MEd Projects (Curriculum and Instruction)

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    Locally-based environmental science education
    (2023-07-04) Heinekey, Douglas; Prendergast, Monica; Pelton, Tim
    This project presents a locally based approach to environmental science education. By focusing on the environmental factors that are most proximal and influential to the ecosystem in which learning is taking place, relevance and interest for students is increased. By incorporating local Indigenous knowledge, connections to place can be created, and environmental values can be instilled. Student based inquiry is explored as a pedagogical approach which can accommodate a broad range of interests and create space for different environmental perspectives to come together in one setting. The final product of this project is a short inquiry-based unit plan for the BC Environmental Science 12 curriculum. Through a scaffolded inquiry approach that progresses from teacher guided to free inquiry, this unit promotes student engagement with their local environment, integrating Indigenous knowledge and making connections with local as well as global environmental issues. The conclusion of this unit is a free student inquiry project into a topic of their choice.  
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    Creating a Competency Continuum: Assessing mathematical literacy in secondary education
    (2022-07-15) MacLean, Andrew; Milford, Todd; Stege, Ulrike
    Following educational trends in jurisdictions around the world, in 2015 the Ministry of Education (MOE) in British Columbia (BC), Canada introduced a redesigned K-12 curriculum which moved away from content-focussed educational objectives towards competency-driven learning outcomes. One of the significant challenges of this curriculum change is the absence of a framework that supports educators in effectively assessing the type of learner competency development used by the MOE as part of their graduation framework at the secondary level. In this project, we responded to this challenge by developing and testing a novel assessment instrument for use in a competency-based learning environment in BC. This instrument incorporates fuzzy logic principles to assess learning artifacts in the context of mathematical literacy as defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In partnership with the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry (PSII), an independent, inquiry-based secondary school located in Victoria, BC, we introduced this assessment instrument, and then, over the course of two months in 2018, collected data concerning its use in assessment of mathematical literacy in their highly personalized and interdisciplinary learning environment. We present the initial findings from the study, and iterations on the assessment tool which further address challenges of implementing competency-based assessment (CBA) in BC K-12 classrooms and beyond.
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    Mindfulness Matters
    (2022-05-31) Symington, Rosemary; Thom, Jennifer S.; Tobin, Ruthanne
    Feelings of stress and anxiety have increased in children during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown and subsequent months of uncertainty have changed the way people interact. Social distancing, mask-wearing, and the inability to freely socialise how children could before the pandemic have created an extra layer of stress and trauma while educators, parents, and students are navigating returning to school. This project focuses on the practice of mindfulness by considering how Jon Kabat-Zinn’s nine attitudes of mindfulness can help children feel grounded and assist them in living authentically in the present moment. This inquiry into mindfulness as situated within curriculum studies and educational philosophies focuses on embodied practices of being non-judging of our thoughts, demonstrating acceptance and patience, seeing the world with a beginner’s mind, trusting in the process of meditation while non-striving for any particular outcome. Letting go of expectations, doubts, fears, and feeling gratitude and generosity when experiencing life fully in the present moment may assist children to shift from human doings to human beings connected to the world and showing resilience during challenging times. A 64-oracle card deck entitled “Sentiments from the Sea” with three-word mantras has been created to help children develop mindfulness at home or in the classroom. Keywords: mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, compassion, gratitude, sea-life oracle cards
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    Professional Development and the Reggio Emilia Approach: The British Columbia Context
    (2022-01-04) Jensen, Emma; Rieken, Ted; Streelasky, Jodi
    The theories and pedagogies that constitute the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education have been the focus of research and inspiring change in the field for over forty years; however, much remains unknown about Reggio Emilia’s system of professional development and support facilitated by a team of pedagogistas. As these theories and pedagogies begin to be embraced and adopted within British Columbian early learning contexts, it has become evident that there is a need to reconsider traditional models for professional development. This project reviews existing literature on the role of educators within both British Columbia and Reggio Emilia early learning contexts, Reggio Emilia’s approach to professional learning and its impact on educator practice. Research to date suggests that Reggio Emilia’s system of professional development and support, aids professionals in evolving and transforming their practice. Furthermore, current Canadian research on this model indicates its capacity to generate new knowledge and understanding with/in professional communities of practice. This project includes a link to a short film, informed by research, which briefly expands on Reggio Emilia professional development and British Columbia’s newly established Early Childhood Pedagogy Network.
