In the ever evolving landscape of education, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must reflect on our organization, its activities, purposes, and outcomes to ensure we are truly serving education as intended and in the best way possible. Many organizations offer funding and organizational support to educators within our province, but iHub has created an agile space for teachers to explore how they can move education into the 21st Century from their own classroom and get the personalized support to do so.
For a second consecutive year the iHub performance metrics agreed to with ACOA, EECD, and PETL in July of 2018 have again been surpassed in every area – additional areas have also been added to this report to capture the full scope of iHub’s work. The tremendous success of iHub Learning Inc. has been the result of many and diverse collaborative efforts with teachers and site-based staff, district staff, funders (PETL, ACOA, EECD) funding contributors (ASDs North, West, and East; McCain’s; NBCC; and OHS), partners (ASDs N,E,S,W; Planet Hatch; Knowledge Park; R-PEACE; Mt. Allison University; and, Iron House Productions) and the Anglophone Sector Department of Education.
iHub has made a substantial impact on the Anglophone system of education in the province of New Brunswick as a supporter of educational transformation. We continue to analyze and share best-practices with educators, assist in the development of relevant learning pathways for all students, coordinate education opportunities with business, industry, community, and higher education, and develop and coordinate enriched learning experiences for students in their schools and communities.
Notably, since its inception iHub has been able to support and coordinate:
437 projects involving over 17500 students
429 linkage and partnership relationships between schools, and business, industry, community, and higher education
Over 7000 student connections with community members
Providing students with experiential, personalized and community integrated education that supports the engagement and well-being of students is at the forefront of iHub’s activities. The overall purpose of our programming is to support New Brunswick youth in developing the skills, competencies, and positive outlook necessary for them, this province, and the world to benefit in the future. We believe this goal aligns with that of the province and its community members.
The unique iHub activities that continue to support this mission are:
Provide teachers with grants to implement projects uniquely designed based on their interests and the interest/needs of their students. These grants are specifically designed to support the authentic interaction of students with business, industry, community members, and higher learning institutions.
Provide teachers with professional development funding to visit exemplary educators to learn best-practices first-hand based on their and their school’s key area(s) of interest.
Provide teachers with professional learning sessions on relevant topics such as Engagement and Problem-based Learning to deeply engage and integrate the content into practice.
Support and coordinate the development, design, and creation of new educational structures such as Innovative Personalized Learning Centres (IPLC) and the Home Knowledge Skills Project. Support is offered in the form of professional coaching and monetary funding (alongside other material resources acquired by the site’s facilitator and stakeholders). Coordination is provided through meetings and further development of the network/brand (including costs associated with time and travel to meet and marketing).
Gather and publicly share research related to all grants and relevant topics (most recently, discussions on remote learning, including a public survey for parents).
iHub provides a way for teachers to help students engage in active learning, develop Global Competencies, and see and experience potential future opportunities within their community and home province. iHub is able to do this effectively because it:
Provides support where it will be most impactful (i.e. directly to teachers who are eager to take action toward this goal)
Though the ultimate goal is to have all of education emulate the innovative practices iHub supports, it is necessary to nurture the creativity and enthusiasm that is currently blooming do develop champions of these practices. Therefore, all iHub grants are provided only to teachers who choose to participate. In supporting leaders of innovative education, these concepts and practices can be organically shared, cultivated and supported.
Does not discriminate based on location or project theme
There is no one-size-fits-all project for teachers to implement. Teachers create a project of their own, based on their interests and that of their students, and take ownership of the planning and implantation of the project - with the support and encouragement of iHub. Funding is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and funding budgets are assessed and reorganized each year based on uptake and interest.
As research and feedback is gathered, iHub can quickly make adjustments to activities. Feedback can come from educators, students, funders, parents, government, post-secondary institutions, business etc. and is always considered from the perspective of the best interest of the students. This agility can include reorganizing or channeling funding for new and/or external projects or creating new avenues of support for projects relevant to emerging LMI. With the potential of schools remaining closed for the foreseeable future, iHub has quickly reviewed several options and is prepared to continue to support students and teachers in any environment.
