About Us » Big Ideas

Big Ideas

 
Big ideas refer to research, goals, and enduring understandings. These are summarized in our Action Plan below:
 
 
 
Research
 

Big Idea #1

 

Applying neuroscience to distributive learning design can help increase engagement, community, and connection.

Brain-based research has increased our understanding of how students learn and has prompted us to employ diversified learning techniques and technology.

 

Neuroscience research  shows us that learning

i. involves emotion and motivation,
ii. takes patience and time,
iii. involves narratives around meaning,
iv. is impacted by environmental settings,
v. and can be experienced and demonstrated by everyone

 
(HOW TO APPLY BRAIN SCIENCE TO ONLINE LEARNING; (9 SIGNS THAT NEUROSCIENCE HAS ENTERED THE CLASSROOM, HTTPS://WWW.ONLINEUNIVERSITIES.COM/BLOG/2012/06/9-SIGNS-THAT-NEUROSCIENCE-HAS-ENTERED-CLASSROOM/)
(HOW CAN NEUROSCIENCE INFORM ONLINE ADULT EDUCATION?, HTTPS://EVOLLLUTION.COM/REVENUE-STREAMS/DISTANCE_ONLINE_LEARNING/HOW-CAN-NEUROSCIENCE-INFORM-ONLINE-ADULT-EDUCATION/)
(5 EXAMPLES OF HOW NEUROSCIENCE IS AFFECTING EDUCATION;  MATTHEW LYNCH; HTTPS://WWW.THETECHEDVOCATE.ORG/5-EXAMPLES-NEUROSCIENCE-AFFECTING-EDUCATION/
(USING BRAIN RESEARCH TO DESIGN BETTER ELEARNING COURSES: 7 TIPS FOR SUCCESS; KARLA GUTIERREZHTTPS://WWW.SHIFTELEARNING.COM/BLOG/BID/343310/USING-BRAIN-RESEARCH-TO-DESIGN-BETTER-ELEARNING-COURSES-7-TIPS-FOR-SUCCESS)
(WHAT IS PLACE-BASED EDUCATION AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?; GETTING SMART IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EDUINNOVATION & TETON SCIENCE SCHOOLS; HTTPS://WWW.GETTINGSMART.COM/WP-CONTENT/UPLOADS/2017/02/WHAT-IS-PLACE-BASED-EDUCATION-AND-WHY-DOES-IT-MATTER-3.PDF)

 

Big Idea #2

 

Digital portfolios (Student Action/Learning Plans) are designed to foster student agency and resiliency.

The process of developing a digital portfolios is emphasized through feedback and reflection. This leads to the development of self-assurance and an awareness of one’s ability to learn.

 

“Research on student engagement with learning suggests that when students perceive that they have choices in how to learn they are more engaged and motivated to move beyond simple information acquisition to try to gain an understanding of the subject”

 
(EPORTFOLIOS EXPLAINED: THEORY AND PRACTICE; HTTPS://UWATERLOO.CA/CENTRE-FOR-TEACHING-EXCELLENCE/TEACHING-RESOURCES/TEACHING-TIPS/EDUCATIONAL-TECHNOLOGIES/ALL/EPORTFOLIOS)
(AUTHENTIC ACTIVITIES AND ONLINE LEARNING; THOMAS C. REEVES, JAN HERRINGTON, RON OLIVER; HTTPS://WWW.RESEARCHGATE.NET/PUBLICATION/49283243_AUTHENTIC_ACTIVITIES_AND_ONLINE_LEARNING)
 
Goals
 

Big Idea #1 – Applying neuroscience to distributive learning design can help increase engagement, community, and connection.

 

Goal Statement – We will use distributive learning as an alternative environment that highlights flexibility, personalized learning, and student choice.

We expect our distributive learning model to reflect cognitive engagement, social engagement, and teacher presence.

 

Strategies/Structures

Our distributive learning model involves strategies and structures supported through neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Distributive learning courses encourage peer and group collaboration, engagement where students exercise agency to create their learning targets to support personal pace, and use technology to support online reflection and discussion.

 

Here’s what we’re doing…

  • Providing a teacher in each high school to provide blended learning opportunities that foster safe, caring, and inclusive environments
  • Providing courses and guidance that allow time and flexibility for students to ponder, reflect, and adjust to deepen understanding
  • Providing opportunities for student choice through distributive learning courses to  ensure the learning process is purposeful, personal, diverse, and distinct
  • Providing learning environments that address different learning needs/styles by encouraging social interactions, flexibility, and timely feedback

 

Here’s how we’ll know…

 

STEP 1 (KNOW)

  • Students are able to successfully register and navigate through a variety of online courses using the Moodle platform, e-mail, G-Suite, and WordPress
  • Students are able to follow course instructions for set-up and connect with DL teachers for specific questions and concerns
  • Students are able to create and organize their own course schedules to track progress

 

STEP 2 (DO)

  • Students engage in meaningful interactions with peers, teachers, and their online courses
  • Students are able to apply and demonstrate evidence of learning by engaging with specific learning activities, and have choice in their completion
  • A variety of learning resources (i.e. videos, written instructions, pictures, forums) help support the neuro-plasticity of the learner and a wide variety of learning needs

 

STEP 3 (UNDERSTAND)

