Final Blog Post

Following the Textual Sources writing prompt (Liese et al., 2017) shared by my Advisor, Jordanne Christie:

I feel that the most relevant piece of writing to my project – one that I return to over and over again – is Masinda, Jacquet and Moore’s 2014 article: An Integrated Framework for Immigrant Children and Youth’s School Integration: A Focus on African Francophone Students in British Columbia – Canada. The authors describe their previous research, outcomes of their interviews, and set out an integrated guiding framework for teachers and administrators to implement in the integration process of immigrant children and youth.

The article explores the experience of immigrant African Francophone students in particular, but looks at the social, cultural, psycho-social, and academic factors of the larger immigrant experience demonstrating how those critical pieces contribute to or detract from a successful school integration. The African Francophone experience is an interesting example as this group represents a “minority within a minority context” (Masinda et al., 2014, p. 92): a cultural/racial minority within the French language speaking minority here in BC. The authors composed a diverse research team who were all English and French speaking, along with various African languages. In broad strokes the research consisted of individual and group interviews in iterative phases, community observation, and literature review, followed by opportunity for voice – specifically youth voice – to form the corpus of data.

Masinda et al.’s (2014) article was the first place that fully clarified for me that it is the immigrant/refugee student that continues to be the focus of acculturation, rather than all students be the focus of cultural integration. That the voice of the new student is drowned out in the call to make them sound more like the domestic students. While I already knew that I wanted to develop something that was more inclusive, this is the article that gave me the vocabulary to do it. This paper also gave me a working definition of what a positive integration can look like: “the healthy social, cultural, psychological and academic transitions that help immigrant children and youth to realize their full potential in the school” (p. 99).

The components identified by Masinda et al. (2014) that comprise the Integrated Framework are social, cultural, psychological, and academic. The article looks at each in detail, and ways of recognizing success in each area from immediate to long-term results. The paper concludes with a list of 9 recommendations that can be generalized to support any immigrant groups in most school settings.

The social and cultural aspects of the framework in particular were something I intend to approach with my project, particularly the immediate results shown in the framework diagram: that “newcomer students and peers understand each other, positive connectedness [sic]”, and that “newcomer students have a better understanding of school and Canadian Culture” (p. 100). My hope is that, through the use of games, that the initial cultural distance can be decreased and that students will understand rather than ‘other’ each other.

For me, this paper was a goldmine. Reading it last fall confirmed some of the thinking I was developing, and opened up my mind to new understandings of stressors and difficulties that children and youth say are barriers to their positive integration. Although this paper concentrates specifically on Francophone African children and youth in the Lower Mainland of BC, many of the things that the authors revealed in the paper can be seen here in other immigrant groups (in the Interior). The concluding recommendations could be implemented in most schools to promote student’s connection to their new school, peers, educators, and culture.

I enjoyed that the final recommendations included ones that support educators with practical direction. Helping teachers identify their own needs and assets as well as looking at the domestic student and teacher inter-cultural competence when welcoming new students would support everyone in the equation.

Finally, the reference list from this paper was a treasure trove of well researched, relevant and recent resources that I’m still working my way through.

The initial writing prompt was to talk about a meaningful text as though I were at a dinner party (Liese et al., 2017) – this isn’t entirely that, and this past year has been devoid of dinner parties. My partner has heard about facets of this article many times, though, over dinner and otherwise. It has acted as an anchor document for me throughout the research process, and a place I have come back to when stuck or needing to reorient. I count myself lucky to have found it early on in my process, and have shared it widely.


Liese, J., West, A., & Cornell du Houx, E. (2017). Grad Written Thesis-Writing Prompts.
Masinda, M. T., Jacquet, M., & Moore, D. (2014). An Integrated Framework for Immigrant Children and Youth’s School Integration: A Focus on African Francophone Students in British Columbia – Canada. International Journal of Education, 6(1), 18.

Update post for DLRCP – a bit of a rough post. . .mostly thoughtful meandering. . .

I just noticed that it’s 2 years since my first posts in this space.

