Press Releases

ORION report: Helping solve digital challenges in Ontario classrooms

Click here to view this press release as a PDF.

Toronto, March 10, 2015 – In a report released today by the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), teachers across Ontario’s school boards voiced feedback on how connectivity impacts the use of digital tools in their classrooms. The major findings include advancements and challenges teachers are facing today, and ORION is poised to support educators’ future work in a technological age, with key recommendations.

The new report, “Teachers Speak: Technology in the Classroom,” is the result of a survey that directly engaged Ontario-based kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) teachers to explore their experiences with classroom connectivity, access to technology and the implications of limited technology in the classroom. Conducted by ORION, teachers representing a wide cross-section of Ontario’s school boards completed the survey; ORION received 235 responses.

Limited resources is a prominent theme that emerged from the findings, as access to digital tools (devices and software applications) seemed heavily influenced by the school’s socio-economic contexts. Teachers also indicated that they require on-demand IT support to ensure that classrooms are fully operational. Furthermore, 75.2 per cent of teachers were not aware of the digital resources available to them. When Ontario teachers were asked to rate their classrooms’ access to the Internet, only 22.5 per cent responded that it was “excellent.”

“In order to prepare students for the future, classrooms need connectivity,” says Darin Graham, president and CEO, ORION. “We want to help local school boards obtain better access to technological resources to support learning, and create future leaders for Ontario’s innovation economy.”

“While this report identifies a desire for increased connectivity, it also demonstrates that Ontario teachers are using a wide array of hardware and apps to enhance teaching and learning, inside and outside classrooms today,” says Karen Grose, vice president of digital education at TVO and member of ORION’s board of directors. “Teachers recognize that technology is a tool to support sound pedagogical practice, and that these tools both empower student voice and enable learners to demonstrate their learning, anytime and anywhere, through any preferred learning modality.”

Based on the survey results, ORION identified solutions for consideration, which will help address teachers’ issues. From ensuring student access to high-quality content, to teacher access to applications in the classroom, the results will contribute to ORION’s long-term strategic plan to support innovation and help tackle technological roadblocks in Ontario.

Additionally, as a result of the survey, ORION awarded math and science teacher Heather Theijsmeijer from Manitoulin Secondary School, Rainbow District School Board, 30 UbiSlate tablets and online collaborative community software for her classroom. ORION is committed to working with educators to understand how technological changes will affect learning outcomes in the classroom.

To download a PDF of the report, click here.

As Ontario’s backbone of innovation, the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is one of the largest research, education and innovation (RE&I) networks in the world. We connect all of Ontario’s universities, most colleges, several teaching hospitals, public research facilities and a growing number of Ontario’s school boards to one another and to a global RE&I network. In addition to providing one of the world’s fastest broadband connections, we are a research and innovation partner for our members. Through our technology and support, ORION constantly strives to keep Ontario on the leading edge of innovation.

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For further information, contact:

Cathy Bogaart
Director, Marketing and Communications
Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION)
Office: 416.507.9860 ext. 250
Mobile: 416.558.9546