LearnCanada's mission is to leverage the potential of CA*net 3 to develop a brodaband interactive virtual learning community for Canadian K-12 educators. With access to advanced networks and tools, members of the community will collaborate in developing the requisite pedagogical expertise to migrate to an innovative learning culture that will sustain and enhance Canada's position within the global knowledge economy.

LearnCanada will develop broadband infrastructure, multimedia tools and middleware for professional development through virtual peer-learning communities, and tele-mentoring within a portal/repository environment.

  • "Virtual peer-learning community"refers to geographically distributed peers, bound together via broadband networks, supporting each other in specific learning goals.
  • "Tele-mentoring" refers to broadband interaction of geographically distributed learners with one or more mentors.
  • "Portal/repository" refers to a broadband mediated user-environment providing convenient access to all required functionality and content.

LearnCanada will focus on professional development of K-12 educators, addressing economic, teacher time constraints, and geographic barriers to professional development. LearnCanada will create a powerful easy-to-use environment in which educators work with mentors and peers, without requiring them to be simultaneously scheduled in time and place. LearnCanada will transform professional development to a team-based collaborative activity to share knowledge and experience, as opposed to ineffective forms such as one-day workshops.

LearnCanada methodology will focus on user-centered requirements, field trials with diverse populations of educators and professional pedagogical evaluation. LearnCanada will develop portal/repository middleware in collaboration with other CANARIE and international projects. LearnCanada will provide supporting evidence for the value of large-scale broadband deployment to schools by removing professional development barriers that cannot otherwise be cost-effectively alleviated.

The LearnCanada team has a unique combination of capabilities, knowledge, experience, and intellectual property (IP) in broadband infrastructure, multimedia for schools, research and development of software for learning, modern pedagogy and professional development practice, Canadian schools and curricula, evaluation of learning technologies and project management expertise. The team is built around six school boards across Canada; their educators will be participating in user-centered design, field testing, tele-mentoring, evaluation, and their PD IP will be re-targeted for broadband multimedia applications. TVO and OLA bring educational video IP and production expertise, leveraged into reconfigurable multimedia objects. IBM brings experience with multimedia databases and middleware. CRC, NRC and Shaw bring experience with experimental learning technologies, information management and experience with broadband infrastructure for schools. SchoolNet brings multimedia metadata expertise. SchoolNet, STEM~Net amd school boards bring experience integrating technology and curricula. As an associate member, the National Arts Centre and Pinchas Zukerman bring expert mentors and experience in distance music education for their teachers.

LearnCanada outcomes will impact learning in Canada by demonstrating techniques for enhancing professional development of Canadian educators, facilitating adoption of innovative teaching methods and curricula, and for improving and disseminating best practices nationwide. Improving educators' learning, leverages learning by their students. Furthermore, LearnCanada outcomes can initiate similar approaches to professional learning and knowledge management within Canadian industry government and other educational institutions. LearnCanada will raise Canada's international profile in innovative learning and lead to export Canadian learning technologies and expertise.

LearnCanada Project Summary Diagram