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    Common Worlding with(in) Early Childhood Education: (Re)situating Everyday Pedagogies
    (2021-05-24) Yazbeck, Sherri-Lynn; Streelasky, Jodi; Filler, Chris
    Children of the 21st century are inheriting catastrophic ecological changes resulting in biodiversity loss, ongoing acts of colonization, displacement of human and multispecies beings, and pandemics brought about by zoonoses. Educational approaches grounded in Euro-Western developmental, linear, individual, and static practices are no longer an option. What if we shift the anthropocentric gaze commonly taken up in early childhood education to think with common worlding (Taylor & Giugni, 2012; Taylor, 2013; Taylor et al., 2013), with more-than-human, as active participants in the co-shaping of our relational understandings of the world in which we are enmeshed? How might this shift in perception change our engagement and pedagogies with children, place, materials, and other beings? How might this shift in gaze create possibilities for learning and living differently, with a shared “response-ability” (Haraway, 2016, p. 28) for the places and histories we inhabit and those the children of the 21st century inherit? Through an interdisciplinary literature review disrupting binary and stewardship logic it will be shown that a relational, situated, and pedagogical common worlds framing is imperative for investigating otherwise in an effort to reconfigure and rearticulate curriculum and pedagogies responsive to 21st century precarities. Building on knowledge acquired, an exhibition (Re)situating Everyday Pedagogies in the Making will attend and attune to our uneven, interconnected, and entangled common worlding relations in an effort to (re)situate, unfold, theorize, and weave lively common worlding pedagogies responsive to the messy conditions and politics of 21st century early childhood education.
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    Determinants of Change and Technology Adoption in K-12 Schools
    (2021-05-09) Miller, Emily; Irvine, Dr. Valerie; Paskevicius, Dr. Michael
    This project focuses, from the perspective of a school administrator, on determinants of change and technology adoption in K-12 schools. The focus of this study is identifying factors that cause teachers to change and adopt technology into their practice. Research and literature into theory of change, technology adoption theories, and some psychological constructs are explored. Chapter Three includes a technology plan template which has components and questions to consider based on the researched theories. In order to create effective change within a school, one must be intentional in planning and include components at both a systemic and individual level.
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    Fractals: A Natural Model Technology Supported Learning Outside
    (2021-05-01) Weston, Lawrence Edward; Paskevicius, Michael; Irvine, Valerie
    Fractals are repeating, recursive, diminishing patterns often found in nature. Imagine a tree, starting with the trunk, held strong by its roots that expand into the soil in support of the branches, stems and twigs that extend up and out. As the tree grows in every direction, the branches and roots are increasingly finer, more delicate, fluid and growing versions of the original trunk. New schools, inquiry projects, and this paper share this model of growth. All start with a big idea, extend out in divergent directions and uncover new questions as the inquiry lives and grows. This paper is part of a larger inquiry project looking at developing a land-based middle school at the new school I am fortunate to help co-create. That school is Mill Bay Nature School, on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. To support this inquiry, these chapters attempt to summarize a small part of the current literature on pedagogical best-practice and the use of technology in education. The large central trunk themes arising from the literature on current pedagogy include experiential learning, land based learning, place-based learning, place-conscious learning, Indigenous pedagogy and its connection to 21st Century Learning. Other branches of literature reviewed include a view of the accelerated use of technology in education, student and teacher engagement, the dynamic needs of modern learners, and the current focus on twenty-first century skills. The sources are primarily published in the past five years. As much as possible focus on the local context, issues and opportunities specific to the Province of British Columbia, Vancouver Island and ultimately my own school. This collection represents the serendipitous wonders that became the branches, stems and twigs of my inquiry my goal of bringing educational technology and learning outside together.
