Windsor

Put down the tablet, pick up the semaphore flags

The students have been writing secret messages to each other using dots and dashes for Morse code, raised dots for braille and flag signalling as part of semaphore. 

Grade school students are learning braille, Morse code and semaphore

A big part of the attraction to these very old forms of communication is that to these kids, it's all new. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

More and more classrooms are incorporating some form of technology, such as tablets and virtual reality. 

But at Prince Edward Public School, five boys in Grades 6 to 8 are learning something a little different: braille, Morse code and flag semaphore. 

Their teacher, Reema Mansour, is responsible for the small class — her students have different learning needs and styles — which uses the R.I.S.E. program.

The R.I.S.E program stands for reaching individual student success. It's about making sure each child feels successful at school every day. 

Mansour "stumbled" on the idea of teaching this subject matter through a book provided by the school board, called Wildcat Reading Series. One of the books included code such as semaphore.

She said her students do research on their own.

"It's great for me to see them so engaged and enjoying their learning," she said.

Instead of the latest technology, some students at Prince Edward Public School are picking up something different. 1:39

The students have been writing secret messages to each other and to Mansour in multiple codes — using dots and dashes for Morse code, raised dots for braille and flag signalling as part of semaphore. 

For sixth grader Mustafa Attar, braille is his favourite of the three.

"I never know about any of [these codes] until my teacher showed me," said Attar. "I find it interesting how instead of texting we can send messages on paper secretly."

Five students at Prince Edward Public School are learning Morse code, flag semaphore and braille. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Eighth grader Caden Rubinski said it was kind of weird ... he'd never seen these codes before. 

"I'd heard of it before, but I thought it was like having your own language with someone," said Rubinski. "It's sneaky to use it." 

Rubinski said while he can't remember all the alphabets for each language, he finds the origins interesting. 

Mansour isn't surprised the students are this engaged. She's learning right alongside them.

"I think they're enjoying seeing where we were before and what it's come to," said Mansour. "It's great for them to do something different."

With files from Tony Doucette

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