Check out The Art Zone – from the National Gallery of Art interactive educational resource website.

Make a work of art online!

It is easy to talk about what could be, what should be and what other people could do.  Instead, I would like to share what I have done, and what we are trying to do, as we engage in and embrace this learning evolution.

I began my career trying to emulate the teachers I remembered most, and through the stories I remembered from my school experiences.  The teacher was mixing content, stories and weaving a narrative. While hardly an actor, there was something about the performance of teaching I really did enjoy. I would organize the desks in a circle, and while this was great for students to engage with each other, it also gave me centre stage.  I was very focussed on the lesson plan and activities in the classroom.  I saw myself as the expert, and it was up to me and the textbook to help students understand the content. Now, here is a true confession — I loved being the ‘sage on the stage’. In my Social Studies and English classes I would often retell the stories my memorable teachers had told me.

As I became more comfortable, I tried to allow students more of an opportunity to tell their stories.  I worked to create situations where students could simulate the real world.  In History class this might have been a United Nations role-play lesson, or reviewing a series of case studies in Law class. Students loved the examples drawn from the “real world”.  In Law, we would study cases making headlines in the news, and other Social Studies’ classes leant themselves ideally to current events.  I loved the relevance that came from these lessons, as well as the engagement.  Combining my lectures with hands-on activities, like putting Louis Riel on trial, led to an even richer teaching and learning experience.

Read Chris Kennedy’s article here.

By Chris Kennedy, February 22, 2012 The cultureofyes Blog

Ebooks are driving momentous changes. In Vancouver, librarians are inviting the public to help reinvent their mission.

There are certain things, good and bad, that ebooks can’t offer. Old bookmarks, penciled annotations and chocolate smudges between the pages… the tactile human touches that make die-hard proponents of print swear they’ll never make the switch.

But those traditionalists are becoming the minority of library borrowers, as the relative convenience of ebooks — downloadable from the comfort of one’s home — appeals to more and more library users. According to recently-released stats from the Vancouver Public Library, the lending and borrowing of electronic content, and in particular ebooks, is exploding.

At VPL, ebook downloads have increased almost tenfold year-on-year, from 3,718 in 2010 to 35,671 in 2011. On top of that, the library estimates that if the current growth rate of ebook borrowing continues, it will take less than five years for ebooks to dominate circulation.

Of course, the explosion of ebooks isn’t news to the publishing industry, which is still adjusting to the digital shift. Scott McIntyre, the publisher and chairman of Vancouver-based D&M Publishing, recently shared his take with The Tyee that sooner rather than later, at least in the publishing world, ebooks “will conquer all.” And there’s significant evidence to support McIntyre’s prophecy. Mid 2010, Amazon.com reported that sales for its Kindle reader outstripped hardcover sales, and by January 2011, Kindle books surpassed paperback sales as well.

Yet while the story of publishers reeling over the digital surge has been told, how are libraries affected by the shift? As VPL’s director of planning and development Daphne Wood points out, there are a number of issues the library faces with the takeover. Issues like how ebooks are licensed to libraries, concerns about access to e-readers (and a potential new “digital divide”), and how to build modern collections that appease everyone, are top of mind for many librarians.

By Robyn Smith, 05March2012, TheTyee.ca

Read The Tyee full article here.

Creating a National Reading Strategy for Canada:  About the National Reading Campaign

The National Reading Campaign is about creating a reading strategy for Canada. It is about engaging Canadians in exploring what a Canadian reading plan would look like, and what we would expect the key outcomes to be. In short, it is a campaign to incorporate and promote reading as a central feature of 21st century Canadian citizenship.

The National Reading Campaign had its beginnings in 2008, when a coalition of readers, parents, writers, editors, librarians, bookstore owners, teachers, publishers and distributors came together to assess and consider the changing reading habits of Canadians. Learn more about the Reading Coalition here.

The first forum, held in 2008, proposed that a National Reading Campaign be developed over the course of three Reading Summits. The first Summit was held in Toronto in 2009, the second was held in Montreal in 2011 and the third will take place in May 2012 in Vancouver.

Why do we need a National Reading Campaign?

Becoming a reader is at the very heart of responsible citizenship. But as we find ourselves caught in the fierce updrafts of an information hurricane, we often lose sight of what reading — as an intellectual activity — contributes to our sense of self, our cultural awareness, our capacity for self-expression and, ultimately, our notions of engaged citizenship and the collective good. Reading, after all, is about so much more than a technical act that allows us to communicate, consume media and perform the activities of daily life. To be literate is necessary, but it is not enough.

Read more about the Summit here.

~information and links from the National Reading Campaign website

While conversations are ongoing in BC and around the world focused on innovation that are linked to larger system goals including a  greater focus on personalized learning and giving kids greater ownership of their learning, these are not new objectives. Some practices worth highlighting are not only 21st century, or 20th century learning, in fact, some date back to the 19th century, and are an excellent fit for our current educational directions. At least, this is true of Montessori.

Maria Montessori, who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, developed teaching methods which are often described as part of the “21st century learning” phenomena.  When I spend time in our Montessori School, Eagle Harbour Montessori(currently expanding from a K-3 to a K-5 school), I am always in awe of the self-regulation and keen focus these students have.  When I walk into the room, students continue to work and there is a sense of calm and alert focus. Students are owning their learning, the conversations with primary students are very articulate; they talk about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what they need to learn next.

What I have seen at Eagle Harbour is also supported in the recent book from Shannon Helfrich, Montessori Learning in the 21st Century:  A Guide for Parents and Teachers which links Montessori teachings with the latest neuroscientific findings.

