Communications Research Centre

The last session I’m attending here at the Broadband Summer Institute in Canmore is by John Spence from the Communications Research Centre.

“Relationships are everything.” This technology is about “connecting brains to brains”. It’s not about the technology, it’s about the people you can connect to.

CRC’s role is research the future uses of this technology, forming communities, “connecting brains to brains.” To work with end users at all levels to determine requirements and the R&D agenda.

They do virtual classrooms with long units connecting 3-6 classrooms. Connecting groups across the sites, doing jigsaws across the sites.

It’s interesting that John said specifically that they aren’t a content provider. But they do arrange high level high quality experiences for students each year – international and within Canada.

John was behind the MusicGrid project. There’s a great article online on this project. They keep an online archive of their video music lessons as well. John imagines a digital music portfolio. In this example, teachers defined the research agenda. John works with the researchers and software developers to develop what the teachers need.

Next, John invited a teacher to come up and share about an environmental project. The students connected to experts via phone and videoconferencing. One of the culminating projects was a dramatic presentation of listening to what the beavers are saying about the environment, presented via videoconference.

John showed a video clip of programming from the Canadian Space Agency. High school students mentored middle school students in the videoconference with CSA. Then the students worked in small break out sessions facilitated by the high school sessions and connected back up with CSA to share what they learned. The facilitators “challenge the students to use their collective knowledge to equal the intelligence of the astronauts.”

In another video clip, students from various high schools from around Canada researched and presented what various faiths (Islam, Jewish, etc.) believe about stem cell research. As part of the connection the students were also connected to experts in the field.

Another video clip showed students learning how to play the violin – a small school 500 miles north of Montreal – mostly Inuit students who didn’t speak English or French. As the kids learned, 400 students in the auditorium in Montreal clapped for the students. How powerfully affirming and exciting for the students.

In another clip, the famous Canadian violinist Zukerman teaches a Russian student at the Manhattan School of Music.

Cool stuff. John had more video clips than time. What a treat!

Written Aug. 15. Just couldn’t get it to post online til now.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.