullying) – spreading rumours and hurtful comments through the use of cellphones, e-mail, text messaging and social networking sites

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education
Retrieved From: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools/prevention.html

Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Prevention Initiatives in Niagara Schools
In Niagara, schools have co-curricular activities and clubs that focus on safety and cyberbullying. Schools highlight the topic during Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in November. Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB) schools have produced videos about cyberbullying, which are posted on the Board’s website.

The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) has launched a safety program named “Life on Line” in Grades 4-8, to teach young students how to use social media and the internet safely and responsibly. The program is being delivered at each DSBN elementary school over a three year period.

Source: NCDSB and DSBN
Retrieved From: http://www.niagaracatholic.ca/bullying-prevention/ and http://www.dsbn.edu.on.ca/

eLearning and Blended Learning on the Rise in Niagara
E-learning and blended learning courses offer flexible ways to meet students’ learning needs, capture their interest, and support them in directing where they want to go with their education.

The following are the Desire2Learn (D2L) login attempts from teachers and students in the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) eLearning enrollment (for both day-school and summer school), from September 2013 to February 2014.

DSBN eLearning and Blended Learning Usage Report: D2L Student and Teacher Login Attempts (Sept 2013 – Feb. 2014)

DSBN eLearning and Blended Learning Usage Report

During this period, login attempts increased from approximately 100,000 to 175,000 – roughly a 17% increase in a 6-month period.

Between the 2009/10 and 2012/13 school years, the number of sections in DSBN eLearning enrollment has increased approximately 146%, and enrollment has increased approximately 300%. These increases show that DSBN efforts to provide students with online learning opportunities are achieving promising results.

DSBN eLearning enrollment (includes both Day School and Summer School data)

2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
# of Sections 13 19 24 32
Enrollment 231 394 612 926

 

DSBN eLearning enrollment

Reference: Data provided by Chris Freure, District eLearning Coordinator, DSBN

Innovation Hub (iHub)
iHub, launched in September, 2014, is a partnership between the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), Brock University and Innovate Niagara. It connects ten original start-up educational technology companies directly to students and teachers, who provide crucial insight and feedback on products being developed. The companies are supported by Innovate Niagara, and have the ability to develop and validate their software in a classroom setting.

The intent of locating the iHub in the K-12 DSBN Academy in St. Catharines is to ‘encourage innovative entrepreneurship as a viable career path among youth, and provide a direct link for new business ventures to draw upon the talent and enthusiasm of the emerging generation.’

Source: District School Board of Niagara News Release
Retrieved From: http://www.dsbn.edu.on.ca/Communications/news-release.aspx?id=17511

Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara (IIC@N)
Niagara College received provincial funding in 2013 to help build the Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara (IIC@N), a facility with labs, specialized equipment and meeting areas where faculty and students will assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers with research and development to solve operational challenges. Niagara’s more than 850 manufacturers will have the opportunity to leverage the centre, and students will gain valuable experience and industry knowledge.

Source: Niagara College
Retrieved From: http://www.niagaracollege.ca/content/News/tabid/3508/EntryId/2108/Province-of-Ontario-commits-support-to-new-industry-innovation-centre-at-Niagara-College.aspx

Blended Learning
Blended learning, sometimes referred to as hybrid learning, refers to a method of education that includes both in-person and online learning. Blended learning methods are student-centered and flexible in terms of students’ and schools’ use of time and resources. These methods are increasingly utilized by educators in Niagara, and the uptake by students is also increasing.

Contact North is a non-profit corporation funded by the Government of Ontario that provides a learning portal for faculty and instructors, launched in 2010. The portal is a resource for post-secondary educators in Ontario to find the latest information on new technology and new developments in online learning.

Innovations at both Niagara College and Brock, in supporting post-secondary instructors to effectively offer blended learning courses, are highlighted on the Contact North portal:

Niagara College has been providing a course to support instructors in redesigning their courses for hybrid delivery since 2009. The course integrates face-to-face instruction with online activities so that they have the same learning experiences as their future students in hybrid courses.

Source: Contact North
Retrieved From: http://contactnorth.ca/pockets-innovation/learning-doing

Brock University has created an online learning environment for a community of practice for part-time facilitators teaching courses offered on-site and online, to students enrolled in part-time programs leading to a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education and a Certificate in Adult Education. The community of practice helps to connect, motivate, and support a widely-dispersed network of facilitators across the province, as well as support standardization and quality of the courses.

Source: Contact North
Retrieved From: http://contactnorth.ca/pockets-innovation/facilitator-community-practice

Public Libraries’ Role in Strengthening Citizens’ Digital Literacy
‘Third Generation Public Libraries’, a 2008 report for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture states “in communities large and small, public libraries have a strong role in literacy and learning, innovation, community, and prosperity”. The report highlights public libraries’ potential to be further leveraged in supporting literacy (including digital literacy), student success, youth at risk, early childhood learning, health promotion and prevention, economic development and addressing Ontario’s changing demographic profile in terms of program focus on the elderly, persons with disabilities, newcomers, and marginalized people.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Retrieved From: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/newmanreport.shtml

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