WATERLOO – As Canada prepares to launch a robotic lunar rover within the next five years, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is investing in research and education initiatives related to space science and technology. With CSA funding, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Education and InkSmith are partnering to design and develop Mission to the Moon: An Educational Program for Young Canadians, which will feature coding and robotics activities inquiry-based students in grades 6-9.
“Mission on the Moon will inspire young Canadians to develop mindsets of innovation and make a positive impact in a changing world,” said Maria Cantalini-Wiliams, Dean of the Faculty of Education and co-researcher on the project. “This set of interactive and engaging educational modules will be developed in collaboration with our community of students, instructors, associate teachers and researchers. We are grateful to the Canadian Space Agency for its support.
The Mission on the Moon project is a continuation of an ongoing partnership between the Faculty of Education and InkSmith, a Waterloo-based education technology company founded by Laurier alumnus Jeremy Hedges. Over the past five years, InkSmith has worked with Laurier faculty members on a variety of projects aimed at building the coding and robotics skills of undergraduate and master’s in education students. For Mission on the Moon, InkSmith will oversee the design and development of the learning resources, educational content and online program platform.
“Our team is proud to work with Laurier on this project, which aims to better equip educators across Canada with free STEM content that not only builds knowledge, skills and awareness of the lunar rover and its mission on Moon, but will develop future-ready learners who are actively engaged in critical, creative, and self-directed learning,” said Michelle Valtas, senior director of strategic partnerships and sales at InkSmith.
Laurier B. Ed. and M.Ed. students will play a critical role in designing curricula and measuring the impact of the Mission on the Moon program, and their research findings will be shared widely to inform future efforts to integrate STEM skills into college preparation. teachers and Master of Education courses.
“STEM concepts, skills, and perspectives have become a core area of K-12 education, and research that examines effective STEM learning and assessment will ensure that we address this current and crucial part of education,” said Julie Mueller, lead researcher. and teacher of education at Laurier. “The development and implementation of digital technologies in education and industry has advanced at an increasingly rapid pace, and collaborative partnerships between those who design and manufacture these technologies and those who use them are essential. to Canada’s success.
Project development is now underway and will be complete by March 2024. Mission on the Moon is expected to engage nearly 300,000 young Canadians, 60% of whom are currently underrepresented in STEM. Particular emphasis will be placed on reaching Indigenous and BIPOC students, as well as those who identify as girls or women. The program will also engage 14,000 practicing and student teachers from partner school boards, and potentially thousands more across Canada.
“Mission on the Moon provides opportunities to learn coding, robotics, computational, and design skills to solve real-world problems and create innovative solutions, and it emphasizes the student and their role active in the process of learning and discovering new knowledge,” said Marcos Ganzert, Academic Operations Manager at InkSmith. “It will lead us as educators to nurture the next generation of leaders.”
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ABOUT WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY
Wilfrid Laurier University is committed to academic excellence. Laurier’s holistic approach to learning integrates innovative programming with hands-on experience outside of the classroom to ensure that Laurier graduates are not only future-ready, but are inspired to leave their mark. on the world. Community is at the heart of everything we do. Laurier inspires students to engage with campus life and the wider community, leading to high levels of student satisfaction and engaged alumni who carry Laurier’s legacy around the world. As a community of researchers, leaders and educators, Laurier builds knowledge that serves society and creates connections that have lasting impact.
InkSmith is an educational technology company at the forefront of 21st century digital learning and innovation in the EdTech space. InkSmith’s mission is to provide educators with the technology and resources they need to teach the next generation of creators, coders and problem solvers. Their ultimate goal is to prepare students for the future by giving them the skills they will need to thrive and succeed in our rapidly changing world. Learn more at inksmith.ca.