I was reflecting with my partner the other night about how this project is such a good summative thing to do, bringing together all of the learning we’ve been doing throughout the program. The work is causing me to draw on many of the pieces that I learned in the first year and pushing me to fill gaps in that learning at the same time.

Throughout all of this, the Plate Spinner post keeps coming to mind, too.

This phase of the DLRCP has been really challenging in that I expected it to be easier to access the people who I would like information sharing from. Between the provincial mandates and changes around COVID19 protocols in schools and the overlap of both districts’ Spring Breaks, getting responses from teachers has been challenging. Many are dealing with the day-to-day shifts that are expected of them, on top of what are already demanding jobs. My heart goes out to them.

I’ve spent a good portion of this time reading. A friend introduced me to a paper Speaking back to Manifest Destinies: a land education-based approach to critical curriculum inquiry (2014) and the work of Dolores Calderón. This particular paper is relevant to my project in that it discusses the differences between land-based and place-based pedagogies in the context of social studies curricula, and how the current curricular materials (primarily textbooks) are worded to perpetuate settler colonial land ethics. I had (previous to reading this) thought that place-based learning as a framework would naturally take into account the land-based histories, but this is not always the case. The main readings I’ve done around place-based learning have come from Greunewald’s work, primarily Place-based education in the global age: Local diversity (2014) which is a compilation of several authors and experiences throughout the US in their work in place-based education. His work goes much deeper, though, and I was somewhat gratified to see his work mentioned in a positive light in Calerón’s article, recognizing that “pairing critical pedagogy with place-based education and promoting place-conscious education is a step in the right direction” (p.26).

The other big awareness that I’m not quite sure yet how to incorporate into the project comes from Chatterjee’s (2019) work in trying to reconcile the seemingly opposing worlds of Indigenous land rights and ongoing immigration. The model she has outlined seeks to reconcile these two opposing spaces. . .in all honesty, I will need to read this a third time. Her work is thicker into the language of critical anti-race scholarship than I am well versed in, but it has been enlightening (and made much more sense on the second read through).

While these two pieces (Calderón’s and Chatterjee’s articles) are not central to the project itself, I think that they each inform the DLRCP in different ways – both of which are particularly relevant in today’s social-justice climate. I’ll be spending a bit more time understanding the depth to which they can influence the project.


Calderón, D. (2014). Speaking back to manifest destinies: A land education-based approach to critical curriculum inquiry. Environmental Education Research, 20(1), 24-36.

Chatterjee, S. (2019). Immigration, anti-racism, and Indigenous self-determination: Towards a comprehensive analysis of the contemporary settler colonial. Social Identities, 25(5), 644-661

Gruenewald, D. A., & Smith, G. A. (2014). Place-based education in the global age: Local diversity. Routledge.

Developments for DLRCP

This last revision cycle brought several different changes to pieces of my DLRCP Final Proposal document.

Early on, gamification did not feel like the right fit for the theoretical framework, and somewhat complicating. Had the DLRCP and the OER that I’m proposing have some other focus than explicitly teaching games, it might have been clearer to think and write about. As it was previously, I was, in the writing, ongoing trying to clarify whether any/and/or each game reference was about the framework of gamification, or about the OER and games themselves. I persisted with gamification as the framework until the initial round of revision due to inexperience and being unwilling to make what I was perceiving to be a large change. Initial revision with my Advisor (thanks, Jordanne!) gave the permission I needed to change the framework to that of place-based learning.

Place-based learning (Gruenewald, 2014) is a better fit as a framework as all the pieces of this project relate to and can be understood in that context. I would have liked to have included some Indigenous perspective around place-based learning in the proposal itself, but found myself unsure as to what might be inappropriate use of that knowledge and worldview, and did not incorporate it in the end. The beautiful thing is that in trying to understand whether/how it would fit meant that I’ve spent the last two weeks or so reading about Indigenous issues in academia, worldviews, connection to place and research methodologies (particularly Kovach [2009], Meyer [2013], Shawanda [2020], and Simpson [2014]). It’s been a wonderful reason to have some very enlightening conversations with colleagues and friends, and has helped me uncover more understanding of my own colonial ways of thinking, and how endemic colonialization is in this culture (and our schools). I’m getting better at seeing in terms of relationship, but it is taking time. Each thing I read gives a new perspective, a better understanding and peels back another layer to reveal clearer thinking.

