21st Century Collaboration, Community and Excellence: Online Course Delivery As a Progressive and Sustainable Model of Learning for Today
What is so different about what we are doing? In a rare and historic moment, 13 Independent Schools in and around Toronto, Ontario, have collaborated to create leading Canadian online courses within a soon to be launched not-for-profit eLearning Consortium. Based on a Think Tank led by The Bishop Strachan School, who endorse and practice 21st century skills, the Consortium developed its unique model. Not only are the courses creatively designed and developed for the 21st Century student, it sets the pace for teacher collaboration, a leading model for instructional design, partnerships and even administration. Through shared decision-making and policy directions, the Consortium fosters flexibility, collaboration and a shared culture of learning. These shared ideals developed a unique learning community. Exemplary online curriculum is developed through a partnership with the University of Ontario Institute of technology (UOIT). Teachers learn to design and deliver interactive, highly collaborative online courses through a jointly taught Online Teaching and Learning Continuing Education course. This ongoing teacher PD model encourages transfer of digital technology skills from the online to the face-to-face classroom. In this session we will share the structure of the Consortium, discussing the value of collaborative problem-solving and learning, the joint training program with UOIT for teacher in-service, and the importance of school-based collaboration and community building. We will talk about lessons learned in bringing together diverse school cultures, and how this structure models 21st Century Learning skills, and provide plenty of time for questions and discussion.
Keywords: Online Learning, 21st Century Skills, Web 2.0 Digital Technology Skills, Teacher Training, Sustainability, Collaborative Community, Exemplary Curriculum
Director of eLearning, The Conference of Independent Schools eLearning Consortium, The Conference of Independent Schools
Lesley Monette, BA, BED, MED (OISE), has spent over 30 years as a leader in curriculum development and the integration of leading edge technology. She was the Coordinator of Technology in North York, the Manager of Academic Services Information Technology at the Toronto District School Board, the Director of Academics at the University of Toronto Schools (UTS), and the Director of Technology at Branksome Hall Independent Girls School offering the International Baccalaureate. One of the founders of the innovative CyberArts program at Don Mills collegiate, she is actively interested in the integration and impact of technology in learning. An author of several technology textbooks, she encourages authentic collaborative learning through project based activities, problem solving and team work.
Mary Anne Ballantyne
Assistant Head, Technology and Innovation, Bishop Strachan School
With over 20 years experience in the technology industry as programmer, analyst, manager and senior leader, Mary Anne’s specialty lies in the application of IT best practice to teaching and learning and to facilitating progressive change for 21st Century education. As part of the senior executive team at The Bishop Strachan School (BSS), Toronto, Mary Anne’s work includes leading strategic and sustainable partnership development such as IT shared services with other schools and Chairs an alternative revenue team. She is a co-founder and Board member of the Conference of Independent Schools eLearning Consortium, as well as Director of the Board for the CIO Association of Canada. As key facilitator for women in technology partnerships with organizations such as the Mars Centre business incubator, Mary Anne currently leads a Web 2.0 revolution within an all girl’s school.