School District Launches Innovative Learning Centre

Submitted. A new, specialized venue to support innovative learning and teaching has been launched in Abbotsford School District with the opening of the district’s ‘Explozone’. Officially unveiled today to a roomful of dignitaries, educators and students, the ‘teaching lab’ will help teachers explore how to create classroom community that engages students in authentic, real-world inquiry and discovery which connects directly to the new BC Curriculum.

“Over the coming years, the Explozone will play a leading role in improving the student-learning environment and supporting the 21st century classroom,” notes Abbotsford Board of Education chair Cindy Schafer. “It is a Board funded initiative that supports excellence in teaching – an integral element of our strategic plan – as well as our district vision of a world-class, innovative and individualized educational experience for every student.”

“Everyone will learn in the Explozone” explains Julie Rousseau, the district’s Director of Instruction. “While one teacher is involved in an activity with their students, other educators can observe and reflect on the learning environment they observe. Our district is taking the lead in BC in creating a unique and flexible space for teachers to explore experiential learning.”

“With the introduction of the new curriculum through the BC Education Plan, there is clearly a shift in education from ‘stand and deliver’ to ‘hands-on’ or experiential learning. If we expect teachers to create this learning environment it makes sense we provide them with support that mirrors this way of learning,” notes Ms. Rousseau.

“Many teachers are willing to transform their practice but need a chance to experience how they can do things differently. The Explozone will be a place of ‘how’. For teachers, the Explozone will change the way they experience professional development.”

The Explozone is housed in a newly created and equipped lab/classroom at Abbotsford Senior Secondary but will be utilized by teachers and students at every school level across the district. District teachers wishing to participate in the K-12 learning series offered at the Explozone will be able to sign up with the district’s Curriculum department to co-plan and co-develop their inquiry based lessons. Early offerings include Smarter Science, Inquiry Based Learning, Destination Imagination, Entrepreneurship, Access STEM and a Personalized Learning professional development series.

For more on the Explozone video please click here. (runs 4min 50 sec)

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