The unfortunate side effect is that Indigenous worldviews and sense-making continue to be erased in my own work due to my own discomfort with including it poorly.

Through conversation with Jordanne, and growing understanding of methodology, I made a shift from modified action research to that of exploratory research (Stebbins, 2001). Because of the timelines and goals in my project, I’ll not really get to go through a cycle of action research, and the project I’m building is not one that would be implemented in my own workspace, but in an adjacent one. Exploratory research, particularly innovative exploratory research keeps the focus narrow, with the purpose of creation of a product (in my case, a [hopefully] effective OER).

Finally, the methods by which I hope to do the primary research piece have shifted from survey into semi-structured interview. Survey was, after further consideration, a limiting way of gathering the kind of information that I’m after. Semi-structured interview allows for more generative conversation, hopefully mitigating my own limitations and allowing the participants to expand the data in ways that I could not have foreseen.

I’m excited about this next piece, getting into the gathering and building aspects of the project.



Gruenewald, D. A., & Smith, G. A. (2014). Place-based education in the global age: Local diversity. Routledge.

Kovach, M. (2009). Indigenous methodologies : Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Meyer, M. A. (2013). Holographic Epistemology: Native Common Sense. China Media Research, 9(2), 94–101.

Shawanda, A. (2020). Baawaajige: Turtle Island Journal of Indigenous Health, 1(1), 37–47.

Simpson, L. B. (2014). Land as pedagogy: Nishnaabeg intelligence and rebellious transformation. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(3).

Stebbins, R. A. (2001). What is exploration. Exploratory research in the social sciences, (pp, 2-17). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Research Dissemination – initial thoughts

Well I’m a little late to this, but have been giving it quite a bit of thought.

I’ll be doing a Digital Learning Research Consulting Project (DLRCP) exit pathway, building an Open Education Resource (OER) grounded in place-based learning, cultural identity and games as cultural referents. In a nutshell (and as I said on Padlet), my DLRCP will be an OER aimed at teachers K-8 of playground games from different cultures and countries, initially focusing on the cultures represented in the current settling immigrants of the Kootenays. The intention of the project is that the games be taught in typical school settings so that when children come from other places, they find a cultural touchstone already there, a place to start to meet their peers, a place for emergent language and connection.

My plan is to consult with local groups (both an immigrant settlement group, our local school districts, and individuals as the research develops and am hopeful that I can leverage some of this network to share the OER on completion.

I’ve been in conversation with one of our local Superintendent of Schools, and she asked how long before it could be implemented (which is hopeful for getting it promoted as a tool in our local area).

The BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) has many different social justice and anti racism action groups and initiatives. There are regular professional development workshops held throughout the year, indexed to the BCTF website. My intent is to contact the BCTF to share my findings and the final project through them by late September 2021.

The idea for this project was originally conceived when I was part of an interdisciplinary, international group of artists and activists exploring how story and culture intersect with identity in youth work, how knowing our backgrounds allows us to know ourselves. I’ll be in touch with that group as my proposal is developed, and know that they will be happy to promote and share the research and the project in their circles, through Erasmus+ and Nomadways project spaces. It is through this group and local contacts that I hope to extend the OER itself into the future as a contributor library.

Really, thinking through this has been helpful. There are several groups that I’ve worked with in my capacity as a graphic recorder and illustrator that I believe will be helpful in getting the word out, and I’ve now started a list of groups and people to contact as I get closer to completion.

Still developing my ideas around the research question part. Some rough ideas:

Research question:

  • Effectiveness of place-based learning on belonging and integration in child immigrant populations through games as cultural referent (not a question yet, I realize)

Sub questions:

  • Assessment criteria for effectiveness of project in school setting (thanks Deb, for this suggestion)
  • Best practices for OER teaching materials/accessibility/clarity


I’m left with a couple of questions around our ethics approval, and people that we might speak to about the project. I’ve previously worked with a group in Chios, Greece, who educate child refugees (primarily from Syria) in and around refugee camps in that area. I’d love to hear their perspective on this as a method of creating community in a foreign place – and am not sure if our ethics approval covers conversations with people from other countries (if the organization will not require its own ethical review) or not.

