ICT central to three new 21st century agreements in New Brunswick

New Brunswick’s journey toward creating a 21st Century model of public education took three significant steps forward recently, with ICT being a central element in all three instances. 

John Kershaw

On June 3rd the New Brunswick Department of Education (Anglophone Sector) entered into new agreements with three New Brunswick universities regarding pre-service teacher training.

The agreements represent a bold and exciting step forward by the universities in supporting New Brunswick’s 21st Century learning agenda. The agreements commit each of the three universities’ Faculties of Education to adopt new 21st Century oriented standards for beginning teacher training.

The process of reaching the agreements was highly collaborative, and included a team of representatives from the three Faculties of Education, the Departments of Education and Post Secondary, Education, Training and Labour, and the New Brunswick Teacher’s Association. The new teaching standards relate to the integration of ICT with pedagogy, and a commitment by the universities to adopt within three years a 1:1 student-computer model within their Faculties of Education, reflecting the province’s intent to adopt a 1:1 student-computer model in its upper grades in the years ahead.

 On June 9th the Department entered into a second agreement, this time with the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Infor­mation Technology. The agreement sets the stage for the creation the 21st Century Learning Technology Centre. The mandate of the Centre is to develop technolo­gies, programs, and content that will support the implementation and delivery of 21st Century learning programs to New Brunswick schools and numerous stake-holders and audiences.

The Centre will consist of three distinct yet interconnected activity areas:

The 21st Century Support Service will pro­vide technical and pedagogical support for teachers in implementing 21st Century learning initiatives, technologies, and resources. This service oriented initiative will be designed to provide on-line technology mentor support to teachers as the 21st Century learning agenda is implemented.

Research and Development will provide research, col­laboration, experimentation, and implementation of advanced technologies to support 21st Century learning and in doing so, will compile a body of knowledge for developing scalable and proven solutions for wide-spread commercialization.

• Informed by the Research and Development effort, the Distributed Learning Network will be responsible for the design, develop­ment, and delivery of learning opportunities students and over time will include a virtual high school program.

The Centre’s location at the NRC facility on the University of New Brunswick campus in Fredericton will facilitate the develop­ment of a cluster of 21st Century learning activities locally while also serving as coordination vehicle that will leverage distributed resources and people from across the Province through a virtual/online environment.
Governance of the Centre will be shared by NRC and Department of Education representatives.

The Centre is expected to be operational by end June 2010 with the Distributed Learning Net­work and 21st Century Support Service ready to provide basic services by September 2010.

On July 3rd, 2010 the New Brunswick Department of Education signed a third 21st Century learning agreement, with Dr. Francis Pang, a visionary and leader in international education in China. Dr. Pang and New Brunswick have been in partnership for over 13 years whereby New Brunswick curriculum is used in Dr. Pang’s international schools in China. The new agreement with Dr. Pang’s company AKD International commits the two parties to continue to work collaboratively and align the international program in China with the emerging 21st Century model of learning in New Brunswick. The new agreement is likely the first such international education agreement ever to be signed in the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing.

John D. Kershaw

Deputy Minister

Department of Education

New Brunswick, Canada

(Anglophone Sector)

David M. Kershaw

Masters, Computer Science

Halifax, Nova Scotia 

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