Dare to Go Further

I love this video because we have all been there. Maybe not looking down from the top of a ski jump, but doing something that instilled an element of “hesitation”. No matter the scaffolding of skills or amount of experience, when something new and challenging arises, that fear of the unknown, that fear of failure can surface. The good news is that when you find success, the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming.

This year my mantra is “Dare to Go Further”. As the new Principal of Caulfeild iDEC (an inquiry-based digitally enhanced community) I am fortunate to lead a school that has been innovative in its approach to education for a number of years with very positive results. Like any innovative community, the environment in which we work changes and we must reflect on our successes and assess how we may further meet the needs of our students in reaching their full potential.

Daring to Go Further



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Over the past three years the school has developed and implemented a model of inquiry that encourages a disposition for inquiry-based thinking. The challenge has been “fitting” that disposition and approach into the breadth of the curriculum. The new draft curriculum is a game-changer. The breadth has been replaced with opportunities for a depth of learning within the content and concepts (big ideas/competencies) presented.  Educators are adapting their practice to be activators of learning that is engaging and relevant. A practice that enhances the capacity of students to be innovative in the process of thinking and manifesting a dialogue that demonstrates their growth and passion for learning.

Will Richardson shared this slide at the Computer Using Educators of BC Conference (CUEBCE) on October 24th. As we Dare to Go Further with Inquiry, the draft curriculum will provide the permission for learning to look more like this…

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The Digital Landscape

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Caulfeild iDEC is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) school. Our teachers have students engaged in their learning through the use of laptops, iPads and Smartboards. Students use various platforms for their work and use devices confidently and responsibly.

This year we will Dare to Go Further through the lens of the SAMR Model. Having the devices in the classroom is the first step, but making purposeful use of those devices is transformative and where the true power of BYOD lies. Within the foundation of inquiry-based learning, the digital landscape provides the opportunities for just-in-time learning, real world connections, an abundance of knowledge just a click away as well as resources and an audience far beyond the walls of our classroom. Ensuring our use of technology encompasses all aspects of SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition) will empower our students to have the education necessary for success in a rapidly changing world.

Learning Environments

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Caulfeild began the journey of creating a Learning Commons in the Spring and those ideas will come to fruition next year. Over the past three years the school has changed the way students think through the lens of inquiry, however the environments where that thinking happens has remained the same. I recently visited Norma Rose Pointe Elementary where architect Ron Hoffart (a TEDxWestVancouverED speaker) led a team in the rethinking of learning spaces. What they worked to achieve was an environment that nurtured the message that learning happens everywhere. There were collaborative spaces, areas for independent thought, sharing spaces and grade level areas rather than individual classrooms for each grade. As we Dare to Go Further with inquiry and digital learning, we will be mindful of how environment affects innovation and create a space with flow and flexibility that reinforce the concept that learning happens everywhere.

It’s an exciting time to be an educator. As an educational leader I look forward to the challenge of Daring to Go Further and creating the opportunities for our teachers to overcome the hesitations so that the feeling of accomplishment at the end is much like the exhilaration of our ski jumper.

What will be your ski jump this year?

Caulfeild iDEC Curriculum Night Presentation


1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog although it was a review for me since we work together. As we dare to go further, I believe it is also important to reflect on our past. Whether it be history of people, history of world wars , medical advances, educational practices; reflection and knowledge of the past is important because history does repeats itself, for better or for worse. Maybe I say this because I have been a teacher a long time and I have seen several ‘best practices ‘ come and go. Quite frankly I do not know what will be the best for our students now to prepare them for the working world they will enter in 10- 15 years . I do know they will need to learn as much humanity as they possibly can to get along with the rest of the world. Let’s hope that the skills we teach today will hold them in good stead.

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