One additional note: iHub is a “knowledge” organization. It supports the creation, development, and demonstration of knowledge. iHub is not a tech-funding organization. Though there is need for such support, iHub only contributes funding for acquisition of technology when it is directly related to an active learning project with specific and measurable activities and outcomes designed to provide experiential, personalized, and/or community integrated learning opportunities.
Value to Education – Testimonials
To better understand the impact iHub has had on Education since its inception, here is a collection of feedback from educators from the 2019-2020 school year.
Teacher Professional Learning Session Participant
“I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you for providing myself and eight colleagues the opportunity to learn about Problem Based Learning. It was a phenomenal experience and we all agreed that it was incredibly informative, practical and we look forward to implementing our learning into the classroom. We really enjoyed and benefited from this experience and want to thank you for providing us with this learning opportunity.”
General Grant Recipients
“As always, Ihub has pushed me out of my bubble and allowed for this unique opportunity to further develop my teaching style. Innovative Education is our future but sometimes it is hard to incorporate into our teaching day. This opportunity has opened my eyes to see how rewarding and successful it can be.”
“I will forever use and modify these logic games and technology that the iHub grant gave me access to. I am forever thankful and have a whole new outlook on how I will teach Math. Thank you so very much!”
“One take away from this project was that students continued to be engaged and excited from the moment we started to the moment we finished. I was able to offer students multiple tools to complete their projects when they otherwise would not have the means to complete their ideas. They were free to use, explore and create their prototypes and designs because the tools were at their hands. It was an amazing experience to watch from start to finish.”
“Thank you iHub for being a key part in this engaging and exciting learning opportunity!”
“… thank you for believing in me and this project. My students’ and future students’ learning will be greatly impacted for the better.”
“The iHub grants have been integral in supporting innovation in my classroom, school, and throughout our district. IHub grants have allowed staff to think outside the box and pursue educational opportunities for students and staff that otherwise may not be possible.”
“The process of having the funds and PL that go with these grants are fabulous. The program is laid out very educationally friendly so that teachers strategically can plan and create action items that are geared to the layout of the grant process (i.e. the follow up questions guide the process). We greatly appreciated the opportunity to engage the students in a unique way of learning.”
“I saw a positive impact on student engagement because of this project.”
“One of the most difficult areas of education is support for creative thinkers. The world is changing at a rapid rate and technology is advancing beyond what schools can support. We found that partnerships with iHub and other grant agencies are vital in providing our students with the experience and practical tools needed for creative, self-directed, engaged learning.”
“I would love to keep moving forward with these projects and be more open to taking risks in my K-1 classroom. They are never too young! I have a really strong feeling that by incorporating more of these projects in my classroom I will not only see it benefiting my high flyers, but also allow my struggling learners to reach their potential by exposing them to multiple ways of learning.”
“Everyone is different. What I needed from this grant may not help the next person. We are all in different stages in our careers. Keeping an open mind when reading through the grants is very important. I appreciate the opportunity this grant has given me. I look forward to applying for another in the future.”
“Thank you so much for the grant it has really opened my eyes to different ways of reaching the emotional needs of students.”
“The ownership over this entire project was absolutely incredible, and there is no question that I would do it all over again. Being able to take on such a project without worry about funding (which is a HUGE barrier in our profession) allowed the freedom to ‘think outside the box.’”
“Authentic education at its best! A heartfelt ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who has made these grants available! It helps us bring our youth to a new level, and I truly hope the funding continues to be available! These experiences, and memories will last a life-time! Please let me know if you need more detail – I could talk for hours about our experience…”
“Teaching and learning does not need to be confined to the classroom. I realize this if obvious to YOU, but for teachers the four walls of the classroom can be perceived as the safest place from which to teach. Innovative Education calls on teachers to step out of their comfort zone and embrace the myriad of opportunities waiting for them beyond that traditional definition of a classroom. Thank you for this amazing learning opportunity.”
“PBL and personalized learning opportunities like this one help to develop grit with our students as well as leadership skills. By allowing our students choice and voice with their learning, there is far greater buy-in and engagement from them.”
