New agreement to provide Sask. students and teachers access to SMART Learning software

A report from the government announced that students in Saskatchewan are about to be that much better prepared to enter the 21st Century workforce with a new software program that provides students with a more technical and interactive way to learn. Getty Images

Students in Saskatchewan are about to be better prepared to enter the 21st-century workforce with a new software program that provides students with a more technical and interactive way to learn.

A new province-wide agreement between the Saskatchewan government and SMART Technologies will enable school divisions to purchase nearly twice as many SMART Learning Suite licenses for teachers.

The software is available to students in approximately half of the classrooms throughout the province with over 6,000 teachers who are licensed.

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“Expanding the use of technology in the classroom helps our students be prepared to enter the 21st-century workforce,” deputy premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said. “I would like to thank all of our education sector partners for their collaboration on this agreement that supports student success.”

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The agreement provides a negotiated price for SMART Board Interactive Displays, software and accessories, which has also been made available to all First Nations’ schools, independent schools and post-secondary institutions.

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The Ministry of Education said it was able to realize cost savings of up to 50 per cent on a variety of classroom learning solutions from SMART technologies by leveraging the collective buying power of all learning and library agencies in the province.

The SMART Learning Suite software enables engaging instructions to support and address different ways that students are able to learn through a variety of media and provides the opportunity for teachers to design interactive lessons, provide game-based learning modules and formative assessment.

Students collaborate and contribute directly through devices such as phones and tablets with other students on joint projects.

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“Congratulations to Saskatchewan Schools and the Ministry of Education for leading the way for Canadian schools by implementing an innovative approach to preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world,” SMART president and CEO Greg Estell said. “We are committed to the partnership and the potential to advance education in Saskatchewan for better learning outcomes.”

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“The savings found through this agreement has allowed Northwest School Division to redistribute resources to other priorities while continuing to provide the technology in classrooms that benefit our students,” Northwest School Division director of education Duane Hauk said. “We were very pleased to work with all the partners on this agreement that will benefit the entire education sector.”

Any teachers with existing licenses were transferred over to the new province-wide agreement and were given credits for the price difference.

39 different educational agencies have participated in the project which was coordinated by the Education Sector Purchasing and Service Project Team.

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