A free offering from The Citizen is beaming the community of Prince George into classrooms all over the city.
The digital edition of the newspaper is available to schools and individual classrooms for use in their daily activities. So far, 19 sites have signed up and more are joining every week, as the new school year gets underway.
"We know kids are studying current events, political topics, sports, the arts, and we want our city's students to be able to do that with their own community," said Citizen circulation manager Alan Ramsay.
"Our content - the stories and the ads - have a lot to say about Prince George but also the province, the country and the world. It can stimulate debates, they can look at our opinion page for the diversity of views on all kinds of topics, you can stay on top of business trends, study the writing styles of our host of columnists and reporters, look at the marketing being done through our ads, develop a sense of how businesses work and how the economy works and get a better appreciation for literacy and photography. It is all about storytelling, but it is telling our stories. We think the kids, the teachers, will recognize a bit of themselves and have a lot to work with educationally."
The digital edition comes as an easy-to-use replica of the paper you'd buy at the newsstand or have delivered to your door. You flip the virtual pages as though they were held in your hand. The stories and photos and ads are laid out as they are in the hardcopy.
It comes with some additional features, however, that are appreciated by the computer-savvy next generation. A comprehensive search engine lets the user draw out the specific information they are looking for, and focus on specific elements like the photo or the writer.
It also has a translation feature so it will read the paper out loud in 11 different languages.
"We started in February of last year and we had nine schools signed up by the end of the school year," said Wendy Collier, team lead for The Citizen's Newspapers In Education program.
"All nine are back again this year, plus 10 new ones already. We are hearing from the teachers, and they are really excited - so excited we want to come in and see them using it for ourselves. It gives them another tool in the classroom. They are using it with their SmartBoards, in their computer labs, its compatible with tablets and smart-phones, so if they sign up it really is easy for them to use it in any way they like."
Components can even be downloaded to individual devises so the paper can go home with the teacher for lesson planning or with the students for homework.
"We are just engaging young people in the community, exposing them to what's going on in their community and the world in general, it keeps people thinking and engaged with the very latest in local news and topics for discussion. It's an education tool on a number of levels."
Anyone involved in schools wishing to take part in the free program is asked to contact The Citizen's circulation department at 250-562-2441.