So just what does Montessori look like in our setting:

Principles Include (from the Eagle Harbour Montessori Program 2012):

Continue reading here.

January 10, 2012 by cultureofyes

by Chris Kennedy

January 15, 2012 

- by Chris Kennedy - Author of cultureofyes blog

 

I have used the above slide in a number of presentations to make the point that British Columbia is leading Canada (perhaps even the world) in the professional use of social media in K-12 education. I freely admit I don’t have the statistics to back up the claim – there are simply more teachers, administrators, parents, trustees, and others here, who are logging into their blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts in the name of professional learning, than any other jurisdiction.

In the past year we have moved from several dozen blogs around K-12 education, to numbers in the hundreds, with representation in every area of the education system.  The #bced tag on Twitter is one of the most engaged with conversations about the ever-changing education profession, and there are many other social sites having these conversations as well.

The conversations around the profession itself are very interesting.  In social media, ‘role’ becomes less important; there is a flattening of society and it is ‘ideas’ that have increased value.  There are also incredible opportunities  to reflect, share, and learn without the limitations of geography. I could go on, and there have been many others who have covered the ground about the value of social media for educators, and how Twitter and blogging can be extremely powerful in professional development.  This is true for those interested in education in BC, but it is also true of other professionals around the world.

So why has BC moved so quickly and taken such leadership in this area? As mentioned, I have no statistical proof, but a series of ideas as to why BC is the leading jurisdiction using social media to engage in the profession of education.

Read full article here.

The Vancouver Sun – Education News

It was about six years ago that UBC professor Jon Beasley-Murray first noticed his students citing Wikipedia in their essays.

If they were going to use Wikipedia for his class on Latin American literature, he thought, they might as well improve some of the shoddy articles on the subject.

For the past five years, students in his class have edited or contributed articles to Wikipedia as part of a class assignment.

“It was a chance to break down some of the barriers between the university and society,” Beasley-Murray said.

Wikipedia is described as a “free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation”. It was launched in 2001 and takes the first part of its name from the Hawaiian word “wiki,” for fast, and is the name of a server program that allows anyone to edit the website’s content through their own browser.

At the moment, Beasley-Murray is one of relatively few professors using Wikipedia in class assignments, but that may change this year. The foundation behind Wikipedia is hoping to get more teachers using the website in the classroom. So far, the universities of Alberta and Toronto have agreed to take part in the project.

Read more here.

By Jordan Press, Postmedia News November 4, 2011

jpress@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jordan_press

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Innovative Media for the Classroom and Communities

Use diverse educational tools to enhance learning: Our trusted, high-calibre content includes exciting web-based learning platforms and teaching guides probing topics such as environmental studies, citizen media and Aboriginal culture.

Teaching Guides

A good study guide can bring a film to life within a classroom setting. Guides are available for thousands of NFB productions, helping teachers to choose the right film for their curriculum and get the best out of NFB resources.

Included are detailed curriculum notes and lesson plans, along with hands-on classroom activities and discussion starters.

In addition to our study guides, NFB Education provides short Education Descriptors—brief curriculum notes and grade level suggestions—for more than 2,000 online titles.

Education Playlists

Looking for animated shorts to show in your art class, or films that explore the complex issue of racism? Or are you seeking a good way to mark World Earth Day or another cultural event?

The NFB provides a growing collection of thematic playlists selected by experts to illustrate specific subjects or themes.

Educational Websites

A compelling and well-researched website can be a powerful learning tool, illuminating multiple aspects of an issue and engaging students in exciting creative dialogue.

The NFB has created its own cutting-edge interactive productions and has supported other web-based initiatives. These productions can provide a fresh approach to topics like Canadian history or Aboriginal culture and help clarify complex issues such as international development or environmentalism, or they can introduce kids to film animation in a playful and appealing manner.

~from the National Film Board Website – Education

 

The Vancouver Sun

BY YINKA ADEGOKE, REUTERS JANUARY 19, 2012

NEW YORK – Apple Inc unveiled a new digital textbook service called iBooks 2 on Thursday, aiming to revitalize the U.S. education market and quicken the adoption of its market-leading iPad in that sector.

The consumer electronics giant has been working on digital textbooks with publishers Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a trio responsible for 90 per cent of textbooks sold in the United States.

The move pits the makers of the iPod and iPhone against Amazon.com Inc and other content and device makers that have made inroads into the estimated $8 US billion market with their electronic textbook offerings.

At an event at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller introduced tools to craft digital textbooks and demonstrated how authors and even teachers can create books for students.

The “value of the app is directly proportional to students having iPads,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with industry research firm Gartner. “But this will lead to more schools adopting as a requirement.”

REINVENTING THE TEXTBOOK

Schiller said it was time to reinvent the textbook, adding that 1.5 million iPads are in use now in education.

Read more here:

Apple in Education here.

The National Film Board’s Education Team is facilitating a workshop that demonstrates how to use NFB.ca in an educational setting. They are currently touring their BETA (a testing prototype) NFB.ca online content offer. Educators will be granted preview access to our BETA site, in order to begin using the benefits and tools of our online content offer in their own classrooms. These workshops will highlight new films, functions, resources for educators, thematic learning modules and hands-on activities that are customized to the meet the needs of students of all ages and abilities.

National Film Board in Your Classroom Workshop Info here

Please join us on Monday, 23 January from 10:00-11:15 am in Room 155 at the Education Library.

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