Right now it’s all rolling around in my head, very fuzzy and ill-defined. I look forward to any feedback folks might have and welcome any recommendations.


Revisit of 3-2-1 Post

This has been a valuable course to be participating in as I’m facilitating my own courses. I shared with students about this course and shared with them when trying out something based on our work together in the MALAT program. Students were interested, supportive, and open with feedback about how different experiments worked for them. I’m indebted to them for their willingness to play, and for allowing my vulnerability as I learn, too.

I have more than 3 takeaways from this course – more than four, to be honest. I’ve included a surface treatment of 4 takeaways and of one, ongoing question.

The takeaways:

  1. Keep the Moodle page uncluttered. Our courses were only one week in duration and having all the links out front worked well for groups in this short context. In a 15 week course, students experience what I think of as ‘death-by-scrolling’ in Moodle because our (at my work) current version does not allow the most recent week to be at the top (other LMSs do this – Google Classroom springs to mind along with older, obsolete versions of Moodle). Students who are not comfortable in a digital realm are often well served by clarity about where things are stored, explicit directions as to how to find what they need, and keeping some white space in the page.
  2. My use of questions has become more deliberate. Before asking questions in the classroom, I try to reflect about why I’m asking the question, and what kind of question will be best for the goal in mind.
  3. I can over facilitate. I can, in my excitement, get into the topic and interfere with student connections with each other. Given time to think and respond, students will connect with and respond to each other in ways that make the space richer than if I were the only source of information, or of prompts. In my original post, I wondered about ways to ensure that the teaching presence is shared, and staying a bit out of their way is absolutely one of those.
    As a bit of context, in class today (the one I’m facilitating currently) we talked about power relationships and what power looks like in support settings (as Education Assistants in classrooms in teaching relationships, and in community settings where workers are supporting adults with their everyday needs). Historically, when I’ve taught this unit in person, I’ve directed the conversation with really pointed questions (ironically, not relinquishing power). Today, in the online context, I stepped aside a lot. It felt risky to give them a couple of prompt questions at the outset, but I trusted that they’d done the reading and were prepared. They were! And they came to each of the things about power and power relationships that I would have more pointedly directed them to in times past. All in all, there was only one point that needed to be made at the end of class. I asked them to summarize and they were brilliant. It was a tremendous reminder to keep my actions aligned with my principles – and share that power as much as I can within the context of our relationship (student/teacher).
  4. Student privacy is a real and present concern. The ways in which we, as institutions, insert ourselves in our students lives through use of technology is not without repercussion. My institution is currently revising policy to reflect online learning environments, and how student information can and will be used. I keep going back to Audrey Watters saying (and I’m paraphrasing) that we need to tease apart pedagogy questions vs. technology questions. That we need to ask ourselves why students struggle and drop out. That there are systemic inequalities and support problems (23:00 Goodes & Watters). We have such a grave responsibility to be aware of the perpetuation of power structures that harm our students (disproportionately minorities) and look for ways that we can dismantle those structures and rebuild supportive, equitable, safe and trustworthy spaces to conduct learning in.

My question?

Creation of community is hard. There is so much about it that we, as instructors, are not privy to and can not see. I continue to have big questions about how we support community to create itself (as that is what real community is). I’m feeling more competent supporting my students to create their in-class social presences, but know that has to be underpinned with more, non classroom-based interaction for it to grow into a truly safe and brave space for them. My big question centres around how do I/we support students to find their allies in the class, the like minded folks, those who will grow with them? How do I also support people who are less interested in making connections with their peers in those ways? I’m responding to this questioning state by reading, reflecting, writing and talking with my faculty and with students. This (social presence) is the piece that we, as instructors, have the least control over, I think.

Maybe this goes back to the point about power, and sharing teaching presence through relinquishing some control. Perhaps creating the space for students to connect and trusting that they will, to the degree that they need to is the answer.

