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Interviewing our School Community

Calgary Science School - Commendations and Recommendations for Further Consideration

Dr. Garry McKinnon, Superintendent, Calgary Science School

Over the two week period of March 7-18, members of the teaching and support staff (44 participants), students (approximately 600) from grades 4 to 9 in their class groupings and parents attending the March 17 and 18 Student led conferences (48 participants), were invited to share feedback in regard to the Calgary Science School by responding to the questions:

"What causes you to believe that the Calgary Science School is a very good school and what suggestions for improvement would you like to offer?"

The interviews conducted by the superintendent serve as a component of the ongoing school evaluation process. The feedback generated through the two questions (without any prompting) has been organized as commendations or recommendations for further consideration on the basis of common themes which were identified through a thematic analysis process.

Remixing Worldviews

"New media provides powerful new ways of representing and manipulating information."

This quote, taken from the paper "Confronting the Challenge of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century" by Henry Jenkins, suggests that digital tools and media afford teachers and students a variety of engaging and relevant ways to learn, create and express.

With this quote in mind, our grade 8 students are currently working on a project where they are manipulating, or remixing, a variety of images in order to represent their understanding of historical perspectives.

After completing a large study of the positive aspects of the Italian Renaissance, our grade 8 students are now exploring what happened to a number of indigenous populations after contact with European explorers and settlers. This chunk of the curriculum is being framed as some of the negative aspects of the expansionist western worldview that was made possible through the advances in science, technology and communication that occurred 400 or so years ago. Basically this approach to the Aztec unit provides a balance to the Renaissance unit forming a complete understanding of the roots of the western worldview.

In order to demonstrate their understanding of both the positive and negative aspects of the Renaissance worldview students are being asked to collect primary source images that represent historical figures or events and then remix them into an artist representation of the two sides of the Renaissance. These remixed pieces of art will then be assembled into an 'art installation' as part of a yearly student showcase we have every June.

We're also experimenting with QR codes on this project, using them to create a digital, 'museum guide' to accompany each piece of student work.

This is a simple exemplar that was created by one of our teachers: