“The Future Isn't What it Used to Be…” Yogi Berra by rt3463df


									The Future Isn’t What is Used to Be …..
            2006 Spirit of the North Conference
                Northern Region Caucus of the
               Canadian Federation of Students
                   Thunder Bay, Ontario
                     November 11, 2006

                  Keynote Presentation
                 Stephen Murgatroyd, PhD
        Research Associate, Contact North/Contact Nord

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   Contact North/Contact Nord thanks
 Canadian Federation of Students for the
opportunity to share some ideas about the
    future – learning is all of our future.

 Why not visit the Contact North/Contact Nord Access Centre in
           your community – details on our website

                       www.contactnorth.ca                       2
     About Contact North/Contact Nord

• A unique collaborative network of 14 educational institutions who
  partner to deliver quality education and training through distance
  education throughout Northern Ontario
• CN/CN provides the e-learning and support infrastructure in 66
  northern communities (with 20 more being added with funding from
  the Government of Ontario as part of its historic $6.2 billion
  investment in post-secondary education)
• Served some 5,000 individuals in 2005 with a wide range of courses
  and programs – 600 full and part-time courses
• Recognized globally as a leader in synchronous distance education
  – a leading user of integrated video, audio and web-based learning
• Supported by Ontario Ministries of Training, Colleges and
  Universities and Education
• Celebrating its 20th year of operation….

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 What This Presentation Looks At..
• Six Challenges facing Canada…
• Changing resources with which to tackle
  these challenges
• New roles for learning and organizations
• Challenges for students

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                    Six Challenges:
     #1 Canada’s Economic Challenge…
• Economic prosperity in Canada looks to be strong and
• It will be challenged by:
   – Shifts in commodity pricing – gas, oil, wood products, minerals
     and changing demand for products and services
   – The growth of the Brazilian, Russian, Indian, Chinese and other
     competing economies (known as the “BRICs” economies)
   – Slowing of Canada’s competitive position – already in decline
   – Shifting demographics which will lead to a shift in demand
   – Low levels of Canadian productivity
   – Low levels of investment in learning across Canada and by
   – Technological challenges to dominant industries which will test
     how “nimble” our firms and organizations are

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                   Six Challenges:
 #2 Canada’s Poor Record on Innovation
• Canada is poor at innovation – now ranked 18th out of 24
  in innovation index and 33rd out of 35th in
• Key challenges are:
   – Poor returns from public sector investments – strong, world class
     research, poor commercialization
   – Poor level of investment from private sector in R&D both in terms
     of their own work and in terms of supporting public R&D
   – Insufficient number of highly qualified people in the workforce
     (6.4/10,000 versus 15/10,000 in Finland)
   – Lack of focus for innovation – we are a small country, we cannot
     do everything well – we need to find our “spots” and really go for
   – Productivity weaknesses mean we need to do much more to
     encourage the adoption of best practices

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                 Six Challenges:
                 #3 Demographics
• Canada is heavily reliant on immigration to sustain our
  current standard of living – we will need to target
  immigrant skills, fast track professional accreditation and
  increase the volumes
• Canada is engaged in a “war for talent” with other
  nations with similar demographic challenges (US, EU) –
  and we need to do much more to attract and keep this
  talent – requires investments in communities, arts and
  culture, health care
• Population will age, creating higher costs for social
  programs (especially health and security) and new
  challenges for our communities

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               Six Challenges:
       #4 Our Aboriginal Strategy
• Canada has yet to settle a series of land claims,
  honour treaty rights, act on agreements
  – Aboriginal youth fastest growing demographic sector,
    other than ageing boomers – if historic trends
    continue, levels of disaffection could be high…
  – Aboriginal illness rates 3x those of other Canadians –
    unacceptable in 21st century – a real challenge for all
    of us
  – Aboriginal educational performance is also low
    relative to their Canadian counterparts
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               Six Challenges:
                 #5 Environment
• Global warming will have an impact on us all,
  and Canada is facing special challenges:
  – Canada (especially Alberta) major polluters
  – Canada has growing water supply issues – already
    having an impact and is made worse by oil sands
  – Canada has significant issues with a growing number
    of endangered species
  – Canada’s “plan” (sic) for environmental stewardship is
    very weak, no matter who is in government

