Does a "Flat World" Level the Playing Field? Multiliterate Education in a Small Canadian Rural Elementary School

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Does the Web. 2.0 world give students marginalized by geography new opportunities to participate in their world? This session examines exemplary new multiliterate teaching and learning practices being explored by an Award-winning Canadian K-5 school.

Botha School, a small rural school in the Canadian province of Alberta, has embarked on a three-year project based in action research, to engage students in developing the 21st literacy skills they will need to meet the social and linguistic demands they will face.

Botha School worked as the lead school in the Clearview School Division #71’s Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) project: “Real World Literacy”, a project designed to explore ways to connect students’ in-school literacy practices with those needed and expected in the 21st century global community. In 2008 the school was recognized Provincially for excellence.

In describing the process of planning, teaching and reflection, this session will highlight how project-based, cross-curricular, cross-grade inquiry learning is allowing students traditionally disadvantaged by demographics and geography to learn to compete, cooperate and collaborate.

Keywords: Multiliterate, Multiliteracy, 21st Century
Stream: Literacy, Language, Multiliteracies; Languages Education and Second Language Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Does a “Flat World” Level the Playing Field?

Peter Weeks

Prinicipal, Botha School, Clearview School Division #71
Stettler, Alberta, Canada

I am a former high-school English teacher who has more recently evolved into an elementary school Principal, my journey as a teacher-researcher has always driven me towards learning more about engaging students in literacy and keeping my teaching relevant to their needs. I hold a B/A in English and a B/Ed degree from the University of Calgary and a M/Ed degree from the University of Alberta. I have been a co-author of 5 textbooks currently in use in Canadian English and Social Studies classes and a number of academic and professional articles. I was please to have co-presented a paper with Dr. Jill McClay at the Learning Conference in London. I have presented on educational practices across Canada and in the United States. I am a former President and Past-president of the English Language Arts Council of the Alberta Teachers' Association and was honored to receive an Honorary Life Membership in that organization. In 2008 I was selected as one of 20 finalists in the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Awards.

I continue to be passionate in wanting to learn how to better assist the children of my school in meeting the multiliterate and global demands of the 21st century.

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