SDG Grant Recipients
“I take off my hat to iHub for supporting our students for a second year and allowing us to create a dynamic program with real world outcomes. You helped make a project that students are fiercely proud of. Our entire community benefits from this type of learning. As Shakespeare said, "Thank you, thank you, and thank you."”
“Students, teachers and parents alike enjoyed the project and what it has brought to everyone. Thank you for the opportunity.”
“I really enjoyed this project and the participation that I received from the students. The best part was seeing them involved, empowered and in charge of new materials for the classroom, not only for them to use but for other students for years to come.”
Early/Elderly Grant Recipients
“Support is necessary from such grants because if we are going to get students out into the community on a regular basis in hopes of helping them embrace global competencies, that will require money for busing, supply teachers, and supplies. Thank you for your work on these important grants Michelle!”
“We have a project for next year, and kids can learn a great deal from our seniors. They have life stories, and experiences that the children can learn from. Learning does not always come from a book, and these seniors are a book full of rich life experiences that students can learn from. We are so thankful for this experience and look forward to doing it again!”
“This project provided students with first-hand experience, in the use of Global Competencies… This project was a wonderful opportunity to engage our students in new ways. This opportunity allowed us to reflect on integrating Global Competencies in our curriculum. We were able to see how best how these skills could be seen, assessed and incorporated into our classrooms.”
“I feel the project has affected student engagement significantly…I think this was/is a wonderful project and we appreciate the opportunity to receive this grant, we will put it to good use. I think it is important to support projects like these as the best way to learn anything is to be in the environment, experiencing it for yourself.”
Linkages and Partnerships Grant Recipients
“I feel these visits are essential for the future. The days of having students do all their learning in a classroom is coming to an end. If students experience places like [the one we visited] they have a chance to see how diversified they are in the global economy. This really allowed the students to see the availability of jobs within [the organization we visited].”
“The whole idea of this project is to build students self- efficacy by providing additional learning opportunities centered on the principals of Universal Design for Learning and the six GC’s. In return, providing multiple learning opportunities where students can see themselves as learners and believe that they can make a difference in the lives of others.”
“We thank… iHub for their interest in helping students meet community partners and focus on real world learning… “
“The best part of this partnership was that students had the opportunity to speak with someone who actually employs people, which directly affects are employment rates and contributes to our economy. They heard firsthand from them what it is an employer looks for in an employee. The global competencies were mentioned more than once.”
“Not only did my students learn these life skills/GCs by learning from the team at [the organization we visited] and how they use them on a daily basis, but they also had the opportunity to use these skills in a practical manner whether it was collaborating or communication and coming with innovative ideas with fellow students and [the organization’s] employees. They were also aware and critical of the new skills they were developing.”
Linkages and Partnerships Grant Partnered Businesses
“I am very grateful to iHub, [the school, the teacher,] and especially his students for this mutually rewarding opportunity. I think this is an excellent platform to demonstrate the long- lasting benefit of the GCs in education.”
“I believe there is a great need to expose the younger generations to as many [business, industry, and community members] as possible… The students were engaged and fully participated. I appreciate being able to participate in this initiative and see value in having it in the future.”
“Overall wonderful program! From everyone at Iron House Production we applauded and support fully the work you are doing.”
Best-Practice Grant Recipients
“Overall, having this valuable experience has provided me with the knowledge of how to work with my own community to purchase a Lu and maximize its potential past simply advancing physical education classes. Thank you!”
“Overall, this was a fabulous and eye-opening experience for me.”
“Many of my questions were answered and I believe this approach will further improve my teaching practice as I strive to find new and better ways to increase critical thinking and global competencies in my students.”
“Until a few years ago, the idea of purposeful play was a new concept to me, and I wasn’t sure where to begin. I recently had the opportunity to visit a fellow teacher’s classroom and watch purposeful play in action. This teacher has been doing purposeful play in her classroom for many years and it was very evident from the moment I walked into her classroom…It was amazing to see play in action, the way it should be. This got me excited to make purposeful play a priority in my classroom…I am happy to have had this opportunity to visit another classroom and speak to another teacher.”