Lisa with a very large sunflower head, grown in the garden. The sunflower head is bigger than Lisa's upper body, the talk is wider than her wrist.
Even huge sunflowers grow from tiny seeds.

And in a way, this last piece connects to my garden metaphor from the previous post in that we can prepare the soil for seeds, we can water and fertilize it, but we can’t MAKE a plant grow. It will do that on its own time, its own way.



Goodes, J., and Watters, A. (2020) Collaborate Session: Building Anti-Surveillance Ed-Tech.(Video). RRU Innovate Moodle Site. Retrieved from:

Community of Inquiry – Assignment 1

Historically first-year human services classes in the Education Assistant and Community Support worker program have equipped students with the knowledge and skills they need to move out into the workforce and, beyond that, set the stage for students to learn more about themselves, their communities of practice, their own learning preferences, while connecting them with other students in that beautiful blended edge between the classroom and the community.

Many of the students in our program are coming from rich, adult lives and are new to being in post-secondary, with all the attendant concerns endemic in first-year students. They join us with already developed self-concepts as relate to their abilities (including their facility with computer use), and lenses by which they see the world. In-person instruction has allowed students to connect and grow together through the year as they move into growth mindsets about themselves, and see their values shift and deepen.

One of the ways we, as instructors, can endeavor to build a rich online education experience for these students is to work within a Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The CoI framework consists of three presences: Social, Cognitive and Teaching (Garrison et al., 1999). Each of these presences overlaps and interacts with the others to create an engaging social community of learning in which students can take risks and co-construct understanding of course content.

Human Services instructors can set the context of the classroom from the outset through careful choices of activities that support each of these presences.

Human services is human centred and relationship based. Historically those relationships have been formed in an in-person classroom: students can choose where to sit, and who they connect with. Instructors can support students to build their social presences by being human and available, “encouraging and modeling” (Vaughan et al., 2013) connection, co-building behavioural norms with students to support their emotional and academic risk taking safely, and connect them to resources that will help lower the technology learning curve to let them focus more on course content (Weller, 2020) and being present. We can set them up in different group activities so that people get the chance to meet and know each other, co-constructing learning (Merrill, 2002).

Cognitive presence can be supported through drawing in participants to keep them engaged, create spaces for them to converse about course content and concepts, and summarizing their conversations “without taking over the discussion” (Vaughan et al., 2013).

Teaching presence can be supported through cohesive design and organization (keeping things clear and sequential), facilitation of each of the presences (both in myself and in the students), and direct instruction (ensuring that students have the foundational understanding they need to progress into more complex thinking) (Vaughan et al., 2013). We can also decentre ourselves as teachers, empowering students to bring their own learning to the classroom, to share their experiences with other students.

Part of the beauty of this model is that each of the actions and presences overlap each other, creating an intricately linked, holistic experience for students.



Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2), 87–105.

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 43–59.

Vaughan, N., Cleveland-James, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in Blended Learning Environments—Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry. AU Press, Athabasca University.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.

LRNT 528 3-2-1 Blogpost

The timing for this course is remarkable – perfect to be taking a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts of facilitation just as the preparation for the Fall semester is ramping up.

The 3 thoughts or ideas that I have about digital facilitation are pretty practically based right now. (1) My goal is to work within a hi-flex framework, attempting to keep student need and availability at the core of my thinking, (2) finding my ‘voice’ as a digital facilitator, and (3) the desire to ensure that the teaching role (Vaughan et al., 2013) is available to be taken on by different students in different circumstances. This is the challenging one, as there are power and system pieces inherent in schooling that need to be approached to make this real.

The 2 main questions I have about digital facilitation currently are that, (1) I’m wondering about ways to create group cohesiveness within a predominantly asynchronous context. I know several ways in theory, and am interested to see how these play out in my own and my colleagues classrooms. And (2), as I’m working with first-year students who have a variety of skill levels with technology, I’m curious about how to make sure that the learning curve of learning the technology does not overshadow the learning of the content itself (Weller, 2020).

