Northern Manitoba schools receive hundreds of tablets that work offline

WINNIPEG — Remote learning presents an endless array of challenges for Manitoba parents and students.

Those problems are often amplified in the province’s north, which can often be an internet desert. 

“Our kids don’t have good internet connection,” Frontier School Division chief superintendent Reg Klassen told CTV News on Friday.

But schools in Northern Manitoba are getting a delivery to help bridge the gap. 

Five hundred OneTab tablets, which work offline, have been donated to the division. 

Reg Klassen

They were purchased by former journalist and Red River College instructor Susan Millican and her son Timothy Millican. 

“(The students) don’t need the internet, the programs are all self-contained. The students maneuver the programs on their own,” said Klassen. 

The devices have been set aside for Grade 1 students, who have been “significantly impacted” said the superintendent. 

The OneTab tablets are preloaded with apps to help students with math and literacy. 

They were developed by a British non-profit organization, which provides low-cost software to improve access to education. 

They’ve been used around the world, including the UK, Uganda, Brazil, and Cambodia.

Klassen pointed to an independent study done by University of Winnipeg Professor Linda DeRiviere which found the OneTab tablets help improve math and reading skills. 

“We really believe they’ll help,” said Klassen. “Nothing replaces quality teaching by a teacher with students in the classroom, but this will supplement that.”  

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