North Sands brings computers into the classroom


North Sands Learning Academy based inside Chartwell Country Estate started the year off in a novel way and introduced computers into the classroom for everyday use.

The remedial school, with 46 students and eight full-time teachers, embraced using technology as a tool for learning in a new way. Teachers and schoolchildren have started using programmes such as My Top Dog to augment traditional forms of teaching among schoolchildren who suffer from learning difficulties such as dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

The school has classes from grades one to seven and My Top Dog is used in grades four to seven, while the younger grades use other programmes which are more interactive and age appropriate.

“The school always had a computer centre in a separate room,” explained Maxine Stewart, principal of the academy. “It seemed so detached from regular learning, so this year we really wanted to integrate the computer into the classrooms as a tool for learning.”

From January ,the school introduced two desktop computers into each classroom. Those children who have iPads are welcome to bring them along as well to work on. Stewart stressed that this does not replace traditional learning under the guidance of a teacher, but is merely a chance to learn in a different way.

“We’re not doing ourselves out of a job, but I think the use of technology is nice because it allows the kids to learn the subject matter in a different way. So far, they have been very engaged [with the programmes] and I think having someone else explain the work [through the computer screen] is really beneficial.”

An added bonus, according to Stewart, is that working on screen also allows the children to get through work at their individual pace, something that is vital in the world of remedial learning.

Lynette Ziller, the Grade 4 teacher who started at North Sands at the beginning of the year, agreed that the choice of pace is very important.

Ziller said, “It’s also nice that the children get to do something on a computer that isn’t playing games. I also use them for showing videos on Youtube, playing audiobooks [for the class to read along to] and recently I even had the kids write essays on the screens.”

Stewart concluded that it was still too early in the year to tell what effect this type of learning would have on children’s results, but that she and the other teachers were hopeful.


Talk to us by emailing our news editor, Sarah Koning, at [email protected]

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