  • Learning reflections through various online courses demonstrate students’ ability to self-assess their experience and knowledge and to demonstrate skills
  • Students are able to revisit their learning goals and progress and advocate for resources to support their learning
  • Students can better understand their self-motivation, working habits and acknowledge what they need to be successful 21st century learners

 

Here’s the data we’ll consider…

 

STEP 1 (KNOW)

  • Number of students who successfully register and complete substantive assignments
  • Identify the types of courses students enroll
  • Reasons why students select particular online courses

 

STEP 2 (DO)

  • Number of students who successfully complete courses
  • Compare/Contrast popular course offerings to identify possible factors that lead to engagement, community, and connections (i.e.: features that foster the move from executive functioning to creative development and opportunities for collaboration)
  • Compare/Contrast popular course offerings that support the neuro-plasticity research

 

STEP 3 (UNDERSTAND)

  • Identify online courses that best support student self-assessment
  • Survey data to determine from students how distributive learning best supports their understanding of self-motivation, working habits and what they need to be successful 21st century learners

 

 

Big Idea #2 – Digital portfolios (Student Action/Learning Plans) are designed to foster student agency and resiliency.

 

Goal Statement – We will use DC 11 as a means to support students authorizing their personal learning plans in the form of a digital portfolio.

 

We expect all students in Grades 10, 11, 12 will have a digital portfolio that meets:

  • self-reflection, self-assessment of core competencies
  • self-reporting
  • learning outcomes
  • a tool to guide the action of students in preparing for post-secondary
  • supporting multi-aged groupings in the CLE/CLC

 

Strategies/Structures

Through an online course, Digital Communications 11, students will engage in the design process that sees them self-authored learning plans in the form of a digital portfolios. Technology, purpose and authenticity, and engagement are pathways that guide students in the development of their portfolios.

 

Here’s what we’re doing…

  • Enrolling all Grades 10, 11, and 12 students in DC 11 online through the use of technology
  • All DL teachers have time to support students and teachers in the development of a digital portfolio through collaboration with school staff and students
  • DC 11 is integrated with the CLE/CLC/Capstone programs in each school, supporting the purpose and authenticity of the creation of digital portfolios
  • Designed DC 11 to engage students in self-reflection and self-authoring a personalized digital portfolio, that showcases their strengths, stretches, and needs across the competencies.

 

Here’s how we’ll know…

 

STEP 1 (KNOW)

  • Students are able to successfully register and navigate through the DC 11 course using the Moodle platform and the digital portfolio template (My Action Plan – MAP) using Google Sites
  • Students are able to successfully locate and duplicate the digital portfolio template

 

STEP 2 (DO)

  • Students are able to apply and demonstrate evidence of learning by engaging with the digital portfolio template – MAP, (i.e.: choosing and self-reflecting on specific learning examples that show evidence of the core competencies)
  • Students demonstrate their digital literacy skills by applying a design process to the creation of their portfolios (i.e.: creating a personalized Google site)
  • Students use different blended-learning opportunities (i.e.: CLE classroom and Moodle online)

 

STEP 3 (UNDERSTAND)

  • Self-assessment check-ins (in-person and online) throughout the DC 11 course to demonstrate and share their digital literacy skills and portfolio for feedback
  • Students use their digital portfolio as/part of their Capstone presentation

 

Here’s the data we’re using to track…

 

STEP 1 (KNOW)

  • Number of students enrolled in the DC 11 course on, or before, first reporting period

 

STEP 2 (DO)

  • Number of students who have completed the substantive assignment on, or before, first reporting period
  • Anecdotal feedback from students and teachers regarding the onboarding and development of student portfolios including identifying barriers that prevent students from accessing and developing their digital portfolio
  • Identify specific digital literacy skills needed to successfully access and develop a digital portfolio
  • Number of students who used guiding questions as part of the self-reflection process

 

STEP 3 (UNDERSTAND)

  • Number of student sharing their portfolios with their DC 11 teachers (5 times/year or 1 check-in per reporting period)
  • Number of Grade 12 students using their digital portfolio as their Capstone
  • Anecdotal responses from students on how they use/plan to use their digital portfolio
  • Anecdotal responses from students on developing a digital portfolio
 

Enduring Understandings

Big Idea #1 – Applying neuroscience to distributive learning design can help increase engagement, community, and connection.

  • Distance education is used to transform learning opportunities for students through personalization and differentiation; all students can learn and do so in different ways, at different times and pace.
  • Brain science can also be used practically—and tactically—to create more engaging online learning experiences. (Sarah Nicoll. How to Apply Brain Science to Online Learning. https://www.d2l.com/corporate/blog/apply-brain-science-online-learning/, 2017)

 

Big Idea #2 – Digital portfolios (Student Action/Learning Plans) are designed to foster student agency and resiliency. 

  • Preparing students to be successful includes helping them distinguish themselves as individual, resilient, competent learners (through the development of a personal action/learning plan). Learners deal with contents while observing their learning process and try to give it a meaning (Behrens, 1997).
  • Coaching aims to support students in their learning behavior and their competence development, especially through externally guided support for reflection and self-reflection (Haberleitner, Deistler, & Ungvari, 2007).
  • Personalized learning plans lead to inclusion and diversity.