At the end of October, flanked by a group of student high school representatives, Education Minister George Abbott announced the launch of B.C.’s Education Plan, a new blueprint to overhaul the province’s K-12 school system.

The new plan, the minister said, will transform the education system to be more flexible, emphasize personalized learning and increase the use of technology.

“The world has changed and we need to shift the way we look at teaching and learning. This plan offers a way forward.”

Though short on details, the plan would also include a new Teachers Act and the establishment of “regular teacher performance evaluation sessions.”

Accompanying the launch was an interactive website created by the ministry to provide more details and solicit public opinion.

Parsing the hundreds of comments received in the past month reveals a mixed response ranging from high praise to skepticism.

One group that leaves no doubt about its opinion on the plan is the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. In its new issue of Teacher magazine, the lead article, “Experiments with kids’ learning,” BCTF researcher Larry Kuehn derides the plan as a power grab by the ministry to undermine teachers through centralized data collection and technology use.

By Michael Mazer, The Vancouver Sun, December 13, 2011

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/conceptualizing+classroom/5851089/story.html#ixzz1h1cIWkcZ

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K3593 .E67 2010 Tracey Epps & Andrew Green, Reconciling Trade and Climate: How the WTO Can Help Address Climate Change (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2010).

Wondering when you can drop by UBC Library? Then check out our new, user-friendly hours and locations page.

Please note that from December 24-31, most UBC Library branches and units will be closed for the holidays.

In Vancouver, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will be open on December 24 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; closed on December 25 and 26; and open again from December 27-31, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Please note that this opening DOES NOT include: level one, the Chapman Learning Commons, UBC Library bookstacks, Ike’s Cafe or access to computer workstations.

Meanwhile, the Biomedical Branch Library will be closed December 24-27; open December 28 and 29 from noon to 5 p.m.; and closed on December 30 and 31. During its opening, a health librarian and student health librarian will be available; appointments for users conducting research can be made by contacting dean.giustini@ubc.ca.

Lastly, the Library at UBC’s Okanagan campus will be closed from December 24-27, and open from December 28-31.

On behalf of UBC Library, happy holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2012.

 

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From ASEE Daily briefing:   BBC News (12/16) reports, “A US patent for self-driving cars has been awarded to Google.”

For over a year the Ministry of Education has been hinting at a change in direction for the province’s education system.

It all started in mid-2010 with murmurings about “21st Century” or “child-centred” education, with little to no explanation of what that meant, leaving educators, trustees, and parents to banter about ideas on blogs, listserves, and the Twitter-verse.

Even the recent launch of B.C.’s Education Plan has few answers — just a plan to have a plan after engaging with education stakeholders.

But some schools are way ahead of the curve. By using technology, giving students the opportunity to choose what they want to study, or even just allowing teachers to deviate from the curricula norm, these schools have already taken education to the next level and waiting for the ministry to catch up.

Rise of the machines

Librarian Moira Ekdahl is quick to correct anyone who says John Oliver Secondary School in East Vancouver has a library. It’s a Learning Commons now.

Stacks and reference materials have been replaced by laptops, iPads, and interactive white boards. There are still books — Ekdahl swears they will never disappear under her watch — but technology is taking over.

“It’s really driven by giving kids multiple ways of accessing resources and information, and the tools to shape their own learning, and also to support new ways of teaching, because I think teachers need that support as well,” she told The Tyee.

While any teacher can make use of the technology, there are two particular programs that use technology as a main tool in the classroom: the Digital Immersion Minischool and the iPad Literacy Cohort.

Running from Grades 8 to 12, the Digital Immersion Minischool has been running from John Oliver since 1997, taking in students from across the district interested in expanding their online skills. Though the technology has changed, the main objective never has: teaching students how to operate in an Internet world.

When The Tyee visited the Digital Immersion 8 class in early November, students were just getting their brand new Mac laptops, a requirement for the course. Working in groups, they negotiated the definition of “social citizenship” with the aim of creating a wiki on the topic, and ultimately establishing six concrete rules for a class code of online conduct.

“I think we’ve always been teaching those skills. I didn’t grow up with this at school, but we were still required to learn how to critically think, how to problem solve, how to articulate our thoughts, how to present,” explains teacher Zhi Su.

“The way we access and interact with information is different. If you look around you, you don’t see students standing by the bookshelves and accessing books, they’re all on computers, and that’s what they tend to gravitate towards. It’s up-to-date, latest information, whereas some of these books are older than I am.”

By Katie Hyslop, 15 Nov 2011, TheTyee.ca

For full article click here

(OTTAWA: November 2, 2011) – The Canadian Association of University Teachers today unveiled a national campaign to protect Library and Archives Canada (LAC). The “Save Library and Archives Canada” is being launched by CAUT in response to funding cuts and internal managerial decisions that are threatening the quality and integrity of Canada’s only national public library and archives.

“Badly conceived restructuring, a narrowing of its mandate, and financial cutbacks are undermining LAC’s ability to acquire, preserve and make publicly available Canada’s full documentary heritage,” James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers said at a news conference in Ottawa today.

These changes, Turk added, have already led to a reduction in the number of specialist archivists and librarians, reduced public access and services, and the loss of rare and important materials.

Liam McGahern, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers of Canada, said a growing number of Canadian materials are not being collected by LAC because of reduced funding and a change in its acquisitions policy.

 “Canadians recently lost a unique and irreplaceable set of journals chronicling late 19th Century stories of settlers and First Nations people of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Labrador Coast. This is just one of many examples,” McGahern explained. “Rare military documents, sheet music, and literature that would otherwise have gone to Library and Archives Canada are quietly all slipping away.”

CAUT is calling on the federal government to amend the LAC Act to ensure its mandate includes developing a comprehensive, not selective, collection of Canadian material.

 “Our nation’s artistic, historical, and cultural heritage is at stake,” said Turk. “Genealogists, historians, researchers, graduate students, Aboriginal communities, and the general public are all affected by what is happening at LAC.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of 66,000 academic and general staff at 120 universities and colleges across the country.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.savelibraryarchives.ca.

Contact:

Angela Regnier, Communications Officer,

613-726-5186 (O);

regnier@caut.ca (email)

While searching and accessing journals and articles on the ACS site should not be a problem, other services (like registering for an account or setting up an alert) are not working due to maintenance.

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