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    Student Engagement in Synchronous Video Meetings: Exploring Changes in Instruction
    (2021-05-01) Sakiyama, Dale; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    One of the challenges educators face in teaching is maintaining student engagement in lessons, activities and assignments. In the classroom, teachers employ a variety of strategies intended to gain and maintain students’ attention and engagement with the material or subject being studied. In a face-to-face environment, a teacher may utilize partner and group work, or check in with students while surveying the class, among other strategies. However, when face-to-face instruction is not possible, educators must navigate an unfamiliar environment from which to instruct and engage. The recent educational climate in a viral pandemic has forced educational institutions to include online synchronous and asynchronous methods of instruction. As a result, instructors have had to rethink ways to gain and maintain student engagement in the new medium. This project explores ways to both adapt teaching strategies that are successful in increasing student engagement in the classroom to synchronous video meetings, as well as investigate new strategies that may only apply or become possible within a synchronous video meeting environment.
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    Inquiry-based collaborative learning: Supporting a paradigm shift towards a technology-integrated shared classroom
    (2021-05-01) Houghton, Deirdre; Soles, Gary; Vogelsang, Andrew; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    This project focuses on the areas of Social Studies, Digital Media and Carpentry. The focus is what are the benefits, for both teachers and learners, of employing Cross-Curricular Inquiry on student motivation and engagement. Furthermore, collaborative inquiry was employed to enhance the emerging atmosphere of the facilitation of effective, and differentiated student learning.
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    Teaching Digital Etiquette in the Primary Grades: An Inquiry Approach
    (2021-05-01) Crossley, Heather; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    This project focuses on the development of a digital etiquette unit plan for primary grades in an inquiry-based environment. Appropriate digital etiquette includes the ability to converse and communicate with kindness and civility when messaging and working online, as well as supporting other’s positive digital identity. The literature review includes a review of research regarding the effects of cyberbullying on today’s youth and how strong digital citizenship skills, including digital etiquette, are vital when navigating social media and texting platforms. Chapter three includes a detailed yet adaptable unit plan on how one might introduce digital etiquette to a primary class. Although many primary students do not often have the opportunity to text with friends in a messaging application, various video games and online learning platforms with a text box feature are becoming more common. Bridging classroom etiquette with digital etiquette is an important first step to helping all students understand the importance of kindness and civility in the online world.
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    Classroom Engagement with Knowledge Holders-Through Video Conferencing
    (2021-05-01) Hood, Trevor; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    Working in a global pandemic environment has been a catalyst in how educators can use technology to support learners. From this context, it created opportunities for bringing in stakeholders who wanted to share their knowledge into the classroom remotely. As such, the question which guided this project is how to improve in-class student engagement with video conferencing by bringing knowledge holders into the classroom remotely. The project setting focuses on grade ten high school students learning the Career and Life Education 10 course from the British Columbia Ministry of Education. Throughout the project Indigenous ways of learning are also explored to improve social engagement and social presence.
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    Designing Effective Online Orientation Programs for First-Year University Students
    (2021-05-01) Crozier, Nicole; Paskevicius, Michael; Irvine, Valerie
    While asynchronous, self-paced online orientation programs are not brand new in the field of orientation, transition and retention, COVID-19 forced many institutions to rapidly create a program for the first time to help welcome fall 2020 students. Using the community of inquiry model as a framework, this project explores the research related to orientation and online learning in an effort to identify the principles, practices and processes that can help a student affairs professional design an effective and engaging asynchronous online orientation program, or enhance an existing program. This research is presented through a series of blog posts on the website
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    Pandemic Restrictions and the Live Audience-Performer Relationship
    (2021-05-01) Schwarz, René; Paskevicius, Michael; Irvine, Valerie
    The most distinguishing feature of performing arts courses is the culminating presence of an audience. Although direct research about how audiences play a teaching role in performing arts courses and in performing arts in general is scant, there is evidence describing and showing relational aspects between performer and audience in various environments. In an educational context, I propose calling this relationship the Audience-Performer Feedback Loop (APFL). Using this as a pedagogical basis and being faced with Health Authority restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, this project provides technologies and strategic solutions to mitigate and maintain the role in which audiences teach performing arts students synchronously. This paper includes technology tutorials for inexperienced teachers and producers to bring live, at-home, synchronous audiences into their theatres under the watchful eyes of performers who thrive on learning from their audiences in real time. More research is needed to prove how the audience plays a teaching role as a distinguishing feature of performing arts education. Future policies should make direct reference to APFLs in performing arts curricula and be accompanied by strategies and techniques for understanding, identifying, learning, and assessing how APFLs shape a performance and have direct influence on the development and skill of performing arts students.