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                    Six Challenges:
                         #6 The North
• Canada’s 36m people (by 2030) will be concentrated in cities in the
• Northern Ontario currently has some 786,000 people
• 103 of the 134 First nations in Ontario are located in Northern
• Northern Ontario is home to 140,000 francophone individuals – 30%
  of Ontario’s Francophones live in the north
• Population of Northern Ontario will decline from 6% of the Ontario
  population to 2.1% by 2030 - with a growing % of the population
  being seniors and aboriginal. A loss of 100,000 persons…with
  increased costs of social support, education…
• Access to post secondary education – already problematic. Today
  almost 212,000 Northern Ontario residents aged 15 years or older
  do not have direct access to a college or university campus in their
  community – this will become more so as institutions struggle with
  their viability, especially in terms of their “outreach” campus activity

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Six Keys To Responding to
     these Challenges

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     Six Keys to Our Future…
1.   Learning
2.   Benevolence..
3.   Culture of Commerce
4.   Action Networks
5.   Technology
6.   Community

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• Critical to our collective future is an investment in learning for both
  public institutions and private enterprise–
    – How many learners matters
    – What they are learning matters
    – How they are learning matters
• Grow high school completion, increase post-secondary
  participation/completion rates, expand accessibility to affordable
• Target 15/10,000 with degrees in science, technology and
  engineering and 30% of the workforce engaging in a learning activity
• See learning as an investment in the socio-economic future of
  Ontario – strengthen supports, incentives and make it affordable
• Leverage technologies to make sure all in Ontario have access, not
  just some

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              Benevolent Society
• We need to be careful about our culture – when times are tough
  there is a tendency to look at “me” rather than “us”
• Canada has a strong social conscience and sense of benevolence –
  this will become key, both to the sustainability of our society, but
  also to the differentiating Canada from many others
• Canada also needs a strong arts and humanities base – arts and
  cultural organizations help keep communities together and the
  humanities will be key in helping us to connect with and support
• Need to grow our instruments of benevolence – non profits,
  charitable organizations, social giving – and use the power of social
  networks to support those in greatest need.
• In particular, rethinking health care needs to link to a different
  pattern of funding and benevolence..

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          Culture of Commerce
• Business is key to our future – we do not have a great
  culture of commerce in Canada
• We need more educational programs focused on the
  skills of commerce
• More encouragement and support for entrepreneurs and
  risk takers, more opportunities to incubate good ideas
• More needs to be done to help sustain and develop
  business and business networks, especially in rural and
  remote communities…
• Its critical to the future of the north that it finds more
  commercial opportunities in value added products and
  services – the Internet makes trading possible from
  anywhere at anytime..

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                 Action Networks
• Effective change requires effective networks – which in turn require
  effective infrastructure
• Networks like the medical devices network that helps to connect
  small and medium enterprises throughout Ontario whose work is to
  build and create devices that support the medical needs of patients
• Networks like the Ontario Mining Action Network, which aims to
  support the use of best practices in mining in terms of efficient and
  safe mining, support for mining communities and education…
• Networks for social change/action, networks for community and
  economic development, networks to support learning – all are key to
  our different future – they are a means of ensuring that knowledge
  moves quickly amongst communities of interest and communities of
• We need to build future focused networks to help shape the future
  and we need to think about “community centric” networks – e-
  networks which use learning technologies to support social change
  are powerful …
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• Technology will change rapidly – semantic web,
  robotics, “devices” not just computers
• Technology will transform health and education,
  as well as commerce – if we provide the basic
  infrastructure and support the continuous
  development of skills and competencies
• We need to embrace technology, deal head on
  with the ethical issues it gives rise to and
  challenge our institutions to adopt and adapt to
  the possibilities that technology brings
• See technology as an opportunity to enhance
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• Margaret Thatcher famously said “there is no such thing
  as community”. We need to prove her wrong.
• As the north “shrinks” we need to strengthen community
  through simple devices:
   –   Support for local schools and local health services
   –   Support local stores that also become service centres
   –   Support distance education in the community
   –   Challenge the community to be a network that cares for all
   –   Look for cultural and arts opportunities within communities – they
       act to strengthen the spirit of communities

