The educators of Kootenay Boundary Region have a gift and a challenge for their children. The gift is living in an amazing place out of the way rural place. The challenge is connecting and contributing to the world's greatest ideas when you live in a amazing, out-of-the-way place.
Contemporary author Jay Roberts calls one of his talks The University of Nowhere referring to a lack of relationship between education and place. In the Kootenay Boundary we do not lack for a place. We have a wonderful mix of people such as the Sinixt, Doukhabour, Quaker, Japanese-Canadian and Italian-Canadian and live amidst the mountain valleys, powerful rivers and wildlife of the Kootenay Boundary Region. We do however struggle with technology, bandwith and connection over large distances.
In this proposal we focus on responding to a good idea that is emerging from the world "changing the role of the teacher back to "guide from the side" as opposed to "sage on the stage". I say change back because it wasn't so long ago in rural communities that teachers in one room schoolhouses were "guides from the side". We want to respond with our out-of-the-way place ideas about getting back to "guides from the side" connected to an amazing place and share these ideas with other rural communities through a TEDx series.
Our proposal is called mighty changes because we know that big ideas can come from small beautiful and rural places.
In rural communities connection to place can be deeper than in urban settings and the notion of community easier to grasp. We predict connection to place and community will help us in the project where we endeavour to look at how education can serve resident youth who want to stay in their home communites, who cannot travel over long distances in winter, who have access to nature but not to bandwith and who need innovative way of reaching mentors and peers. Everyone is a learner in Kootenay Boundary Region. Thus, if successful this project has the potential to impact 90,000 individuals, plus all of the other rural community innovators in North America we intend to reach through our TEDx series. The nature of teaching and learning is changing worldwide because of the opportunities technology has presented and thus our changing perception of who holds knowledge and how it is shared. Rural educators have a lot to learn and a lot to share.
Mighty change can emerge from small rural populations. Led by the Teaching and Learning Institute at Selkirk College and the Regions’ four school districts: 8, 10, 20 and 51, educators will:
• a few leading innovators will explore teaching and learning experiences that increase the flexibility, relevance and access to learning such as the flipped and grounded learning;
• lead innovators will share their successes and challenges in a Regional TEDx event; and
• Region will share with rural educators in other Regions creating partnerships and relationships through the vehicle of their TEDx series.
Working with the ideas of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship we intend to attract and connect with other rural regions in the world who struggle with the changing nature of teaching and learning.
This project was generated by about 34 educators from the REgion who got together in Spring, 2012 to brainstorm the most effective strategies for responding to today's students!
1. Student walks in to a classroom in Fall, 2012 expectng more of the same, i.e. teacher lectures from the front.
2. Teacher announces we are leaving to meet a community group and discuss how class can be part of a solution (grounded classroom) and that students will bring their research to next class (flipped classroom).
3. Teachers who are incorporating social innovation in the classroom (Learning Fellows) communicate frequently through a listserve and get togethers.
4. After Christmas teachers and students explore their challenges/successes in social innovation through a TEDx event.
5. TEDx event shared with more teachers and students around North America. Connections are made amongst these innovators.
6. Educators and students from other places start connecting with the Kootenay Boundary educators and they learn from each other.
7. April/June, 2013 students leave their educational experiences with a feeling of WOW.
Educators everywhere are asking themselves how they can adapt to the expectations of today's students and the potential for learning. In rural areas, where youth are leaving for urban areas and populations are on the decline these questions become especially poignant.The answer is that we have some precious resources: our place and the people - now we just have to get started, share with each other, other rural communities AND remain grounded in our sense of place and communities!