Gabrielle Leiher – Toronto

Volume 4

Creating a Vision of the Digital Classroom

Author: Maria Bun, Denese Belchetz

Undoubtedly the first ten years of the new millennium have exploded with technological innovation that has permeated into all aspects of our education system. Taking into account the pivotal stage of current pedagogy, it becomes important that the voices of those who drive this ever escalating and fast paced change are a key consideration in the process. In the York Region District School Board, we believe that students are a key stakeholder in this digital learning. With new media constantly being incorporated into lessons, it is important that the experiences of today’s learners are taken into account. This paper examines some aspects of current classroom practice from the perspective of students and suggests that technology use can help shape a vision for how to enhance engagement of teachers, students, and school and system leaders to further support the digital classroom of the future.

Keywords: vision, digital classroom

Preparing Our Students for the 21st Century

Author: Sayeda Datoo

The new millennium has brought about a change in the way we live and interact with one another. It is now a global community that is increasingly diverse, complex and technologically advanced. The kindergarten students we have today will be entering the workforce in about 20 years. With the current global climate, we have no idea what the world will look like in 5 years, leave alone in 20 years. Yet as educators in York Region District School Board (YRDSB), we embrace the mission of ‘uniting in our purpose to inspire and prepare learners for life in our changing world community.’ (YRDSB retrieved 2009). Will we be successful in preparing our current kindergarten students to be ‘learners for life in a changing community?’

Keywords: preparing, students, 21st century

Distributed Leadership

Author: Sonia Kadela

School leadership is often equated with a person in a formal leadership position, typically the principal (Spillane, Diamond, & Jita, 2003). The categorization of leadership into traits or models, has furthered focussed on leaders’ attributes or behaviour, and, as such, has perpetuated the view of leadership in terms of the individual (Spillane et al., 2003). Teacher leadership has more recently emerged as an alternative way of looking at leadership (Harris, 2003), yet tends to concentrate specifically on the role of teacher as an informal leader, with benefits and disadvantages to that role.

Keywords: distributed, leadership

Preparing the Learner for the 21st Century

Author: Jan Kielven

Change is a vital and ongoing process in education that is being undertaken in an explicit and intentional way internationally, provincially and at the school board level. Our language is expressing both the desire for and need for evolution in education: ‘second order change’, “21st century learning”, brain-based learning”, “blended learning”, “equity of outcome”, ‘multicultural literacy, technological literacy. There is a strong re-emphasis on the teaching of higher order thinking skills, learning skills, social skills, communications skills, creativity, knowledge management, leadership skills, resiliency,… and more.

Keywords: preparing, learner, 21st century

Leadership and Learning for Higher-order Outcomes: Serve, Support and Engage

Author: Deb Kitchener, Janet Murphy, Gayle Brocklebank-Vincent

With the advancement of information communication technologies there are new opportunities to engage learners and provide them with learning programs that meet their differentiated learning needs. This higher order approach to learning expands the learning experience and forges new strategies for engagement. The York Region District School Board (YRDSB) is working towards a new vision of leadership and learning that engages all learners in higher order 21st century models of learning. The authors of this article discuss the research that informs the implementation of the vision that serves, supports and engages all learners.

Keywords: leadership, learning, support, engage

The Effect of Project Based Learning and Student Engagement and Motivation: A Teacher Inquiry

Author: Roula Kteily-Hawa

In this inquiry, I would like to examine the principles of Project Based Learning (PBL) and their effect on student engagement in the classroom. My hope is that I will be able to apply these principles in my family studies classroom, where my students will become more engaged and interested in the lessons, thus contributing positively to their self-worth.

Keywords: project based, learning, student, engagement

The Role of Technology in Contemporary Education

Author: Gloria Leung

Technology advancement has caused a dramatic change in the learning environment. Many school boards in developed countries have embraced the use of various technologies in education, and incorporated them in their curricula. Many school administrators and teachers are under a conception that young generations are adept to technology and have undergone a fundamental change of fashion in learning. They believe that any technology that is used in education is welcomed by their students. While sometimes this conception may really be the case, many studies have proven otherwise. In addition, educators and administrators must focus on what role technology should be playing so that it can be implemented to benefit learners, and fortify pedagogy as a whole.

Keywords: technology, contemporary, education

Don’t Track in Dirt with your Digital Footprint

Author: Ryan Moreau

With over 1.5 billion web surfers worldwide, photos and videos have the ability to reach millions within seconds. Our digital footprint – the content available about us online (including text, photographs, audio and, video) is traceable and permanent. With people generating viral content around-the-clock, they are potentially damaging reputations, future job opportunities or even attracting online predators. It is more important than ever to educate younger generations about what they could be leaving behind. Rather than teach specifics from program to program, it is important as educators that we teach broad safety concepts to enable the critical thinking of youth while online. Critical decision making will enable a lifetime of safe Internet use regardless of the newest programs or websites that emerge.

Keywords: track, digital, footprint

Developing Knowledgeable Others

Author: Beate Planche

This candid reflection by a teacher leader remains with me years after the conversation (Planche, 2004). The comments offered were somewhat surprising to me as I knew the great reputation of the teacher who was questioning her own credibility as an educator. Having recently been given the role of “Literacy Coach”, and anxious about her new role, the teacher’s questions underscored the importance of confidence and trust in working with peers. As our schools shift to a more deprivatized form of teaching, where the notion of learning together and from each other has gained considerable ground, we must be cognizant of the kind of support teacher leaders need as those who have been deemed as ‘knowledgeable others’ in our schools.

Keywords: developing, knowledgeable

Understanding Students’ Biological Clocks To Engage and Teach Them

Author: Rajesh Singh

Educators are concerned with drowsiness and a lack of attention of some students especially at the start of the school day. In doing a literature review, I have found that there are biological variables that affect student focus in the classroom related to human biological rhythms or more officially recognized in the scientific community as circadian rhythms. Reviewing the research in this area as it applies to the teaching of students would provide a better understanding that can equip frontline workers, in particular, with the necessary knowledge to counter the effects of students’ natural rhythms with the appropriate environments that “correct” for these proclivities.

Keywords: understanding, students, engage

Non-Stop Literacy Instruction: A Social Justice Issue

Author: Dianne Stevens

Issues of social justice demand that a strong and consistent literacy focus be a priority at the Richmond Hill Adult Learning Center where students are either language learners or people who left high school without graduating. Literacy strategies have two immediate functions: to enable on-the-spot learning in class; and to provide academic currency, such as essay writing skills, for future success. An action research project, undertaken by the teacher of grade ten English in partnership with a consultant, focused on strategies to enhance both comprehension of text and transfer of understanding into written essay format. Strategies include diagnostic assessment to enable differentiated instruction and ongoing scaffolding of learning. The success of this small project bodes well for students’ ongoing success in other venues.

Keywords: literacy, instruction, social justice

Leadership Development for 21st Century School Leaders

Author: Richard Williamson

As Ontario’s provincial School Boards struggle with the issue of an aging cohort of school and system administrators (Williams, 2001) the issue of succession management has become increasingly urgent (Hargreaves, Moore, Fink, Brayman, & White, 2003). To date, significant focus has been given to the number of school leaders who will be retiring which creates a potential provincial vacuum of leadership (McIntyre, 1999). Shifting the focus away from those who are leaving to those who are entering the ranks of school administrators, we see a cohort of young leaders entering an educational context that is dramatically different from that which their predecessors entered. Leadership development of this new cohort is a significant aspect of succession management in the new provincial context.

Keywords: leadership, development, 21st century