Problem Summary:

As comprehensive and dynamic as the Canadian education system is, it is not perfect. In order to prepare current students for the dynamic and complex world that they will graduate in to, it is imperative that we provide them with the skills that employers, businesses, and institutions are looking for. A study carried out by Workopolis found that 67% of senior executives from across Canada felt that job candidates were missing fundamental soft skills such as communication skills, strong work ethic, and teamwork skills . This is further backed up by a study from 2013 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers that listed the top 10 skills employers most want, the top two being 1) ability to work in a team and 2) ability to make decisions and solve problems . At the same time, the world’s wicked problems such as climate change continue to stretch across disciplinary boundaries.


The world’s wicked problems continue to stretch across disciplinary boundaries, but our education system has been slow to provide students with the tools to effectively collaborate. Current Canadian curricula do not contain all the necessary components to prepare students for today’s complex and multifaceted challenges.


Collaborative Classrooms simultaneously provides students with crucial soft skills and the problem solving tools to tackle real-world problems. There are two key components to Collaborative Classrooms: collaboration best practices and design thinking. After participating in the Collaborative Classrooms learning module, students will be better equipped to work together with their peers across different spheres in order to solve a wide variety of challenging problems. Finally, Collaborative Classrooms works within the existing education system, partnering with teachers and schools to collectively deliver youth the skills they need to succeed in the world today.


Once the Collaborative Classrooms learning module has been created it will be taken to middle schools in the Waterloo Region. Students will be introduced to design thinking and collaboration best practices, skills that they will be able to take with them into high school, university, and beyond. Collaborative Classrooms will help to create a generation of students that can work across disciplinary boundaries in order to solve the world's complex, wicked problems. 

By the end of April, the Collaborative Classrooms learning module will be finalized and I will begin connecting with schools and teachers in order to launch the project in Fall 2014. I will consider the project launch successful if Collaborative Classrooms completes a full cycle of the learning module with one local middle school. 




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