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“What does this all mean for
  education, educational
institutions and students?”
     “Big” Ideas for Change

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         Some Radical Ideas

• Make the north the home of the “biggest”
  broadband pipeline – channel Internet-based
  businesses, services, e-government and e-
  learning in the north in such a way as to pioneer
  new methods, based on advanced technologies.
  See e-learning as the norm, not “oh also..”
• Use educational institutions as business and
  social incubators for innovation - spur
  innovation in value added forestry, mining and
  agricultural sectors - stimulate rurally located
  entrepreneurship (“ruralpreneurship)

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• Change how we teach-learn - focus less on
  “content” and more on processes for learning, problem
  solving, networking – challenge learners to solve real
  problems, X Prize for College and University..
• Commit to a radical new approach to aboriginal
  learning – learning circles involving students, elders and
  teachers partnering to learn in a different way – using
  stories, new learning technologies and gaming…
• Commit to educational institutions being a part of
  the culture of commerce – reward, encourage and
  enable “edupreneurship” by the institutions, groups
  within the institution and students…

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• Think global – develop learning passports
  which connects the north to global
  distance learning networks…bring world’s
  the best to Timmins, Thunder Bay,
• Look at credit for work-based learning
  – build on the investments people make in
  their development and recognize credit
  where credit is due..

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• Make learning affordable – offer solutions to
  the “affordability” issue by providing fast track
  routes to degrees (shorter = less expensive, no
  loss of quality), different kinds of financial
  support and incentives for skill development –
  see learning as an investment, not a cost
• Don’t define quality as “abstract standards” -
  but do so in terms of “fitness for use”
• Keep the successful immigrant graduates in
  Canada – offer citizenship to those who obtain a
  PhD in Canada..

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  What Does All
This Mean for You?

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    Six Implications for Students..
•   Look seriously at the future – become a futurist - don’t believe all that you
    read or hear, find out – you have the skills..
•   Study what other jurisdictions are doing differently and successfully –
    take a close look at Finland, UK, Singapore.. Adopt a jurisdiction and really
    get to know it..
•   Pick an industry sector that is key to our future and get to know it –
    whatever it is, start to track trends and patterns…bio-energy, fuel cells,
    nanotechnology, gaming technology…
•   Pick a northern community that you don’t come from, and get to know
    it – its dynamics, challenges, trends, culture – listen, understand, learn…
•   You are already involved in one action network (CFS) – look at another
    and see what you can learn from them – learn how networks work,
    develop best practices
•   Look systematically at alternative models of education, learning and
    training – ask yourself what the combination of technology and a different
    kind if relationship with an “instructor” could do to make education
    accessible, affordable while at the same time improving quality..

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      A Challenge for the CFS
• What is the CFS position on access, affordability
  and learning systems for individuals in northern
  communities that do not have direct access to a
  – Policy / position on remote access and distance
  – Policy / position on affordability, incentives and
  – Policy / position on technology support for remote
    communities and broadband networks
  – Policy / position on quality and distance education

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“When you come to a fork in
 the road – take it..” Yogi Berra
   Actions speak louder than words..

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              Contact North/Contact Nord
Northern Ontario’s Distance Education & Training Network

   Northeast Regional                    Northwest Regional
  Coordinating Centre                    Coordinating Centre
1 - 410 Falconbridge Rd               1139 Alloy Drive, Suite 104
 Sudbury, ON P3A 4S4                  Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6M8
 Phone: 705-560-2710                    Phone: 807-344-1616
   Fax: 705-525-0136                     Fax: 807-344-2390


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