New technology like iPads, smart blackboards and sophisticated social networking applications have made Ontario private schools into awesome educational facilities. I recently attended a theatre performance at a private school north of Toronto that was preceded by a walking tour of the facilities. As many of you know from reading my posts here, I’m a science fiction fan, and I couldn’t help thinking about how much things have changed from back when I went to public school in rural Ontario. These high tech classrooms reminded me of the ‘school deck’ on board the Starship Enterprise – indeed private schools seem to be the Star Fleet Academy of our age!
A recent article on Lilith Galleries Technology eZine, Five Reasons Why Private Schools Will Produce Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders nicely summarizes how Ontario private schools have adopted high tech gadgets as educational tools. But more than just the equipment – which is almost always less than two years old, it’s a well funded faculty’s willingness to experiment with innovation. And this same spirit of adoption is communicated to the students.
Globalization and Technology Are Changing Canadian Classrooms
Many of the printed textbooks in Canadian public schools, even if only a few years old, are already obsolete for the careers of tomorrow. Most private schools require that their students use laptops the entire school day. There are no textbooks to carry home, and no papers to mark as many reports are submitted via email – the instructor is just one instant message away, and so there is more accountability and a dynamic adaptation to today’s business technology. This gives students a much different technological base than those who write and record notes using pen and paper.
International Students make Canadian Schools Special
Private schools are able to tap into a much more diverse array of academic and extracurricular programs than public schools. And the mix of international students is also something that adds to the charm of these institutions. Most Ontario private school offer a variety of exchange programs, courses with a global outlook, and more foreign language classes.
Private School Social Networking Scholars
Private schools have always been unique in creating a sense of community, but now social networks encourage even closer-knit relationships between students. Teacher / student relationships also improve as new communication systems promote mutual respect. The Journal of Educational Psychology noted that students are more likely to perform better on tests when they believe their instructors genuinely care about them.
Technology is changing classrooms all over Canada, but the public education system is less well funded. They don’t have the budget to be bold. Consequently they attract safe thinkers that are secure in what’s been tried, tested and true. That kind of thinking doesn’t produce innovation.