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    Digital Literacy for Kindergarten
    (2021-05-01) Westwood, Tracey; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    Digital technology is interwoven into many aspects of our lives. In British Columbia (B.C.), there is no escaping the necessity for teaching children how to use Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) safely and responsibly. For many early childhood educators, the question of whether digital literacy education truly needs to begin in kindergarten persists. The purpose of this paper is to examine this question through a review of the relevant literature. The review seeks to find the why and the how of incorporating ICT into early learning. Some of the research reveals a resistance to using ICT with children, citing the expense of purchasing and maintaining technology, and the negative effects of screens on children’s health and social growth. Other research acknowledges that problems exist but can be offset by the manner in which educators use ICT. Technology used to enhance learning in a thoughtful and appropriate way can have many cognitive, social, and physical benefits for children. The research also addresses the question of why digital literacy education should begin early as there are already vast differences between children’s digital skills, beliefs, and habits even before they enter school. Some of the studies in this review find that educators are in need of professional development opportunities that allow them to learn how to teach the digital skills learners need to make ICT use a positive addition to the curriculum. As a result of this review, this project was created to include an educator’s guide for introducing digital literacy to kindergarten students. It is grounded in B.C.’s curriculum and B.C.’s Digital Literacy Framework (B.C. Ministry of Education, n.d.). It is a simple, scripted guide that any educator should be able to apply regardless of their own skill level as they work toward incorporating ICT into their own practice.
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    Applying Universal Design for Learning and the BC Digital Literacy Framework to Science Inquiry Projects
    (2021-05-01) Dyck, Heidi; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    Using science inquiry projects as the vehicle, teachers can provide a personalized learning experience that is inclusive to all learners. Technology, which is integral to teaching and learning in today’s classrooms, can contribute to personalized learning and presents an opportunity to help develop digital literacies skills. In British Columbia (B.C.), teachers are asked to integrate technology with little training or supporting curriculum, which means that digital literacy skills are not consistent among educators or students. With the help of existing frameworks, educators can design lessons that meet the needs of all learners while also teaching important digital literacy skills. The goal of this project is to provide a sample lesson plan for high school science inquiry projects that identifies relevant digital literacy skills, makes suggestions on how to facilitate the development of those skills, and promotes effective uses of student technology for personalized learning by implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Research literature on student technology use inside and outside of the class will be reviewed, as will recent research on the integration of technology to enhance or assist collaboration, inquiry, and personalized learning. The literature review will conclude with a review of research regarding two frameworks that will be implemented to integrate technology in B.C. high school science inquiry projects: the BC Digital Literacy Framework and UDL. By reflecting on and implementing these frameworks, educators may be better prepared to utilize technology in science inquiry projects to achieve more personalized learning. For this project, I will be using the BC Digital Literacy Framework and UDL in order to show how technology can be intentionally and effectively integrated into B.C. senior science classes to teach digital literacy skills and enhance personalization during inquiry projects.
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    Designing an Online Mathematics Resource
    (2021-05-01) Tradewell, Cheryl; Paskevicius, Michael; Irvine, Valerie; Thom, Jennifer
    Students are much more mobile than mathematics curricula allow. A motivated student, when changing schools or even while attending a British Columbia (BC) school, could use a well-planned online mathematics resource to prepare themselves for a course placement evaluation that suits their university plans. An effective online resource for BC would include references to not only the specific curriculum skills, but also the BC curriculum big ideas, the core competencies, and the curricular competencies (BC’s Course Curriculum, n.d.). It would incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and be focused on inquiry-based learning and authentic real-life applications of knowledge. A constructivist approach including some persuasive pedagogy would be suitable for a static resource. Videos, quizzing apps and tasks, and real data and/or articles using math are readily available. Although there are many online resources accessible, high school students need guidance on what concepts and skills they need to learn while ensuring their privacy is not compromised as it could be by many of the online resources hosted in areas of the world which do not have the strict laws BC has. An asynchronous self-directed resource requires automated feedback, motivational elements such as gamification, and the opportunity for self-regulation and exploration of self-chosen topics of interest. Self-assessment and the development of a portfolio of work to show evidence of learning will be used instead of assigning a numerical percentage or level to the work completed.
