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Chandaria Research Centre: New Technology-Enhanced Learning and Innovation Research Program

As part of our strategic priority to challenge the status quo with an innovation mindset, Branksome Hall’s Chandaria Research Centre (CRC) initiates new research and explores educational excellence in teaching and learning, well-being and international mindedness within the school.
The CRC is excited to share that it is developing a research program focused on investigating the current use, successes and challenges of technology in education, and its implications for teachers and students. 

Technology has fundamentally changed the classroom through the widespread use of tools such as the internet, video conferencing, learning management systems and online assessments. The future promises even further transformation: tutoring robots, artificial intelligence (AI), immersive virtual reality, and personalized learning journeys (OECD Digital Education Outlook, 2021). Although many of these tools show potential for teaching pedagogy and student success, little is known about how such tools might impact classroom dynamics, the role of the teacher, and how to use educational technologies safely and ethically. As a result, it is important to gain evidence-based understanding of the immersion of these tools and their adoption by teachers and students. 

What is Technology-Enhanced Learning?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Bureau of Education defines technology-enhanced learning as:
 
“The use of information and communication technologies as mediating devices supporting student learning that can include elements of assessment, tutoring and instruction. It involves a wide set of applications and processes, such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms and learning environments and digital collaboration.”

This definition is broad and includes a variety of teaching approaches and tools, including the use of virtual meeting software such as Zoom, collaboration and Learning Management Software (LMS) including Brightspace and Google Suite, the use of technology hardware such as computers, Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, 3D printers and laser cutters, as well as the use of a wide variety of other software such as AI-based software (such as ChatGPT-4) and learning analytics. 

The CRC’s Planned Research Program

To capture the innovation and transformation that is happening at Branksome Hall, the CRC’s program began a participatory approach that focuses on the needs, experiences and voices of teachers and students. Technology is explored as a collection of tools, which may change from person to person, department to department, and across time and technological advancement. The areas of research that will be explored focus on:
 
  • How technology is impacting classrooms from the lens of the evolving role of teachers;
  • How students’ learning experiences are changing due to technology, and the skills and supports required for success; and
  • The ethics of technology-enhanced learning, including accessibility, equity, privacy and surveillance.

How the Community is Involved

In April, the CRC began exploratory work with teachers, students and instructional leaders across the school, which includes observations and interviews. Two groups were also launched – an AI Think Tank for teachers and staff, and an AI research group for students in Grades 9–12. These groups will facilitate ongoing peer discussions about the rapid evolution of AI and its implications for how we work, learn and even understand intelligence and consciousness.

The ultimate goal of this program is to provide Branksome students and employees with voice, choice and a supportive community as they explore the evolving landscape of technology-enhanced teaching and learning. 

Thoughts or questions regarding this program can be sent to crc@branksome.on.ca.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.

Setting the new standard for girls' education everywhere takes collective action. From all of us.
 
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