I have been so stoked the last few months. I must admit the last year or so have not been particularly inspiring here in New Brunswick. It appeared that, just as a real shift in the learning narrative was starting to gain hold through a series of initiatives (1 to 1 programs in 28 schools, funding for innovative projects, etc), all those gains started to slip away. It looked like we were in danger of repeating the past, with 21st century learning spaces becoming “just another edu-fad”.
But alas, the initiative is back – and with it my excitement for a new learning landscape in New Brunswick. Over the past six months 21st Century learning – how that looks on the ground is still up for some debate, but at least the conversations are happening – has moved to the forefront in the New Brunswick Education system. They’ve even spent money creating a fancy video!
But alas, words mean little without some backup of resources. What has me excited about the recent developments is that there seems to be some seriousness in approach, with a high degree of consultation from the departmental level on down. I am particularly impressed with how senior management at the department have sought and welcomed input from a variety of stakeholders.
Recently our district has announced that a new 6-12 school in a rural area about an hour out of town will be a 1-to-1 student laptop school when it opens in September. Two things excite me about this; it restarts the shift we were experiencing a couple of years ago and it will go a long way to addressing the disparities, both real and perceived, between urban and rural schools. The learning spaces for their staff and students will suddenly become much flatter!
As I continue to read of the effects of the economic situation on education worldwide, particularly public schools south of the border, I am so thankful to be an educator in New Brunswick. While their may have worn different political stripes, the last several administrations have continued to add to the vision of previous leaders – doing what is right for our students as we begin to prepare them for a future that will be digital and connected.
Bravo Nouveau Brunswick!