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Sudbury Catholic Schools Director to Speak at CASA Leadership Conference in Halifax

June 24, 2008 - Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, Catherine McCullough has been invited to speak at the Canadian Association of School Administrators (CASA) Summer Leadership Academy Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 10 to 13, 2008. The theme of this year’s national conference is “Literacy-Lighting the Way.”

Mrs. McCullough’s discussion will focus on the Sudbury Catholic District School Board’s extensive commitment to technology with respect to the introduction and rapid expansion of its “One to One” Apple laptop program in its elementary and secondary schools since 2002 and more specifically with the boys’ literacy program.

Sudbury Catholic Schools “Technology has quickly transformed the world around us,” states McCullough. “We know that our students need to develop different skills sets in order to live, learn and work in this digital age. As a school board in Northeastern Ontario, we decided to meet this challenge head on.” By meeting this challenge head on, McCullough is referring to the “One to One” laptop program in all of its Grade 7 and 8 classrooms, a program that was unique in the province of Ontario. Realizing that boys are visual learners and respond more positively to visual images that accelerate learning, the board is using computers and technology to support the success of this program. “We have especially observed success in the area of enhancing and engaging Boys’ Literacy through the introduction of our One to One Laptop Program,” said McCullough. “Boys thrive on the visual language of television, cartoons, and video games. Similarly, boys respond well when presented with the opportunity to present their ideas and written work using charts, flow diagrams, and other visual forms.”

Research also suggests that boys respond positively to images because boys are more oriented to visual/spatial learning. As a result, visual images accelerate boys’ learning.
(Daly, 2002, p. 16) Educators and parents may have been too quick to dismiss boys’ preoccupation with computers as a diversion from their own book-based literacy, not recognizing the computer’s capacity to empower users to gain access to, and control of, information. It is imperative that educators and parents be aware of the impact of the multimedia world, and understand the positive ways in which these new languages and cultures can be harnessed as adjuncts to book-based literacy. (Millard, 1997, p. 46)

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