About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5327-5334
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain


A. Cruickshank

Waterloo Region District School Board (CANADA)
The Futures Forum Project (FFP) is an innovative pilot project in the Waterloo Regional District School Board in Ontario, Canada. The project combines three courses from the Ontario Curriculum -- Gr. 10 Academic English (ENG2D), Gr. 10 Open Civics (CHV2O), and Gr. 10 Open Career Studies (GLC2O) -- in a multi-disciplinary approach to education. In addition, FFP also strives to integrate technology into daily learning by having students deploy their own mobile devices (tablet, smartphone, laptops). Students in the FFP program meet the curriculum expectations through daily integration of technology, a collaborative approach to project-based assignments, and inquiry-based learning.

The goal of integrating technology in FFP is to broaden students’ understanding of how Web 2.0 tools can be used — pushing technological prowess beyond the boundaries of texting and social media. Technology and the Internet are changing the way we think, how we learn and how we express ourselves as individuals. Learning is no longer about the expert lecturing at the front of a classroom; the vast variety of information available online has led to the four foundational “ANYs” of the FFP program: anyone can learn anything, anywhere, at any time. Having regular access to technology and the Internet are becoming crucial to learning in any field. FFP students are encouraged to wisely access technology to develop as self-motivated learners, as 21st century learning has moved beyond the confines of classroom, course, and even the school day.

The FFP project focuses on using a collaborative approach to learning through project-based assignments. FFP cultivates teamwork and develops strong, on-site interpersonal skills, which are fading in the face of our societal obsession with technology. Teachers in FFP use gradual release models and inquiry-based learning to increase student engagement. To meet curriculum expectations, a student considers what he/she wants to learn, reflect on how he/she learns best, and then chooses a medium that complements his/her learning style. FPP promotes ownership, giving choice which can empower students in their learning. No longer forced to read one specific text and write a five paragraph essays, students now choose texts they are interested in and select media that highlights their strengths.

Assessment in FFP consists of using a Body of Evidence Chart (which combines Ministry of Ontario Curriculum strands for each course) and employing individual student-teacher conferencing that give opportunities for students to justify how they are meeting each strand. Such assessment gives students multiple opportunities to be assessed throughout the semester by the teacher. These appraisals also allow students to learn how to self-assess and how to effectively measure their progress through peer assessment. This shift in assessment promotes mastery of individual skills within each strand, rather than a focus on numerical values.
author = {Cruickshank, A.},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {5327-5334}}
AU - A. Cruickshank
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 5327
EP - 5334
ER -
A. Cruickshank (2013) THE FUTURES FORUM PROJECT, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 5327-5334.