“I should end by saying how appreciative I am of iHub for providing the funding for this opportunity…Thank you Ross and Michelle for continuing to fund projects such as mine with iHub – you have been a wonderful source of inspiration and confidence.”
“This was a very worthwhile experience and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit [this school].”
“So thanks to this visit made possible through my iHub Learning Inc., I am recharged in my quest to implement personalized learning in my classroom at [my school]. Whether we call it “personalized”, “flipped”, “blended”, or “project-based learning”, one thing is for sure, it is the new way of doing education in our global society. Thank you to iHub for providing me the means to see the great things happening at [another innovative school] and thanks to the teachers mentioned above for so graciously allowing me see them in action and pick their brains on how to “do” personalized learning.”
“Many thanks to iHub for providing us with the funds and ability to see how amazing Powerplay can truly be. ... It was an amazing experience and we will be doing our best to translate this into a practical application for our students.”
“The experience was very positive and has made a huge impact on how change can happen in our school.”
“My experience observing a personalized learning environment at [the host school] was wonderful! We were greeted by the most amazing student tour guides who were knowledgeable and honest about their experiences as students learning within this pilot project. The teachers were willing to share their resources and I have brought back many useful tools and ideas to my classroom. As a team, the three of us have since brainstormed how this will assist us in mapping out our collaborative inquiry into creating more student success in our math skills assessments.”
“It was a valuable experience and we found many innovative techniques and practices in place… The strategies in place provide for differentiation and enrichment without destroying the social acceptance and peer relationships. As a school we hope to incorporate many of the elements we viewed in [this school] and we are thankful for their willingness to allow us to view their model.”
“I am very thankful for the opportunity iHub has given me through their collaboration grant to visit these innovative teachers and to collaborate with them and engage with their classes. I had a vision before my visit as to how I wanted to see students use our Makerspace and it has only expanded since after my visit.”
“Observing others, I believe really helps inspire creativity and innovation within ourselves to bring back to our own classrooms. I picked up many useful tools from observing [the hosting teacher] that I can now incorporate and hopefully after some practice using them, share with others!”
“This grant provided me with the opportunity to reflect on the important impact personal interest has on student learning…After my visit, I was able to return and share this valuable experience with our Core Leadership Team and we were able to have a rich discussion around the ways in which we can use this as a means to develop skills and enrich our students’ learning experiences.”
“I truly enjoyed participating and learning about the innovative learning in the NB school system.”
“The amount of knowledge that we were exposed to from our visit is definitely going to be beneficial to your students as lifelong learners.”
“A truly inspiring learning experience to see their new timetable and how it could work with my school.”
Student quotes shared by teachers*
*While iHub did not collect qualitative data from students who participated in the 2019-2020 grants, a few teachers provided student quotes in their feedback
“This is the best day ever!”
“Miss, this is even better than a real arcade.”
“I love all the games, I am going to make one at home.”
“I was having a very bad day today and now I feel happier than I have in months.”
“I just feel happy now.”
“I spoke with [the activity director for the home] and she told me I can come and volunteer after school whenever I want. I think I’m going to do that.”
“Why can’t this be a regular part of the course?”
Through the continual process of active research and the dedication to supporting grass-roots projects and professional growth, iHub has held a unique and paradoxical space within, yet external to, the education system of New Brunswick.
With the valued support of the EECD, PETL, and ACOA, iHub has been able to provide funding and professional support to educators across the province to offer students the high quality and culturally relevant education they deserve to prepare them for a happy, successful future.
The personalized support iHub offers to teachers is at the core of its activities and strength. This combined with the agility to make impactful and relevant changes, positions iHub to be a source of assistance and a channel for more larger, less-flexible organizations.
With continued support, iHub will remain active and dedicated to its role of supporting this province’s amazing teachers in building linkages and partnerships within their communities, providing personalized learning opportunities to their students, and exploring the expansive potential of experiential learning. Through this work, knowledge and understanding of 21st Century education best-practices can be shared and grown!