Investigating the empowerment of teachers and students at Northern Canadian schools through telecommunication technology

Regions: Dehcho Region

Tags: social sciences, technology

Principal Investigator: Joordens, Steve (1)
Licence Number: 15679
Organization: University of Toronto Scarborough
Licenced Year(s): 2015
Issued: Jun 08, 2015
Project Team: Sue Joordens (Researcher, University of Toronto Scarborough), Anita Townsend (Educational Consultant)

Objective(s): To assess the impact of real-time, interactive, video conferencing in the classroom on teachers and students.

Project Description: The objective is to assess the impact of real-time, interactive, video conferencing in the classroom on teachers and students. Specifically, the research team hope to assess the impact of its implementation for student-to-student, student-to-expert, and teacher-to-teacher interactions.

At the beginning of the project, teachers will be given surveys that will ask them about their engagement and empowerment for teaching activities, as well as the integration of video technology into their teaching practices and feedback about the TelePresence video experience. Students will also be given surveys that will ask them about their engagement in learning, as well as their comfort with using technology and opinions about the TelePresence experience. At the end of the project, the teachers and students will be asked to fill out the survey again. In addition to the surveys, the research team hope to assess more quantitative records of improvement (such as increases in student grades, and class attendance), if the schools and the Government of the Northwest Territories are able to provide these records. At a more qualitative level, the research team hope to include more open-ended feedback from the students and teachers about their experience, as well as document the teachers’ ongoing thoughts by having them enter journal entries into a shared Google Doc with the research team. Lastly, the TelePresence experience will be evaluated by watching the recorded sessions to glean more insight into how the students react to the experience during the sessions.

In the short term, the research team hope to use this data to evaluate the success of the technology (by looking at the improvements within this school year, but also in comparison to last year’s successful pilot project in Aqsarniit Middle School in Iqaluit, Nunavut). This way, in the long term, the research team are able to better evaluate how the TelePresence experience and its further expansion could benefit the Northern schools even more, while understanding best practice models and how to format the program for success in unique school environments

The Deh Gah School in Fort Providence will be directly involved in this project. The research team will work with them to evaluate how successful the implementation of Telepresence technology is in their classrooms. To do this, the research team will communicate directly with the principal and teachers about their experiences, as well as ask students for their opinions. The research team hope that the teachers will be able to share valuable learning activities and experiences with each other. Moreover, the research team hope that incorporating a Telepresence experience in their classrooms will allow students to experience a wider variety of learning topics as well as a deeper understanding of the different cultures around Canada. The data gleaned from this evaluation project will help improve the experiences for the teachers and students at Deh Gah School in the following years.

The research results will be shared internally with all parties involved (i.e., schools, teachers, Government of Northwest Territories, relevant personnel at Cisco Canada and partners). Because of the results’ potentially sensitive nature, the research team will discuss with all parties before any decision is made to publish the research.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 5, 2015 to December 31, 2015.