Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Creating an Alberta Advantage in Education

The province of Alberta has recently set out a number of directives for education.

The directives came about from a broad range of stakeholders via a Ministerial Order in 2013. The province asked students, parents, businesses, industry and community members about how we should develop and teach the curriculum to our students.

Bottom line - everyone involved wants engaged learners...

Some of the highlights:
  1. greater emphasis on education than on the school; on the learner than on the system; on competencies than on content; 
  2. on technology to support the creation and sharing of knowledge than on technology to support teaching.
  3. be able to manage information: access, interpret, evaluate and use information effectively, efficiently, and ethically;
  4. be innovative: create, generate and apply new ideas or concepts;
  5. be able to create opportunities through play, imagination, reflection, negotiation, and competition, with an entrepreneurial spirit;
  6. be able to apply multiple literacies: reading, writing, mathematics, technology, languages, media,
  7. be able to explores ideas and technologies alone or as part of diverse teams;
By this mandate, students need to be using technology as a tool for learning. Ergo, we as instructors need to be competent in our approach to ensuring that students are given appropriate opportunities that offer the use of technology as a constructive learning tool while staying closely aligned with curricular objectives.

Technology should also focus on enabling delivery of relevant content and curriculum. Tech tools and resources should not be utilized merely as a time fill, rather they must serve real world purposes that will help deliver the curriculum in a manner that is meaningful and relevant to our students in order to best prepare them for their future.

I know many of us do not particularly enjoy disruption, let's face it...few people want it. However, we all want something better. So what is the best path to get us from here to that better place with the least amount of fallout? We need to forge our own path that leverages the knowledge, gifts, skills and talents from within our schools. In this manner, we will become our own trailblazers on our journey to that new productive, practical and promising place. A place where we can foster positive attitudes and build a solid foundation of skills and competency that will organically flourish and grow from the grassroots level up into a powerful learning environment that is truly transformative for our staff and students.

So, how do we get there? Well, I have a two word plan...