Rob Thompson, candidate for the Area C position on the Comox Valley School Board | Submitted photo
Rob Thompson: SD 71 trustee candidate looks at the future of education post-pandemic
BY ROB THOMPSON
At this stage, we should be preparing for worst-case scenario. Covid-Coronavirus is showing no signs of dissipating soon. The remainder of this item is offered with absolute respect and is in no way intended to make light of the situation. People are passing away from this disease.
That said, the pandemic eventually will loosen its grasp on our lives and our economy, and we will have fiscal liabilities remaining at every level of government – Federal, Provincial, Municipal. One way of offsetting at least some of these deficits will be to use the most cost-effective methods for the delivery of services.
Online-virtual education at Kindergarten-Grade 12 level seems set to be one of these cost-effective services.
I did an MA in Leadership at Royal Roads on the cusp of this century, completing a thesis in implementing online education (k-12). I was then hired by RRU to, over the next decade-plus. instruct cohorts of administrators, both domestic and international, in which technologies-programs at the time best suited K-12 learners – and to instruct teachers, both domestic and international, in how best to utilize the technologies selected to engage K-12 learners to maximum effect.
My situation was therefore balanced positively, as I was working with K-12 administrators and teachers at the same time I was working with secondary school students themselves day-to-day.
I am in the process of completing my Education Doctorate, with a thesis on the topic of what K-12 learners in this current (2020) decade bring to the table in terms of preferences, skills, knowledge and attributes. The majority proportion of these students seem well prepared to maximize their learning in online-virtual environments, quite possibly reducing the need for as many face-to-face learning sessions and therefore reducing the need for as many face-to-face spaces.
I don’t claim to know everything about these complex areas of education.
Nor do I know everything about every one of the learners in the K-12 pipeline. They are your daughters and your sons: you know them better than anyone. So we will need you to step up and engage in the conversation. If elected as a Trustee for SD71, I will invite you to participate in this conversation.
There is nothing to say there is not a ‘sweet spot’ (a mix of online-virtual and face-to-face learning experiences) that extends each child’s learning to the maximum possible for that child.
With that in mind, space is space. Space can be used by any number of processes. Down island, the kilns of a no longer functioning mill have been converted to both work and office spaces for small businesses. Imagine a scenario where fewer face-to-face learning experiences mean consolidation of existing ‘schools’ into fewer buildings – leaving the remaining buildings for, well, housing, or offices, or other necessary, potential revenue-creating activities.
Education for every child remains my priority – and my focus should I be elected Trustee.
That includes the possibilities that might become available for our indigenous children. Imagine the possibilities of an indigenous child from our community joining an online-virtual environment shared by other indigenous children located internationally, with all of that access to countless centuries of ‘ways of knowing’ and techniques of knowledge dissemination.
All of this is possible. Vote for me, and let’s fire up the conversation.
AREA C VOTERS TO ELECT NEW SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE
Due to the resignation of the formerly elected Area C representative, voters will go to the polls on Saturday, Dec. 12 to choose a new school board trustee. The six candidates are:
Randi Baldwin, Kandice Bielert, Monica Parkin, Terence Pruden, Cristi May Sacht and Robert Thompson.
All candidates are welcome to submit articles for publication on this website.
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