Today the Ministry released the new Education Plan. At the heart of the plan is the focus on learners owning their own learning – and the challenge of designing more responsive, flexible systems to meet the needs of all learners. There are important linkages between the goals of the Education Plan, the focus of the on-going inquiry work in Network schools and the exciting number of truly innovative learning environments that are being developed across BC.
For the past two years, Linda and I have been part of an international projects sponsored by the OECD on Innovative Learning Environments. This project involves representatives from 25 countries identifying promising local case studies, some of which are selected for inclusion in a set of international cases and then a few of which will be the subject of more in-depth research.
Last spring we submitted six case studies from BC – and we could have submitted a lot more. Over the next few months, we will be continuing to identify promising case studies and inviting representatives from those learning environments to participate in this project. No money or glory involved – this is simply a chance to get the great work in BC understood and recognized on an international platform. To be accepted into this project, the learning environment has to be designed in response to a significant learning need, it must consider the use of time and space in new ways, and connections across the curriculum and with the community are built in.
One of the BC case studies that has been accepted into the ‘universe’ of international cases is the Connected Classroom in the Gold Trail School District. Three intermediate classrooms are linked by technology and are creating strong social-emotional connections across geographically remote communities. Check out a video clip to see the excitement on the part of the teachers and the learners. Not only is this a great example of innovation and creative thinking, we also think it is a strong example of the five elements indicated in the Education Plan.
Stay tuned for other examples from BC – and from around the world.