My simile about facilitation:

I’m seeing it like a garden. We (as instructors) create the soil conditions (preparing the course materials and planning) and plant the seeds (students learning). A lot of the growth happens out of our sight, but we need to believe it is happening and to look at the way the visible plant is developing to get hints at what is happening under the surface. We can control the watering (more information), the pruning (formative feedback), but we can’t control the weather (COVID, student life circumstances, etc). We can put row cover on for protection (support students through flexibility and through connections to student services) when there are adverse circumstances in students lives. We can recognize that they (students) each bring their own knowledge and background, and that even though we think we are planting carrots, a beautiful, vibrant and productive squash plant might grow.


Vaughan, N., Cleveland-James, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in Blended Learning Environments—Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry. AU Press, Athabasca University.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.

Resource to share

Like many of you, I’m working currently to align my formerly in-person classes to fit online-only remote delivery for the first time, ever. With that has come exploration of Hyflex and Hi-flex (highly flexible) learning environments, and awareness that many of the students I’ll be meeting have limited access to technology or to bandwidth.

Over and over again, I’m reading that we should be gearing our courses towards the lower bandwidth students as much as possible. I ran across a great diagram today through a BCcampus webinar that I wanted to share:Matrix showing one axis from low to high bandwidth, the other with low to high immediacy. Different quadrants have different activities in the quadrants. Low immediacy/High bandwidth has Pre-recorded video and audio, asynchronous discussions with video and audio. High Bandwidth/Immediacy shows video and audio conferences. Low Immediacy/Bandwidth shows readings with text and images, discussion boards with text and images, and email. Low bandwidth/high immediacy shows collaborative documents and group chat and messaging. The matrix is by Daniel Stanford with a Creative Commmons License.The image approaches some of the questions I had about what activities were going to be more appropriate for the incoming students. I particularly liked that the whole thing is visualized on this high/low immediacy axis along with the high/low bandwidth axis (click on the image to be taken to the slide deck. This image is on slide 12).

Reading through the BCcampus lecture linked above and considering this diagram has led me to choose a lower immediacy, lower bandwidth set of activites for more of the courses than had been there previously, including adapting one of the assignments to fit within that quadrant.

Hope all is going well with your development, and that you are finding the resources you need.


A brief reflection

I’ve struggled a bit with this course – not because of the content or organization, but because of my life circumstances right now. There have been several things that have taken the time I thought I had available away over the last 9 weeks, and some of them aren’t done with me yet.

This part of the experience has highlighted for me both how important organization is, and how profoundly important self-care is. Without those two things, I’m not sure where I’d be right now.

I’ve used reflective practice ongoing in my personal life. I have been keeping a journal as long as I can remember (the earliest one I have is from when I was 8), and have been a devotee of ‘morning pages’ since first reading The Artist’s Way (Cameron & Bryan, 1993) sometime in the early 2000s. Given this long relationship with the page, it only made sense that when I began my professional career that this would continue. In my first years of teaching, I took time to write after each class – what went well, what could have gone better or differently, and endeavored to make those changes. That frequent writing has become more sporadic in recent years, but my reading has become wider. Now I spend as much time reading as I did writing after class, and listening to podcasts that inform my work. Conversations with my co-faculty and articulation partners has become part of that reflective time, and given me a broader Community of Practice.

This digital learning project has been informative. There were new things in the discovery process, things that changed the end goal substantially. Thinking through ways to display and share my final Digital Learning Resource (DLR) has led to new ideas even yet, thanks to the recursive nature of reflective practice. Usually in my work, I co-create something with other faculty members and we change course along the way a time or two, but this was different in that the changes were reasoned and deliberate – I felt like there was less guesswork involved. Staying informed by the student/consumer voice has been so important. It’s been an ongoing learning that students’ goals for themselves are different than my goals for them, to the point where I’ve got a note on my monitor to remind me as I work.

I’ve been in conversation with other faculty members about this OER, about the implementation and roll out. We’ve embedded support for students into the first semester of school, and I’m so looking forward to implementing everything in a few short weeks.


Cameron, J., & Bryan, M. (1993). The Artist’s Way. Sounds True Recordings.