Every morning at Villanova Junior High School, Grade 5 student Genny Hartery proudly delivers The Telegram to every classroom.
She gives a small newscast to each class, updating them on the major headlines of the day in addition to the weather.
She also has her own best part of the paper.
“My favourite part of the newspaper is A4 — (there’s) pictures of what’s happening and there were sculptures,” said Genny, referring to a photo spread in Monday’s Telegram featuring a snow sculpture contest.
She joined about 40 of her classmates Monday in the school library as they watched a demonstration of The Telegram Smart Edition. The online edition is now available to every classroom in Newfoundland and Labrador thanks to The Telegram’s Newspapers in Education (NIE) program, its community partners and the Department of Education.
Up until this year, NIE reached schools only within range of The Telegram’s delivery network. Now, every student in the province has access to the paper at school thanks to the Internet.
Jim Burton, chairman of the Re/Max advertising fund and owner of Re/Max Plus Realty, is the largest of those community partners.
The support has made a significant contribution to maintaining the presence of the paper edition of The Telegram in classrooms and in expanding the NIE digital edition throughout the province.
“This is our second year as a major partner and we’re as excited today as we were two years ago when we were first asked,” said Burton.
Monday was the first time he’d seen the digital edition in action in a classroom, and he seemed impressed.
“Wow! There’s been a lot of advancements since I was in Grade 5, let me tell you, and they’re all good.”
Monday’s presentation used a SMART Board (an interactive white board) to demonstrate some of the digital edition highlights for students, including auditory translation into French and other languages, text magnification and search functions.
The presentation focused on the Smart Edition because, while the printed newspaper remains important to the program, in order to give students something tactile to work with, the online component is rapidly becoming the preferred medium for young people, said David Locke, The Telegram’s NIE co-ordinator.
“The schools still want their hard copies, but they’re probably going to start asking for them less and less,” said Locke.
The kids are excited about the features of the digital edition, said Darlene Moulton, teacher/librarian and NIE co-coordinator for Villanova Junior High.
“The newspapers were going to the classrooms all along, but we had to come up with activities to get them interested in opening them up. With the (online version), they’re doing it themselves,” said Moulton.
Hillary Oldford, a Grade 5 student, explains why.
“I think I like (the paper) better online — you can read it in different languages, you can flip the pages and it’s fun,” she said.