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    Incorporating Reflective Practice as a Means of Improving Student Self-Regulated Learning in a Digital Learning Environment
    (2021-05-01) Storie, Benjamin; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    Available research has shown that digital learning environments, in which students take active responsibility for controlling aspects of technology-infused learning, are often underutilized as many students lack the appropriate cognitive and metacognitive strategies - or self-regulated learning (SRL) skills. Providing SRL support in digital learning positively affects student learning (Johnson & Davies, 2014), with metacognition appearing to play the central role in SRL development (Winne, 2014). In addition, there seems to be agreement that reflection is a process by which one acts metacognitively (OECD, 2019), with use of reflective prompts being a common support to provoke metacognition in the literature. While the general research into reflection is mixed (Lew & Schmidt, 2011), more recent research on the use of reflective prompts as a support points to a positive influence on academic performance in digital learning (van Alten et al, 2020). This project details the research of reflection as a specific strategy to develop student SRL skill, culminating in a practical, research-backed book of the theory, strategies, and guidelines to help educators incorporate reflective training into digital learning environments to develop SRL skill in students.
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    Game-Based and Gamified learning within the Elementary classroom
    (2021-05-01) Faune, Nicholas; Paskevicius, Michael; Irvine, Valerie
    Within elementary classrooms educators still struggle to determine the best way to differentiate instruction and provide student-centered approaches to learning. Gamification and game-based learning are ways in which students can be engaged with various types of subjects and content. Education is moving towards having students learn a variety of skills such as collaboration, inquiry, and self-regulation. However, many educators continue to teach with whole group instruction where every student is given the same task. Gamification and game-based learning allow students to be given a low stress, individualized game to practice their skill. Educators are able to adapt their instruction to whole group games, small group games, or partner games. Through the use of these strategies the educator can target lagging skills such as self-regulation in regards to winning or losing or even how to work with a partner. They are also target content skills such as mental math strategies, spelling, and science concepts without rote memorization and regurgitation of information.
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    Facilitating Online Learning with the 5R's: Embedding Indigenous Pedagogy into the Online Space
    (2021-05-01) Lake, Joanna; Atkins, Hayley; Irvine, Valerie; Paskevicius, Michael
    This project is a collection of resources for educators and instructors within the K-12 and post-secondary systems to support the adoption of Indigenous-created frameworks in online learning environments. The discovery phase in chapter one outlines our exploration of merging two seemingly disconnected perspectives and how our own life experiences and educational background gave rise to this project. The literature review in chapter two uncovers the concepts of Indigenous Knowledge and educational technology and creates connections between the two fields, while identifying gaps in the research and the work that needs to be done. The 5R’s of Indigenous pedagogy are relationship, respect, relevance, responsibility, and reciprocity. These 5R’s serve as important reminders for course designers in K-12 and post-secondary educators and benefit all learners. Our resources and reflections address how the 5R’s can be used as best practice to enrich online teaching platforms and remote learning. The positive effect of reciprocal communication, relationship building, and embracing Indigenous-created frameworks in online learning environments extends out into the community and beyond.
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    Integrating 3D Design and Printing with Core Subjects: A Collection of Resources and Tutorials
    (2021-05-01) Howlett, Clayton F; Paskevicius, Michael; Irvine, Valerie
    This project examined the best advantages and considerations in integrating 3D design and printing content into generalist educator practices. Previous literature demonstrated that 3D design and print in education could result in beneficial learning for students, but obstacles existed in how to train educators in using the technology, as well as how to seamlessly integrate the technology with cotemporary curriculum delivery. This project offered a resource of various units which educators could teach to engage in 3D design and printing with their students without sacrificing the learning of traditional core subjects and proposed a shift from teaching 3D design and print to students as a stand-alone topic to using 3D design and printing as a supplementary tool to be used to weave curriculum. The resource is published as a webpage, found at
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