"The Blueprint needs to have a life beyond this Summit," was the call from the participants of Equinox Summit: Learning 2030. To present their recommendations for the future of high school education as a static document just wouldn't do.
Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030 is the result of five days of intensive working sessions that took place at Equinox Summit: Learning 2030, a gathering held in fall of 2013 that was convened by Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI), a non-profit partnership between Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo. When the dust settled, the interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and international group of education innovators, had put forward a cohesive vision of the high school of the 21st century.
In order to continue the discussion and add depth to the Blueprint with new research, stories, and case studies, WGSI needed a digital solution. Christine McWebb, Academic Director of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, and a contributor to Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030, suggested that the skills needed to create a "living" version of the Blueprint could be found among her Master of Digital Experience Innovation students.
Over the course of 6 weeks, the Living Blueprint team – Paul Bao, Phil Connolly, Samaa EL-Sayed, Carlos Saavedra, Yifei Zhao, and Junjun Zhu – created learning2030.org. In proposing the project to the Living Blueprint team, WGSI identified some key elements that were missing from existing education forums – namely tools for collaboration, a place to share resources, and a focus on design. Built on a Wordpress platform, the Living Blueprint website allows for easy chapter navigation and, most importantly, the opportunity for readers to directly contribute and critique the content of Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030.
Working on such a short timeline was challenging, particularly as the Living Blueprint needed to complement the print version of the Blueprint that was being developed concurrently by Kitchener's INTENT. The Living Blueprint team had to quickly respond and adapt their work. The final product effectively meshes the visual identity of the print version as well as the existing WGSI website into a dynamic and attractive website. In addition to the website, the Living Blueprint team developed animation and live action video assets complete with voiceover to prompt questions and discussion around key Blueprint chapters.
We at WGSI were impressed by the diverse skill set – from web development to educational expertise – found within the Living Blueprint team, and their ability to deliver well-crafted, polished work on time despite time constraints and the demands of their other courses. It is a highly functional and visually appealing platform that will be a key element of WGSI's back-to-school community and media engagement plan.
Hayley Rutherford is the Content and Programming Coordinator for the Waterloo Global Science Initiative. With a background in scientific research and science communication, she is involved in the research and strategic planning that goes into developing the Equinox Summit series and coordinating impact activities surrounding the Equinox Blueprints.